Opportunity Knocks Plans Annual Atlanta Nonprofit Career Conference for June 25
Opportunity Knocks' 2014 Atlanta Career Conference is rapidly approaching on June 25! With workshops and coaching in mind for new nonprofit professionals or those looking to advance their careers, individual registrations for this year's full-day conference only cost $79.99. And to give you a taste of what you can expect, read our recap of last year's conference, originally posted last year on the Opportunity Knocks website! (Opportunity Knocks is a program of the Georgia Center for Nonprofits.)
A Resume Isn’t a Career Obituary: Lessons Learned at Opportunity Knocks’ 2013 Nonprofit Career Conference
Marc Schultz, March 2013
The Smyrna Community Center was buzzing with determined energy on Tuesday during Opportunity Knocks’ Nonprofit Career Conference (sponsored by Regal Resumes)as dozens of professionals looking to sharpen their job skills convened for a day of expert advice, one-on-one consults, and networking opportunities.
The line for individual resume critiques and career path consulting—provided by OK, The Georgia Center for Nonprofits, and partners likeTrueBridge Resources, The Center for Discovery,HandsOn Network, Frontier Group, and Young Nonprofit Professionals Network—formed early and lasted all day, but was well worth it: “It definitely helped me focus in on the skills I can bring with me from my current position,” said one happy consultee, who wished to remain anonymous while researching her escape from the for-profit world.
Morning sessions featured consultant Rodney Fuller on “Employment Transformations” and Two Roads Resources executive coach John E. Long on “Strategies to Claim Your Professional Identity.” Fuller explained how transforming your career begins by transforming your thinking—from there, actions and outcomes improve as a matter of course. The key, he said, is to understand your story and communicate it so that others can share it for you: “It’s not who you know, but who knows you.”
Long’s presentation on personal branding reinforced some of Fuller’s ideas, in particular his insistence on conducting a self-inventory: Long suggests creating a list of transferable skills—everything you’ve learned from past jobs applicable to the nonprofit career you’re looking to build—and then redline the ones you actually want to do in your next position. “Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you have to do it,” said Long. The transferable skills you’ve highlighted are your motivated skills. Plotting out transferable skills versus motivated skills gives you a clear picture of opportunities worth pursuing.
Long also encouraged job-seekers to highlight projects, accomplishments, and professional development over static lists of job titles and duties: “Your resume should be a living document, not a career obituary.” Another powerful way to distinguish yourself is by subheading your resume and business card with “branding titles,” based on roles you’ve filled and your areas of expertise: ie., “Marc Schultz, Journalism & Communications, Nonprofit Issues, Regional Reporting.”
After lunch, author and consultant Judi Adams presented networking advice for those “Who Don’t Like to Network.” Her tip-filled talk included advice both commonsensical and subtly counter-intuitive: don’t expect to find a job lead at a job-seeker’s mixer; instead, visit a professional interest group in the industry you want to break into, or find out where the company you want to work for volunteers and see if you can get an assignment working alongside them. Other tips for networking success included:
- Give yourself a goal: i.e., “I’m going to meet five people, and deepen three connections.”
- Don’t dismiss anyone: You never know who knows who.
- Your card and your elevator pitch are the only things you should bring to a networking event
- Avoid snacks: eat beforehand to make sure your hands are free and your mouth isn’t full
Recruitment experts Marie Cumbest, Career Spa’s vice president of client services, and Tom Darrow, Founder and Principal of Talent Connections, rounded out the afternoon with a presentation on “Interviewing to Get the Job,” in which they focused not just on impressing your interviewer—by researching the company, prepping answers to stock questions like “tell me about yourself,” and addressing resume red flags upfront—but understanding that interviewer. Is she a withholding poker-player, or a back-slapping speed-talker? Understanding interviewer personality not only helps you tailor your pitch, but gives you a better idea of the corporate culture and how good a “fit” the position will be.
Besides one-on-one consults and the chance to win some exciting resume upgrades from Opportunity Knocks, Georgia Center for Nonprofits membership packages, and resume services from Regal Resumes, conference attendees received access to all presentation slide decks and other career-hunting resources, and every presenter offered contact information for individual follow-up help. Rodney Fuller went so far as to offer himself as a personal career cheerleader, or what he calls a dreamcatcher: “You need someone who knows your dream and can communicate it—especially to you. If you don’t have a dreamcatcher, I will be your dreamcatcher.”
Marc Schultz is a Writer/Editor at Opportunity Knocks’ parent organization, the Georgia Center for Nonprofits.