Monday, April 27, 2009

09NTC Notes From 04/27/09: Nonprofit Careers workshop

04/27/09 Advancing your career & earning what you deserve
James Weinberg- CEO of commongood careers

went to this as a response to all of the unemployment issues we've seen & discussed at work-

Oregon has one of the highest unemployment rates, and the nonprofit sector is going to suffer further jobwise

looking for resources to pass along & add to connectipedia's growing employment section

specific to non profit career information


  • short goals, long aspirations
  • core competency inventory
  • ID & remove common obstacles
  • pursue professional dev
  • moving up internally
  • information interviews to new positions
  • defining market worth & negotiating compensation

and moving from volunteer/intern to employee

short goals/long aspirations:
define your ideal role, where, what X2, when, how, why?

short term:
-challenges: clear, achievable, compelling
-Support: management, resources, staff
-Colleagues: especially in nonprofits, this is key- (um, word!)

long term:

-nature of the work: time, management, area, etc.
-work/life balance: support to life outside the office, family, etc.
-Epitaph: in the end, what do you want to have done? what is your desired impact?

compensation- further discussion later

books participants like: "What Color is your Parachute" Bolles

Core Competencies:
major tenant of HR & hiring- elements that affect your ability to function in a role- as in functionally and behavioral capacity based on 4 factors:
-Skills: technical skills
-Experience: what have you done
-personality: how do you fit with teams and cultures?
-potential: where are you still growing?

create an inventory map for each area, group into categories, prioritize, refine to 3/4 major elements, have friends review & discuss

conclusion- what are the trends, common threads and where are the gaps vs. goals

make sure this is relevant to the job you are going for as well as the career goal

one IT director/HR attendee says that she comes up against too much exaggerated technical skills, and that someone who is humble about skills can show a core personality skill that is more attractive

ID & remove these in your career and short term job issues
what are the common obstacles?
lack of understanding from the org you're in, lack of value in professional dev. don't rely on your org- be the change, flip it, etc.

-planning: failure to identify goals is #1 obstacle
goals usually fall short, shoot higher, push yourself- it breeds success
-confidence: take your goal & triple it
-skills: get through ed or experience
-experience: be proactive in and out of your org
-family: work/life balance
-boss: if not being developed, speak up or move on
(identify needing a mentor or needing to be a leader for me)
-money: ed expensive, next step may require a cut
-networks: broad/deep essential to advancement
-resolve: keep advancing, but stay flexible

seeking out growth experiences could help break down obstacles
(but, sometimes you just have to suck it up and be patient)

professional Dev:
-Grad Programs: expensive, wide range of quality, be careful (too expensive to pursue just for making more $$$)
-workshops: can be expensive, look for certifications, ratings
this can be better than grad school
-self ed: books, online courses, depends on type of learner (I love
"combined with volunteering can help you produce something demonstrable"
-In-house mentors: find colleagues & supervisors that can teach
(this is something I ask for in interviews now) this can be really simple-

-Outside mentors: structured relationships work best
this can be better because they aren't caught up in the culture & drama
-Peer networks: organize colleagues in similar roles
gr8 way to meet folks in the same boat with new ideas
-Management: free interns can be a way to start
#1 looked-for skill for folks considered for advancement. I have found grad interns to be fantastic for projects as well
-Consulting: side project experiential learning
-Volunteering: easier and more flexible alternatives
the point isn't to get a job, but to build experience, core competencies. project-based volunteering can lead to having something demonstrable

Moving Up within an Org
-Valued competencies: management capacity (people, projects, process, budget), performance, passion, initiative, team playing/leading/strengthening
-Being essential: try to understand your org's strategic priorities and align your work directly- move your job in the direction of your org's goals
-Connections: id decision makers and influencers, cultivate relationships, don't be shy- look externally too
-BE DIRECT! communicate your aspirations, build your case, work with your supervisor on a plan for advancement, find horizontal career ladders- which are very possible in small orgs

my personal reflections on this:
have a personal plan and be transparent about it with your company- have a personal mission and vision plan that reflects the org's, and/or develop these for your dept.

Informational Interviewing to New Positions
-systematize: track who you meet, when, who they connect you to
-network mapping: list out folks you know, who they know, who you want to know, cross-section of your industry (social media can be helpful for tracking)
-Outreach: email introduction, with resume, clear that you're not asking for a job, but for information, requesting short phone calls, follow-up if needed
"mini-mentoring" 15-minute mentoring are approaches that can be less intimidating, stressful
-The conversation: research, prepare several smart questions, be engaging, fun, and deferential
never ask, "so, what do you do?"
convo should definitely display critical thinking skills. your Qs say more about you than your answers
-Follow-ups: discuss next steps, ask for others to meet

my reflections:
be comfortable, organic, find that balance so you're not a lame-$@*, watch out for being an email dork

- 3 salary numbers: absolute minimum, market worth, and reasonable aspiration
- Info Interviews: best way to determine market value (ask), highly specific by role, experience, location
- Public Salary Data: industry surveys, guidestar's 990's
- Perspective: for individuals, comp is about respect; for orgs it's about equity & balance (so good to understand)
- Alternatives/x-factors: non-slaray options include benefits, expenses, vacation time, flex time, flex location, flex schedule, other things that matter to you, work-week hours, sabbaticals, perks
understand that compensation is a broad package of values, and know what matters to you
-Approach: honest, clear, logical, supportive data

what to do when asked for salary information:
be honest, but you can frame it in a variety of ways.

how important is the job title you have?
depends on where you are and what you actually do

what to do with bouncy resumes:
use what is relevant, use the other stuff to tell a narrative that could relate

good compensation sites:,, professional organization sites

social networking has opened up the networks- increases competition for the individual, ups the game

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