Résumé Rx: Overcoming Youth and Inexperience

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Orlando Carvajal, right, graduated from George Washington University in May and wants to work in fundraising, development for a foundation or nonprofit, or in a corporation's office of community relations. He eventually wants to return to school and get a master's degree in business administration or public policy.

"It will be important to focus your interest and messaging in one area," says Glen O'Gilvie, chief executive of the Center for Nonprofit Advancement.

Use descriptions of jobs that you want at a foundation, nonprofit organization and corporation to develop a profile that matches what you have to each post, he recommends. Tie your knowledge and experience to each type of position.

"Be sure that every position included in your résumé incorporates or highlights skill sets that most closely align with the position you are seeking," O'Gilvie said. And consider separate résumés for different kinds of posts, he said.

A good way for Carvajal to beef up his résumé is to attend training sessions and obtain certifications or memberships from professional associations or groups such as the Center for Nonprofit Advancement, O'Gilvie said. It helps show Carvajal is committed to the fields he's interested in. Not only will those groups help his résumé, they'll give him networking opportunities, O'Gilvie said.

"Also consider volunteering for a local group . . . to gain more hands-on experience locally," he suggested.

Carvajal also faces a common problem for new graduates: Youth can be considered a drawback. O'Gilvie suggests moving his education information to the bottom of the page and removing the education dates.

UPDATE: Carvajal found a job at the International Monetary Fund since submitting his résumé and having it reviewed.

-- Terri Rupar

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