Whether you're a nonprofit veteran or a new college graduate trying to make the world a better place, a nonprofit career could be right for you. In this post, we will provide you with 7 nonprofit resume templates, as well as guidance about how to make your nonprofit resume shine so you can land the job of your dreams. Let's get started.
Who is this template for?
This template is for all nonprofit organizations.
What are the main sections covered in this template?
The main sections include: what is a nonprofit resume, what should be included, do's and don'ts, and free templates.
Looking for a new job? You’re not alone. Whether you’re a nonprofit veteran or a new college graduate trying to make the world a better place, a nonprofit career could be right for you.
In this post, we will provide you with 7 nonprofit resume templates, as well as guidance about how to make your nonprofit resume shine so you can land the job of your dreams.
Let’s jump in!
What Is a Nonprofit Resume?
A nonprofit resume is a one- to two-page document that includes your skills, strengths, and experiences so that you can get a job in the nonprofit sector.
Nonprofit hiring teams and recruiters will use your resume to determine if you might be a good fit for an open position.
Unlike for-profit businesses, nonprofit organizations are focused on advancing a particular mission rather than being profitable. If you want to make the move to get a mission-driven job, your resume (no matter what your background) should communicate your passion for the organization’s cause.
Before you get started on building your nonprofit resume, you’ll need to choose the type of resume format you want to use. There are three common types of nonprofit resumes: chronological, functional, and combination.
Chronological Resume: The most commonly used format for a nonprofit resume is chronological. A chronological resume starts with your current position (or most recent one) at the top and goes all the way down to list your first job and other details such as your education. Chronological resumes make it easy for the hiring manager to take in your background at a glance.
Functional Resume: If you’re changing industries (for instance, moving from the corporate world to a nonprofit position) you may want to consider a functional resume. A functional resume highlights all of your transferable strengths by focusing on your skills instead of a chronological view of your employment. That’s why a functional resume is sometimes called a skill-based resume.
Functional resumes can also be ideal if you’ve previously had any job jumps or layoffs in your past. They’re also a good choice for those returning to the workforce after some time away, for instance, a serious illness or parental leave.
Combination (Hybrid) Resume: A combination resume, also known as a hybrid resume, leads with a list of your qualifications and skills, followed by your work chronologically. This can be a good format to use if you’re an early career professional with only a few years of experience under your belt.
Now that we’ve covered the different kinds of resume formats to choose from, we are going to go over the different things you should make sure to include in your nonprofit resume.
What Should be Included in a Nonprofit Resume?
To put your best foot forward, be sure to include the following information in your nonprofit resume.
Your Contact Information
Make it easy for the hiring manager to get in touch with you.
Include your email address and your mobile phone number at the top of your resume. In certain circumstances, such as when using a job board, you may wish to withhold your residential address for privacy, but always be sure to include email and phone information. Contact information is often used to conduct a background check or verification, as well.
A Career Summary / Objective
A good career summary should provide an easy-to-skim overview of what you’re striving for career-wise.
Your career summary should be a brief introduction placed at the top of your resume immediately after your contact information. Your summary should highlight your career experience and what you’re hoping for moving forward. It’s designed to make a hiring manager intrigued enough to read more.
It’s also important to use some keywords that you’ve gleaned from the job description in your career summary (more on keywords later.) By including the right keywords, you’re reflecting your understanding of what the hiring manager is looking for.
Your Work Experience and Achievements
By documenting your professional experience, you can show the hiring manager that you can do the job you’re applying for.
Show your career progression and boost your performance history with data (more on that later.) Make sure to include the name of your employer, your title, how many years you were there, any promotions, and some of your accomplishments in each role.
Be sure to weave your achievements into your work experience as well. Achievements could include donor retention numbers, major grant awards, and the like.
If you’ve been fortunate enough to have received any professional or scholastic awards, be sure to list these as well. This will give you a boost compared to other applicants
Are you an excellent writer or editor? Are you experienced at data analysis? Are you proficient with a particular donor management system? Think about the hard skills you bring to the table that make you uniquely competitive.
And, when crafting this section of your resume, don’t forget about soft skills—things like integrity, problem-solving, communication, and emotional intelligence.
Your Educational Background
Do you have a bachelor’s degree? A master’s? Or even higher? Whatever your education level, be sure to include it, as well as what you majored in. If you had a stellar grade point average and/or graduated with honors, be sure to mention that, too.
Finally, if you hold any nonprofit or relevant certifications (for example, the CFRE or various grant writing certifications) be sure to include that information—these can also give you an edge.
Overall, when considering what to include in a nonprofit resume, focus on making your resume reader-friendly. Yes, you want to highlight your skills and career path, but you want to do it in a way that the hiring manager finds clear and easy to understand.
Do’s and Don’ts of Creating a Nonprofit Resume
When applying for a role at a nonprofit organization, you will want your resume to stand out—in a good way. Here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in the forefront of your mind as you’re creating your best nonprofit resume.
Do Use Keywords
Here’s why keywords are so important. About 75 percent of human resource departments now use Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software that scans for matching keywords.
Without doing a little homework before crafting your nonprofit resume, you’ll join the 70 percent of job applicants who get cast aside. And even if your resume isn’t being scanned by an ATS bot, human readers will resonate with the use of specific keywords.
Here are some commonly used nonprofit resume keywords:
A good nonprofit resume should also include keywords found in the job description. An actual job description example is below, with keywords highlighted.
If you’ve never worked at a nonprofit, you’ve still probably done some things that included writing, proof-reading, editing, research, or tracking data. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when identifying keywords that you can use.
You should also try to incorporate powerful verbs where possible—words like delivered, achieved, lifted, expanded, improved, boosted, generated, amplified, outpaced, advocated, revitalized, or formulated.
Do Run Spell Check
Make sure to run spell and grammar checks to avoid making embarrassing mistakes.
You want your nonprofit resume to be unimpeachable and professional, no matter what your career history is. Whether you do this via Grammarly, Word’s Editor feature, or Google Docs, it doesn’t matter—just be sure to do it.
Do Highlight Relevant Experiences
Highlight your most relevant experiences that are similar to the job you’re applying for.
If you’re coming from a for-profit background, take into consideration any volunteer work your team participated in. Did you participate in a food drive or help with a Habitat build?
Experience as a volunteer at a nonprofit demonstrates both your understanding of the nonprofit world, but also your passion for cause-based work. However, if you didn’t have any similar experiences, consider customer service and communication as key skills. Almost every job requires these skills, even when you’re not in a customer-facing role.
Don’t Stretch the Truth
Never lie or embellish your resume.
Don’t claim an advanced degree if you don’t have one, or change your previous title to sound more prestigious. If you were let go from a previous position, be honest about it during your interview.
Do Use Data
Use data that quantifies your accomplishments.
For instance: “Outpaced fundraising goal by 20 percent.” Or, “Increased donor retention by 7 percent.”
You want to show your potential employer that you pay attention to metrics and that you have a track record of success. A resume is more than a chronological list of job titles and organizations you’ve worked for. A recruiter is going to want to know what you actually did successfully at each position.
Don’t Use a Difficult-to-Read Font
Use a clean universal font that will render properly on any operating system. Good examples are Arial, Helvetica, or Calibri. Those fonts are easier to read for both human eyes and ATS bots. If you prefer serif fonts, Times New Roman and Georgia are both great choices.
To properly format your resume, use 12 points for the main body, and either 14 or 16 points for resume headings. You can absolutely use italics, bold, and underlining to highlight important details.
Never use more than two fonts or odd or quirky fonts on your nonprofit resume. More than two fonts can make your resume look unprofessional. So do quirky fonts such as Braggadocio, Basquet Script, or Comic Sans.
Do Include Your Name in the Saved File
Make sure the saved file of your resume includes your name. For instance: Jane_Doe_Resume.pdf. Make it easy for the recruiter, the human resources manager, your potential boss, and the ATS bot.
Don’t Forget a Cover Letter
Always submit your resume with a cover letter. Your cover letter should summarize your experience and why you believe you’re a good candidate for the position.
Speaking of an ideal nonprofit resume, here’s a good example for someone about to graduate from a university.
It presents their educational information first, so a potential employer can immediately identify that this is a young graduate seeking their first post-collegiate job. It also makes the most of their extracurricular experiences and leadership roles and creates a professional impression.
If you have more experience than a new graduate, it’s absolutely fine to increase your resume by another page. By following these do’s and don’ts, you’ll be one step closer to your stellar nonprofit resume.
Free Nonprofit Resume Templates
Want a stand-out resume? Try one of these seven nonprofit resume templates. One of them will probably fit your needs and professional style.
Best Nonprofit Resume Template for New Grads
If you use Microsoft Word, you have this basic resume template already in your template library!
This is an ideal format to use if you’re just out of school and looking for your first nonprofit job. If you’re wanting to enter the field of grant writing, having a writing-related degree (journalism, marketing communications, public relations, English) will give you a leg up on new grads without those skills.
Best Google Docs Resume Template for Early Career Applicants
If you routinely use Google Docs, you’ll be happy to know they have a nice array of resume templates. The one above is ideal for an early career professional with a year or two of job experience.
Executive-level Nonprofit Resume Template
The good folks at Workbloom offer a free zip file full of nonprofit resume templates in Word.
This two-page template is suitable for someone applying for an executive or management-level position. The zip file also includes templates for cover letters. We like the classic layout that is very easy-to-read.
Best Modern, Clean, and Colorful Nonprofit Resume Template
This template for Microsoft Word is designed by Moo, an online vendor of marketing materials.
Moo is often used by freelancers or sole practitioners to design business cards and letterhead. We like this template because of its stand-out bright yellow highlights and the ability to link to social media. It’s another good option for new college or university grads.
Best Minimalist Nonprofit Resume Template
Canva strikes again! Here’s a classy looking nonprofit resume template with an interesting layout. It’s very much a combination resume template. We like the colored headers that make the content stand out. This resume is easy to read and attractive.
Best Nonprofit Resume Template with Head Shot
Another terrific place to generate infographics, business reports, charts and graphs of all types, and other documents is Piktochart. You can access up to two downloads using their free plan. With more than 25 million users, Piktochart is betting that you’ll love their tool so much that you’ll subscribe.
We really like this resume because of its clean, easy to read layout.
What’s interesting about this template is that it uses a bar chart to visualize various job-related skills. If you’re going for a more creative nonprofit job, such as a graphic designer or webmaster, this might be an appealing template to use.
Unless you are needing to have specific software experience (or the job description mentions certain software) you probably can eliminate the “software” section.
Bonus #1: Nonprofit Resume Cover Letter Template
If you use Microsoft Word, make a new document from this template that’s already living in your template library. This cover letter template accompanies the resume template for new grads mentioned earlier in this article.
Bonus #2: Nonprofit Resume Cover Letter Template
The team at Canva offers up this minimalist cover letter template at no cost. It’s designed for an entry-level job opportunity. We like how the template includes good guidance about what to include in a successful nonprofit resume cover letter.
Wrapping Up: The Next Steps
There you have it—what to include in a nonprofit resume, do’s and don’ts to follow, and an array of 7 nonprofit resume templates plus two cover letter templates.
We hope that these examples and templates will make it easy for you to land the nonprofit job of your dreams. For more nonprofit tips, insights, and resources, check out Instrumentl’s blog.
With the right tools, nonprofits can quickly scale fundraising and programming and take back their time. But, what makes something the “best” tool? And how do you justify an additional expense in a resource-constrained organization? Download this guide to learn more.