This is the first in a series of articles Ter Molen Watkins & Brandt is publishing in response to questions we’re getting from our clients and other nonprofits in our community. This week, we’ll be answering the question:
“I’m not sure how to manage my career in this crisis. What should I be doing?”
Here are our top five tips for keeping your nonprofit career on track:
1. Update your LinkedIn profile.
In a time where human connection is almost exclusively digital, your online identity is more important than ever. If you find yourself with a bit of extra free time, updating your LinkedIn profile is an easy way to polish your professional image.
Here’s a quick punch list of items to spruce up:
- Update your photo – and your cover photo!
- Customize your LinkedIn URL to brand your page.
- Rewrite your ‘headline’ and ‘about’ sections. This section is the one most found easily by people searching LinkedIn. In many ways, it’s the most important section of your profile.
- Update Your Current Responsibilities. No need for a bunch of bullet points here, just enough content for viewers to get a sense of your career trajectory.
- Find Your Unique Voice. What are you most passionate about in your career? Your profile should help people understand what you do, who you are, and how you can help them meet their goals. This includes the content that you share!
2. Engage with our industry.
We’re being bombarded with news at all times from every angle. Because of that, it’s up to you to curate what sources populate your feed and your headspace. This applies to nonprofit news as well. Here are the best ways to stay on top of what’s currently happening in the nonprofit sector.
- Curate your LinkedIn groups.
- Follow hashtags on LinkedIn as well -- #nonprofitdevelopment and #fundraising are both very active!
- Engage with the content on your LinkedIn feed. What can you add to the conversation?
- Follow the right people. This applies to LinkedIn, Twitter, blogs – anywhere you get your industry.
- If you’re not already a member of professional industry societies, such as CASE or AFP, now might be a good time to join.
3. Network, network, network.
Many people are seeking connection in our current climate, so this is a fantastic time to reach out to people. LinkedIn is certainly a fantastic resource to connect with any and everyone in your professional network, but don’t be afraid to ask someone for a quick video chat or call as well. This is a great time to build your network and strengthen those professional relationships. A great way to improve your networking skills is to help others who might be looking for a job or who also need support at this time.
4. Sharpen your skills.
Now is a great time to explore areas of passion you haven’t had the time to develop in the past. Luckily, many online courses are being offered for free or discounted rates during this time. Here are some free resources for online professional development and learning:
Be sure to add any classes and certifications to your resume and LinkedIn profile as you complete them. You may also consider writing a blog post on LinkedIn if you have a teachable point of view of what you learned.
5. Last, but not least , be gentle with yourself.
Yes, we may have been granted more free time in this time, but keep your expectations of yourself realistic. Remember, you are not working from home; you are at home during a crisis, trying to work. There’s plenty on our plates on top of managing our careers—be kind to yourself, and remember that self-care may need to come before professional development.
Interested in more personalized development and fundraising coaching? Drop us a line here and we'll connect you with one of our senior-level fundraising consultants.