5 Tips for Launching a Second Career in Non-Profit

July 26, 2022 – The pandemic has left many people recalibrating their career choices. Americans quit 4.5 million jobs in March – a record. Some are burned out; others want more purposeful work. Whatever their reasons may be, many employees are looking at transitioning into a second career, experts say. “There might be some initial hiccups but finding a new line of work isn’t impossible,” said Brendan Gallagher, a managing consultant in Korn Ferry’s non-profit and higher education practice. “If you’re leveraging the skill-sets that you have into something different, it can work really well.” A new report from Korn Ferry offers some tips to get started.

Go Soul Searching
Before jumping into a second career, spend some time on self-reflection, says the study. “Being intentional and developing clarity about what motivates and energizes you, as well as the area in which you want to work, should be the first step you take,” said Lemise Dajani, associate principal for leadership development at Korn Ferry. It’s a crucial factor that often gets overlooked. “Create that north star, that vision of what you’re looking for,” she said, “and use that as an anchor for anything else that you do.”

Network with Everyone
Like all career-related matters, networking is key. The Korn Ferry report recommends that you connect with your current peers, senior leaders, coaches, and recruiters. “Have conversations with your colleagues, both internally and externally, to get the wheels turning on what you want to do,” said Mr. Gallagher. “If you’re switching to a new field or industry, conduct informational interviews to learn more about the required skill-sets and the types of roles and challenges you might face. If you’re making a big transition, it’s important to know what you’re stepping into and be prepared for the challenges.”

Revamp Your Resume
The Korn Ferry report says that you can revise your resume to align it with your intended new position or industry. “Create two to three versions of your resume based on the broader areas you might be interested in,” said David Power, a principal at Korn Ferry’s global fintech, blockchain, and crypto practice. “You always want to curate your resume based on the position or industry you’re going to,” he said. Highlight existing skills that may be applicable in the new industry and job. Additionally, leverage your cover letter to elaborate on any projects or experiences that can transfer to your new field of work.”

Position Your Brand
“Think about how you can sell yourself; you need to rebrand yourself and tell a story that promotes areas relevant to your switch,” said Ms. Dajani. “Talk about yourself differently and connect the dots for people, because it may not be obvious,” she said. “Identify transferable skills, be adaptable, and position yourself as someone who can fill an existing gap,” said Mr. Power. “If you’re a senior executive, he adds, you can get involved in boards and find companies in emerging industries that are scaling: Typically, they’ll need people who’ve had long careers with bigger, more established companies to advise them.”

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