I have been job hunting for a while, but I’ve only recently gotten called in for interviews. I’ve noticed that while people are impressed that I co-founded my own non-profit, my organization is appearing to be a double-edged sword.
I always get asked if I am going to continue my work with my organization. Yes, I am very loyal to my non-profit, but if you are paying me, I know where my priorities lie. I’m not going to spend my time at your office working on my non-profit, and then have to explain why my work for the office isn’t finished. I rock at time management, and I am used to doing non-profit emails at weird hours of the night. I went to graduate school, had two-part time jobs, and managed my non-profit. It may get a little crazy, but I do know how to handle it.
Also, I’ve been asked multiple times about what writing skills I possess. With my non-profit I’ve had to learn how to write everything from proposals to tweets to brochures to donor letters. This is probably going to sound arrogant, but if there is a type of writing that an organization needs, I’ve probably written at least 20 versions of it.
My favorite question is how I would deal with working underneath a person since I’ve been my own boss within my organization. First off, I’ve had other jobs, and I certainly wasn’t not the head of the companies. Also, between board members, constituents, and my co-founder, there is a lot of people I have to answer to. It would be great if I sat on a throne and listened to only my thoughts… but even when I’m my own boss I have to report to and be accountable to multiple people.
There is a plethora of reasons why I’m lucky to have created my organization. One of these reasons is how I’ve been able to learn so many skills that are applicable inside and out of the non-profit sector. I’ve written grants, built websites, managed shipping logistics, coordinated volunteers, and so much more. I’ve had to report to people, and have people report to me.
I know what I’m doing, and it’s frustrating that I’m having difficulty ‘selling’ my skills to other people. I know it’s a part of life. but having to constantly convince others you’re qualified for a job you already do is beyond frustrating.
Hopefully, as I continue the interviewing process, I will become more equipped to ‘show off’ my skills in a way that is appealing to companies and other non-profits. I know I’m awesome, I know my organization is awesome, I just need to get other people to see what I can bring to the table.