Over the past two years, we’ve seen an increase in the number of nonprofit organizations looking to fill positions from fundraising and development to annual giving and donor relations. This need will only become more prevalent as organizations continue to grow and develop.

As we head into 2018, nonprofit organizations across the Gulf Coast are searching for talented individuals to help shape the future success of their agencies.

Whether you already work with a nonprofit agency and are looking to advance your role or are thinking of transitioning over, it’s important to recognize the steps to take to grow a successful career in the nonprofit sector.

To help you get a better idea of where nonprofit hiring is headed this year, here’s a breakdown of some of the top trends to keep an eye on in 2018.

  1. Enhancing Your Skill Set

There are several different levels of philanthropy, ranging from grants and special events to major gifts and planned giving, and each level has its own individual job requirements.

When it comes to the nonprofit sector, agencies are routinely looking for individuals who are able to form relationships, listen to goals of others and link those to the organization and are passionate about the organization’s cause.

“It becomes really expensive to replace people,” says Mary Beth Bos, who co-owns MBJ Group, a talent management company, with her husband Jim Bos. “Organizations are being more strategic in the hiring process to make sure they are getting the right person.”

  1. Getting to Know the Organization

When it comes to hiring, executives want to make sure candidates not only know the agency but also understand the culture of the organization.

By visiting the different agencies’ websites, you can learn more about the nonprofit and find those causes that resonate with you the most. One of the easiest ways to expand your knowledge and familiarize yourself with an agency is to volunteer. In addition to getting a feel for the organization, volunteering allows you to form relationships, network and decide whether it’s a good fit.

  1. Expectations for the Job

One of the fastest developing trends when it comes to hiring is the expectations that candidates have for jobs.

Candidates want to know that the job they are interested in coincides with their talents and skill set. By expanding your knowledge and doing your homework you can pinpoint where your passion is and those organizations that will be the best fit. It’s important to determine which agencies resonate with you the most before you find yourself in a position that doesn’t meet your expectations.

  1. Set Yourself Apart

Executives are looking for talented individuals to help shape the future of their agencies. Your resume and cover letter are your first introduction to the organization, so you want to be sure to set yourself apart.

It’s important to give a passionate reason for why you’re applying for the position, list your core skills and accomplishments and describe the value you’ll bring to the position.

  1. Networking for Success

More often than not, people fall into an occupation because they know people or were there at the right time.

It’s important to connect with people and network to find your dream job. Your perfect job is out there. It’s just a matter of putting yourself out there and using your knowledge to create a foundation for success.

“People need to work to establish some credibility, network, be aware of openings and go after those that you know you can get into and are qualified for,” says Mary Beth.