This is Mazarine Treyz of Wild Woman Fundraising, and today I am excited to be interviewing Phil Gerard for our Fundraising Career Conference 2016. Phil will be speaking about how to structure and organize your fundraising job search. Phil is not a typical fundraising recruiter. He spends that extra time with us, helping us see what skills we need to apply for the jobs we want, and what stepping stones we’ll need to navigate to get that crucial experience for the next phase in our careers.
So Phil, that’s a little bit of what I know about what makes you different. But what do you think makes you different from all the other fundraising recruiters out there?
PG: First of all, thank you very much for inviting me back to your conference, Mazarine!
What is very important for me is to be in touch with the people in my network over the course of their careers. I meet with fundraisers and aspiring fundraisers weekly to talk about their career aspirations. I think that’s really important because this way I learn more about people’s backgrounds, their strengths, what makes them tick, and what they want to do with their career. Then as opportunities come up, now or in the future, I have a much better understanding of who could be a good fit for what job and with what organization.
MT: Do you recruit Canada-wide?
PG: Yes, I do. With a focus on Vancouver and Toronto. Vancouver is my home base, so of course that’s where most of my searches are.
MT: What do you find most fulfilling about your job?
PG: I love my job. There are many things that I find fulfilling but one example is when someone who has tried to break into the fundraising profession calls me and says “Phil, I got the job.” That’s just an awesome feeling. The other example is when I identify a candidate for one of my clients who I think is just the perfect fit and that person ends up being the successful candidate.
MT: What are you teaching at the Fundraising Career Conference 2016?
PG: This time I’m going to talk about organizing your job search. This is something I’m looking forward to very much because it’s going to be a really broad and practical session.
I’ll be talking about the whole process : Researching the organizations that you are interested in, customizing your résumé, preparing yourself for an interview, the dos and the don’ts, how to present yourself in an interview and how to follow-up afterwards. We’re also going to discuss some tricky issues and questions and how to prepare for those.
MT: I’m sure you have seen so many cover letters and résumés, what’s one mistake you see people make over and over with a cover letter or a résumé?
PG: I have many pet peeves when it comes to résumés, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles. We’ll talk about that in the session. But I would say besides grammar and typos, it’s inconsistency (style, punctuation, font and size). Your résumé and cover letter need to be flawless – it can be your ticket to an interview.
MT: What would you wish more people realized about the fundraising job search?
PG: That it takes time. Especially, if you want to make a career transition. Those who are patient and have a good attitude, are humble and gracious in the process will eventually be successful.
MT: Thank you so much, again, Phil. I’m really looking forward to your session.
PG: Thank you, Mazarine.