As a nonprofit consultant a resume won’t do. You need a Sell Sheet.

As a nonprofit consultant a resume won’t do. You need a Sell Sheet.

The other day, at my nonprofit consultant’s networking group, I met someone interested in breaking into grant proposal writing. He had a strong academic background, a mature attitude, a passion for a couple of kinds of nonprofit missions, and seemed to be a pretty nice guy. Best of all? He followed up on our meeting with a “good to meet you” email. So far, so good.

It’s what he attached to that email that gave me pause. His resume.

I’ll hold back commenting on the resume itself. It wasn’t bad. It just needed some tweaking.

Regardless, I shouldn’t have received a resume. What he needed to send me was a “sell sheet.”

You see, a resume, by its very nature, is about you. Not only that, it tells the recipient that you’re looking for a “paycheck job,” not a consulting engagement.

Instead, a sell sheet makes clear that you are looking to provide your services on a temporary basis – a consulting or freelance basis. And while a sell sheet is about you, it’s only about you as a means of telling your potential client how you can help them. Besides, the structure is different, so visually it doesn’t say “job hunter,” either.

What’s a sell sheet look like?

At the top: your name, your business’ name (if you have one), and if you have a logo and/or a tagline, then that too.

You can choose to put your contact info next, or you can put that at the bottom. Where ever it goes, all you need is a name, phone number, email and a LinkedIn address (unless you also have your own website – then add that, too.)

Consider adding your picture. You can decide where it looks best (and if you’re tricky enough with your word processor to insert the picture in place and do a text wrap around it.)

Below that, a very brief (three lines at most) paragraph characterizing your background. “Fundraising professional with 15 years’ experience in direct mail, management and databases at the following organizations….”

Next, bullet point columns on the skills and services you bring to your clients. Maybe another on the missions you want to serve.

If you have past clients to highlight – here’s a place. Even better? One line testimonials.

That’s it. Oh, and make it a pdf so everyone can open it.

If they want a resume, they’ll ask. You just want to provide a brief “snapshot” of you so your client knows what you offer, and will want to ask for even more information or a meeting.

So, remember… resume for jobs, sell sheet for consulting.

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