Sending in unasked-for sample work as part of a job description: good idea?
January 13, 2012 3:19 PM   Subscribe

Job-application filter: Along with my resume and cover letter, I'd like to send some (unasked-for) sample work in as part of an application for a "Director of Grants" position w/ a large family-services nonprofit. Any tips or advice on this plan?

I haven't yet sent in anything about the position. I more or less have the experience and skills the position description asks for, but my resume is not going to be amazingly competitive for this job, especially in this labor market. I'm relatively early in my career, for instance, so my experience isn't super impressive, although I do have some successful grant-writing experience. I'm hoping putting in some extra work will help set me apart.

The job description lays out the responsibilities of the position fairly clearly. The job requires researching and weighing potential grant opportunities, presenting them to the org's leadership, working w/ program people and finance people to actually write and submit the grant proposals, and managing the evaluation and reporting of awarded grants. It would be a high volume of proposals/renewals--more than 100 per year--so organizational skills are crucial also.

To help get my application looked at, I thought I might do some of this actual work, thus help proving that I can! My idea is to research the org's programs and find 5-8 actual funding opportunities that might be good prospects. I can make a short presentation that lays out these opportunities, their amounts, their timelines, etc., along with maybe a sample paragraph that would be part of the grant application narrative for one of the grants. This would be more or less a mock-up of the kind of presentation I would be making w/in the organization if I actually got this job.

I don't think I'll manage, from the outside, to find much information that they don't already know about, but I'm hoping this exercise will help show my skills and initiative. It's not an online application system; you just email your resume and a cover letter to apply, so this would just be one additional attachment to my application email, and I would briefly explain it in the email text. There's nothing in the job posting to discourage this.

I'd love your feedback or advice about this plan--is this dumb? A great idea? Ways to make it more effective? I'm especially interested in answers from people with experience in large nonprofit/social service settings. Thanks for any thoughts you can share!
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (2 answers total)
If you're applying for grant writing, this sounds pretty smart.
posted by Pants! at 3:23 PM on January 13, 2012

Ramit Sethi of "I Will Teach You To Be Rich" calls this the Briefcase Technique (because at some point in your interview, you reach into your briefcase, and pull out working examples specific to the interviewers' needs), and he recommends it:

posted by themanwho at 12:38 AM on January 14, 2012

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