Please upgrade your web browser

These pages are built with modern web browsers in mind, and are not optimized for Internet Explorer 8 or below. Please try using another web browser, such as Internet Explorer 9, Internet Explorer 10, Internet Explorer 11, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Apple Safari.

How do I move to a comparable or higher role in the for-profit space after being in a director role for a non-profit?


Cinthya Fana New York, NY

I was promoted quickly at my non-profit organization. Now that I want to explore other career options in the for-profit space, I feel that my director title is hindering my chances of getting a good transferable or higher role in HR. If I search for director roles, they usually require 15+ years of experience, which I do not have. I also believe that I am over qualified for HR Generalist positions and below. I have considered HR Manager, but I have not manage d anyone in a while. Any help is appreciated.

10 March 2020 7 replies Career Advancement



Joy Montgomery Pleasanton, CA

I worked for a company years ago where I did initial screening for job applicants. I was told not to refer anyone who had worked for a non-profit or for the government because "They won't understand the need to make a profit. They only understand spending."

If you want to make the transition from non-profit to a for profit company, make sure you show accomplishments where you reduced spending, increased income, improved production, etc. That's how you can address the bias that is in your way.

11 March 2020 Helpful answer


Rex Conger Gilbert, SC

I'll be glad to help you.

Every thing is based on "what have you done - what have you accomplished"! And it needs to be quantified. So we need to extract the information from your work/experience history and make it match the needs and objectives of the potential employers.

If you will send me your resume, cover letter and a good amount of personal work/volunteer/military experience along with the type of position you are looking for and in what industries - I'll be glad to help you.

You can send that to


Rex D. Conger
1408 Camping Rd
Gilbert, SC 29054

11 March 2020 Helpful answer


Gerald Mannikarote Houston, TX

Hi Cinthya,
Thanks for your service.
I think Katie gave some great advice for you.
Rather than looking for a job name/ role, look for the job descriptions that more closely match your skill set. You may not have not have managed people in a while, but if you have that in your experience, you may consider a manager role if it aligns with your skill set.
I hope this helps.
Warm regards,

11 March 2020 Helpful answer


Katie Tamarelli Newport, KY

Hi Cinthya,

Thank you very much for your service.

Generally, I have found that titles in the not-for-profit space do not transfer well (or directly) into the for-profit space as I think you are seeing (or even across industries). For example, I am a 'VP' in financial services, but in auto, that would be significantly more senior to where I am today.

I think focusing on the role requirements and years of experience is probably a better gauge to understand if you are a good fit for that particular role.

How many years of experience do you have in HR? What was the scope of your role? How big was the organization you supported?

Happy to discuss offline if helpful.

Let me know.


11 March 2020 Helpful answer


Henry ("Dr. Hank") Stevens Fort Lauderdale, FL

It looks like you have had some valuable response here - GREAT!

I have a slightly different take on the issue . . . . and I HAVE worked most of my life in Human Resources - from my days in the ARMY SECURITY AGENCY selecting candidates for advanced training to my H-R experience as a director in healthcare/hospitals.

Three thoughts . . .

One: Perhaps you should explore proprietary healthcare - more specifically, in their Human Resources Department? Everything from large physician group practices to chain hospitals might be a fruitful area for exploration???

Two: Find out about when the local chapter of SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) meets. Go there. Rub shoulders (no wait - not with the COVID-19 around). Put your ear to the ground, make friends, and ask about openings and pending opportunities.

Three: Step back from the S.O.P. of "education, skills, and experience" and identify YOUR TALENTS. Take that tact with potential employers and you will set yourself apart from the competition. Although there is a built-in interpretation of the results, I have my own. The results are in the form of 4 letters and their percent saturation. It will look something like this: I-45 N-29 T-10 J-75. After the assessment results are known and IF you want my take on the results, please get me the results as I have described - letters AND numbers are important. And, if you do not want my thinking on the subject, that's okay, too! This web site offers their take on your results - and it is a good one, too! My off-channel contact information is:

LASTLY: Would you hire an introvert for a customer-facing receptionist position? Can you teach extroversion? Of course not! To me, a persons' education gives me confidance that the person CAN learn. A persons' experience in a predecessor organization too often does not translate into the kind of experience that I need in my organization. "Skills?" They can be taught to an appropriately TALENTED person.

Let me hear from you - if you want! Dr. Hank


Paul Tusting Salt Lake City, UT

Great responses/suggestions from others.

Maybe you can highlight other roles (or pursue part time/contract work to fill in the gaps) which show experience that is more applicable to a for-profit environment.

Other responses list what some of these items are.
Best of luck, Paul


Cinthya Fana New York, NY

Thank you all so much for your input/recommendations. I will continue to do research on how to better reflect my experience on my resume and will send a copy to those that volunteered to take a look at it once it is completed.


Your Answer

Please log in to answer this question.

Sign Up

You can join as either a Veteran or an Advisor.

An Advisor already has a career, with or without military experience, and is willing to engage with and help veterans.
Sign Up as an Advisor.

A Veteran has military experience and is seeking a new career, or assistance with life after service.
Sign Up as a Veteran.