Face it: The Professional Experience section of your CV could be the difference between getting an interview and your CV landing in the bin. Yet, applicants are consistently stumped trying to perfect this part of their CV.
In the charity and not-for-profit sector especially, this section can range from specific workplace experience to relevant voluntary work. Pulling all that experience together and targeting it toward a specific job can feel overwhelming.
But worry not! With these four expert tips for writing the Professional Experience section, you’ll nail your CV and land the job in no time.
Never underestimate the power of formatting. While many candidates choose to format the Professional Experience section of their CV in paragraphs detailing their previous duties, the best way to grab – and hold – a hiring manager’s attention is by optimising your CV for readability and impact.
Career expert Alison Doyle says, “Bullet points allow you to highlight your most relevant accomplishments. This shows the employer quickly and easily that you are a good fit for the job.”
Instead of boring your reader with a paragraph describing your previous work, present your Professional Experience in bullet point form. Craft 4 to 6 killer bullet points for your most relevant work experience to turn a small section into a big impression.
Show your results
Are you sweating over not having targeted experience for the job you’re applying to? Here’s the dirty little secret that hiring managers aren’t telling you – it’s not about what you did, it’s about how you got results.
Whether you’re taking the leap from Diabetes Awareness to Disaster Relief or just changing positions in your current field, what will get you the job? It isn’t having performed the basic duties outlined in the job listing, it’s showing how you solve problems and accomplish goals.
Here’s what a weak (but all-too-common) bullet point looks like:
- Performed marketing duties
Here’s what an effective bullet point looks like:
- Exceeded funding goals by an average of 10% through the institution of multi-platform marketing campaigns
A winning Professional Experience section doesn’t just list the tasks you’ve performed in the past. It proves to your future employer that you know how to get the job done, no matter what task you’re assigned.
You can even check out CV examples from other industries to find inspiration for your own CV. It’s easier than you think to come up with results-oriented, offer-worthy Professional Experience bullet points – no matter what field you work in.
Quantify those results
Wendy S. Enelow, co-author of No-Nonsense Resumes says, “In listing your most relevant experience, quantify your achievements whenever possible.” The most effective way to highlight the positive effects of your actions is by using concrete facts and figures. You’ll leave no room for a hiring manager to question how valuable you truly are.
Four of the most popular ways to quantify experience are:
- Generated £50,000 in sponsor funding for the Hands-in-Hand campaign through direct community outreach efforts
- Increased member retention by 15% by implementing a multistep exit process
Number of […]:
- Raised 3,000 pairs of shoes over a 90 day period for Soles4Souls
Number of [people]:
- Trained a team of 8 volunteers in calling practices, recruitment techniques, and resource acquisition strategies
These four ways of quantifying experience are far from the only ones. Digging into your past experience to pull out some numbers will go a long way in your Professional Experience section.
Tie in your skills
The key to a strong CV is tying it all together
Now that you know how to show a hiring manager what results you can get, it’s time to show how you get them.
The best way to ensure your resume packs a punch from start to finish is by tying each section together. Use your Professional Experience section to prove how you put what’s listed in your Skills section to good use.
Here’s what a hiring manager DOESN’T want to read
- Secured 15% discount on marketing materials
With these ideas, you’ll be able to nail the experience section of your CV and hopefully start landing interviews! Do you have any tips of your own when it come to sharing experience on a charity CV? If so, then let us know in the comments. Make sure you check out CharityJob to see what great charity and no
Instead, show them how you got that result with something like this:
- Secured 15% discount on marketing materials by developing and maintaining relationships with key suppliers
Now when you include “networking” in your Skills section later in the resume, you’ll have already proven how you can use that ability and how much it can be worth.