So, you’re thinking of starting a career in the charity sector? Great! But then comes the not-so-great part… writing your CV.
Not to worry – because luckily for you we’re here to help! Jobs in the charity sector can encompass a whole range of roles. Entry level positions are often those such as Administration, Marketing Assistant, and Fundraising Assistant. But try not to assume that entry-level means that you can apply with simply your A-levels and maybe a degree on your CV. Like most jobs these days, even for entry level positions a little experience is necessary, and whether it’s gained through paid employment, internships, or voluntary work – it all helps! So, without further delay, let us share with you our top tips for writing the perfect Charity CV.
A CV needs to be concise. Remember the person reading it is probably already in the middle of a very busy day; they don’t have time to read through 7 pages detailing every sports team you played for in Year 8. So cut down where you can and make sure to utilise your cover letter to express your motivation to work for the Charity in question.
Don’t sell yourself short
A lot of people play down their achievements or fail to recognise the difference they have made. Think carefully about the value you added to your previous roles (voluntary or not), and make sure to include it in your CV. You should aim to link your skills and experience to the specific role you are applying for, and evidence how you have put those skills into practise (give them facts and figures to back it up if you can!). Consider what it is that really sets you apart. And remember not to neglect your digital skills – for many Charities social media platforms are an increasingly important resource, as well as an economical one, utilised to help spread the word of their mission. Expertise in this area can be highly valued.
Do your research
The people who work in this sector do so because they genuinely care about their cause. Meaning you need to show that you do too. It can be extremely tempting but try not to fire out the same CV to multiple charities. Take the time to do your homework on the one you are applying to and tailor your CV towards them. If you can mention a campaign they have done recently then even better – your enthusiasm will shine through!
Voluntary work matters
Voluntary work demonstrates that you’re passionate, committed, and genuinely care about something enough to give up your own free time to help out. If you did it whilst studying or working – even better, it demonstrates that you are extremely organised. Charities want to see these qualities from you so don’t stick your voluntary work at the bottom of your CV in a tiny font – treat it as you would job by including your dates and what you achieved whilst there. If you volunteered with the charity you are applying to, then big it up even more! Voluntary work is always worthwhile and could even be the foot in the door that leads to full-time employment.
Administrative Assistant (London) - Papyrus Prevention of Young Suicide (JC scale spinal point 13 - £16,491 per annum (plus 17.5% London weighting), Westminster, London, Greater London)
Papyrus Prevention of Young Suicide
Westminster, London, Greater London
JC scale spinal point 13 - £16,491 per annum (plus 17.5% London weighting)View job Save job
Do remember to proofread
We can’t stress this enough – check, check, and check again! There are plenty of great tools such as Grammarly to help you with this, which means there are no excuses for grammatical errors in your CV. It appears sloppy, unprofessional, and an instant turn off for recruiters. Also, when writing remember to use the active voice over the passive to show that you are a doer.
Like any other sector, who you know can really help. So utilise community sites like CharityConnect to make contacts. Write a post asking for advice, or reach out for guidance from people doing the kind of roles you’re aiming for. Building relationships really is helpful, especially if it’s fundraising you want to do – by connecting with others you’ll already be part way there. Luckily the Charity sector is brimming with friendly folk who will only be too happy to help!
Many big charities are flooded with applications. So if you’ve been sending out your CV and hearing nothing back then try starting small. Smaller local charities are a great place to build experience, as well as much more likely to need your help.
So, good luck – and here’s to happy job hunting!