Adapting Your Customer Service CV to the Charity Sector

3 minute read

Has Covid-19 made you re-evaluate your priorities? Perhaps it’s convinced you to pursue a job that you’re more passionate aboutIf you work in customer service, you’re in a great position to make the switch from the private to the charity sector as you have many transferable skills that are in high demand.  

But how do you give yourself the best possible chance of success? We’re here to help. Below, we share six simple ways you can adapt your customer service CV to help you secure a job in the charity sector. 

1. Reconsider your CV format  

The first thing you need to consider is the information that you want to lead with, which might mean rearranging your previous customer service CV. Are you looking to focus on your key skills, experience or qualifications? There are different formats of CV that you can choose from.  

If you do have some relevant experience of the charity sector (in a paid or voluntary capacity), you might choose to lead with this instead and put it higher up on your CV. 

If you don’t have much experience in the charity sector, our recommendation would be to lead with the skills outlined in the job ad and to address each of these in turn.  

Example:  

Good communication 

  • Dealing with a range of customers in X organisation, supporting them with all queries related to Y and Z. 
  • Gaining extensive experience in managing complaints referred by junior staff and turning around disappointed customers. Almost three quarters of those customers went on to make a repeat purchase.  
  • Generating X amount of positive customer reviews within the space of a year. 

skills that look great on charity cv

2. Tweak your personal statement 

Your personal statement is the first thing that recruiters will read, and it needs to grab and hold their attention.  

Make sure you avoid using empty statements such as “I work well autonomously and as part of a team.” It doesn’t tell your employer anything about your abilities. Also, never copy and paste directly from your cover letter. Instead, write a short and snappy summary of your experience and achievements, using data if you have it.  

Bear in mind that it’s important to make sure that you adapt your customer-service based personal profile to reflect your planned move to the charity sector.  

Example:  

I am a highly driven customer service manager with 8 years’ experience. My effective communication skills and proactive approach resulted in a 97% client satisfaction rate in my current role. I am now looking to put my skills to use in the charity sector.  

If you’re a long-time supporter of the charity that you’re applying to, it’s also worth mentioning this in your personal statement. 

3. Optimise your CV with keywords  

 In today’s recruitment landscape, many employers use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to screen CVs. But even if they don’t, optimising your CV with keywords can help recruiters to scan through and quickly identify if you’re a good fit for the role.  

The best way to do this is to go through and highlight the key skills, experience and qualifications that the employer has listed in the job description. If you’ve already opted for the skills-focused CV layout, this should be relatively easy. But if you’ve chosen to lead with your work experience, make sure you’ve included these keywords.  

For example, if the job description specifies that the ideal candidate needs to be efficient, approachable and highly organised, you can use these exact adjectives in your CV.  

Make sure that you take the time to respond to each ad individually. The skills are likely to differ slightly for each role, and you want to pay attention to those all-important keywords. 

danger of lying on your cv

4. Remember to include voluntary work 

There’s no better way to demonstrate your commitment to working in the third sector than through volunteering. Many candidates entirely forget this important element of their experience.  

Don’t worry if your volunteering isn’t directly related to your prospective employer’s work, or even to customer service. It certainly demonstrates your passion and shows that you’ve devoted time and energy to a cause that you feel strongly about.  

With more recruiters turning to social media to screen candidates in recent times, you can also post about any charity work you’ve been involved in on platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter. 

Are you ready to adapt your customer service CV? 

So there you have it. If you’re looking for a customer service role in a charity, the above guidance will stand you in good stead. Remember, your transferable skills and tailoring your CV will play a vital part in securing you an interview. And if you’re on the lookout for a new customer service role in the charity sector, why not check out the latest positions 

Andrew Fennell

Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter and founder of CV and careers advice websites StandOut CV and Job description library, as well as being a regular contributor to sites such as CV Library, The Guardian and Business Insider.

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