3 Ways to Highlight Tech Savvy in a Charity Application
Though other industries have suffered mightily this year, the world of technology has emerged relatively unscathed. Just think about how many of us are using tools like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. It’s become part of the fabric of our working day, and we’ll only be investing more and more in digital prowess at time goes on.
But the remote revolution hasn’t just impacted the world of business—it’s influenced some positive changes in the non-profit space as well. Where charities might have previously held strong to old-fashioned methods (owing largely to a desire to keep costs down), they now have no choice but to embrace technology. So if you’re a tech-savvy candidate looking to make a shift into the charity sector, you’re likely to be a few steps ahead of the game.
Eager to stand out in a saturated job market? Here are the three ways to best display your technical knowledge and experience when applying for a charity job.
1. Show some relevant endorsements
It’s easy enough for us to tell you to go out and get more qualifications. But is that really practical? Investing in new technical qualifications can be expensive, time-consuming and ineffective at convincing prospective employers. Though they may make your CV look a bit flashier, they’re not as effective as demonstrating real-life experience and impact.
Let’s just put it in context. If a candidate includes a C++ training course on their CV, does that actually mean they have used that programming language? Or did they just complete an online certification? You want to be able to prove you don’t just know these tech skills—you’ve used them and can use them effectively again.
This is where endorsements can really make the difference. Earning trust by proxy is a core component of the tech world. Cloud solution distributor intY has ‘Gold Microsoft Partner’ on its homepage for a reason: if you know that Microsoft supports the company, you know you can rely on it. And the more candidates can lean on the tacit endorsement of colleagues and past employers, the better they’ll look.
So reach out to former employers, colleagues and acquaintances with solid reputations in the tech world. A handful of testimonials confirming your skills can do much to reassure prospective employers of your value—and it’ll help you stand out from rival candidates with certificates to spare.
These endorsements can be posted to your LinkedIn, website or even cheekily snuck into your CV. You can even ask your references to ensure they talk up your tech capabilities if you get to the final recruitment stage.
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2. Show examples and boast about results
You’ve probably heard this before—recruiters want to see the impact you made, not just the work you did. Want to show examples of your technical capabilities? It can be helpful to create a website that acts as a portfolio of some of the projects you worked on. And make sure any bullet points on your CV follow this structure: what you did, why you did it and what it achieved.
It isn’t just your technical skills that are valuable, of course. It’s also your ability to diagnose and address problems, your determination to do great work and your willingness to learn from your mistakes. It can be hard to fit this all in a two-page CV, but you can bring it up in your cover letter or in long-form applications questions (which are the standard for the charity sector).
Keep in mind the way you communicate your projects is extremely important: being assertive is always preferable (Toggl has a good guide to what this involves). The more you can talk about your experiences, the better it bodes for your long-term value.
This is also a fantastic opportunity to express your altruism. Candidates who talk about how they’ve helped colleagues in the past or put in extra hours to work on projects show they’re not only team players, but they’re empathetic and collaborative. And charities love to see that.
3. Outline the impact you can have on the organisation
This is a time of great upheaval, with the short-term future still presenting a lot of uncertainty. That means charities are more open to innovative ideas than they might have been a year ago. This rings especially true for digital, which is something the charity sector has fallen short on in the past. So think carefully about how you can make the best use of the digital skills you have to drive the charity forward.
Be creative, be bold and show them that you’re enthusiastic about using your technical skills to make a difference. The more you illustrate your willingness to drive change, especially when it comes to digital and technology, the more appealing you become as a candidate.
Of course, we’re not saying you need to open your interviews with comprehensive plans for the charity you want to work for. But we encourage you to speak broadly about how you’d change things if hired. What would you prioritise? How would you motivate your new teammates? How can you improve structures that are lacking? What would your goals be for the charity? It’s vital for charities to hire people who understand what they’re trying to achieve, so pitching some general ideas matching their goals is sure to impress them.
Rodney Laws is an ecommerce expert with over a decade of experience in building online businesses. Check out his reviews on EcommercePlatforms.io and you’ll find practical tips that you can use to build the best online store for your business. Connect with him on Twitter @EcomPlatformsior.