How to Write Effective Job Descriptions for Your CV

4 minute read

If you’re currently looking for a charity or non-profit role, then your CV is obviously going to be a hugely valuable tool.

But, what many candidates don’t realise is that your work experience comes under more scrutiny than any other part of your CV.

Your job descriptions need to be well structured and packed with content that showcases your most valuable skills and results if you want to prove to employers that you are talented enough to join their team.

So here are some helpful tips for you to follow so that you can write job descriptions that will make your CV stand out from the competition.

Structuring your role descriptions

You need to structure your roles in a fashion that makes them easy for busy recruiters to scan through and pick out the information they need while drawing attention to essential skills and achievements.

Avoid large blocks of text that become tedious to read and make the context visually pleasing by breaking it into bullet points, headers and clearly defined sections.

Start with a brief summary of each role to show the nature of the previous organisations you have worked for, and where you sit within the hierarchy – then bullet point your responsibilities to show your input and how it has affected former employers.

Show how you’ve impacted an organisation

Don’t just document your duties in your previous employment, demonstrate how you influenced the organisation and how your actions benefitted your team or the mission.

For example, if you previously worked as a fundraiser, explain how you supported the organisation to reach their donation goals. What new initiatives did you put in place? Did you increase the retention rate of donors, if so, how? And how did this have a lasting impact on your organisation? By answering questions like this, you’ll be able to demonstrate what you’ve actually achieved.

By detailing your impact, you can show that you are not just there to make up numbers, and prove that you could be a valuable addition to their team.

Provide the right level of detail

Providing enough detail in your job descriptions to prove your value (but not so much detail that it becomes tiresome to read) can be a tough balancing act.

Try to provide more depth when describing recent roles or the roles that are more applicable to the charity sector.  It’s always a good idea to split your CV into two sections – relevant experience and other experience. Any job that you’ve had in the past that clearly demonstrates skills and experience that can be applied to the position you’re applying for falls under relevant experience, and you should share more detailed information about your responsibilities and impact.

If your most recent role is within a charity, then recruiters and hiring managers will want a lot of information, so adapt your CV accordingly. Show off your wide range of your skills, knowledge and interactions, while rounding the role off with some impressive achievements.

Add figures to your achievements

Adding achievements to your CV is a great way to show recruiters and hiring managers the value you added in a previous role, but it can sometimes be difficult to express the impact you made with words alone.

To make these points clearer, quantify your achievements as part of your role descriptions by backing them up with facts and figures.

For example, instead of merely stating:

“I reached sponsorship targets through events.”

Quantify this achievement like this:

“Supported the overall goals of the organisation by raising corporate sponsorship by 15% in 3 months via networking and two national events.”

This gives recruiters a scalable understanding of the value you can bring to a role. Adding numbers to your achievements gives them an accurate understanding of the impact you make, and the scale of your past experience.

Sell yourself

Your CV is the first impression a recruiter will have of you, so it needs to be strong. It’s your chance to grab their attention and compel them to contact you. Being too modest and writing in a dull, formal tone won’t excite anybody.

Although you want to convey a level of professionalism, it’s important to make sure your descriptions are written in an upbeat, positive tone with plenty of encouraging verbs and adjectives to emphasise your effectiveness as an employee.

For example, don’t just describe yourself as a;

“Marketing Executive with 5 years of experience in email marketing.”

Improve the language and really sell yourself by describing yourself as a:

“Accomplished marketing executive with 5 years of experience supporting charity and non-profit organisations with large-scale campaigns.”

To sum up

Your role descriptions give you the perfect opportunity to showcase your abilities, and prove how you apply them in the workplace – so don’t waste them.

Structure your roles in a manner that allows them to be easily navigated, and ensures the important information is easy to find. Ensure that you include all of your most in-demand skills by tailoring the content to match the requirements of your target jobs, and prove your value by highlighting quantified key achievements for each role.

Andrew Fennell

Andrew Fennell is an experienced recruiter and founder of CV advice centre StandOut CV and a regular contributor to sites such as CV Library, The Guardian and Business Insider.

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