5 Skills That Look Great On Your Charity CV

3 minute read

Working towards a meaningful cause and having a good work-life balance are important job benefits for many people. So it’s not hard to see why a career in the charity sector can be highly attractive. Thankfully, the sheer size of the sector means a steady and varied stream of jobs are available.

But to get that all-important first step on the non-profit ladder, you’ll need to sell yourself in a well-rounded CV. The good news is you probably have more transferable skills than you think.

Not sure where to start? Let’s break down the five skills that look great on any charity CV.

5 Skills That Look Great On Your Charity CV

1. Digital know-how 

Whether you’ve learnt how to code in your spare time, managed the social media accounts for a previous employer or consider yourself something of an SEO whizz, digital skills can do big things for your charity CV.

The world is driven by digital. So it’s no surprise that demand for digitally savvy professionals in the non-profit sector is growing rapidly. Having a strong social media presence and user-friendly website can help charities of any size to reach thousands of supporters.

Learning new digital skills or brushing up on your existing ones is sure to attract hiring managers. Just don’t forget to include your digital skills, with examples, results, qualifications or certifications, in your CV.


2. Communication

If there’s one charity soft skill you master, make it communication. From preparing content for a major presentation to supporting someone over the phone in a helpline role, being able to effectively express your thoughts and ideas both verbally and in writing is key to many charity roles.

Remember, it’s not just about being good at talking to people. It’s also about knowing how to communicate with tact and empathy in sensitive situations. Whether you’re speaking to donors or directly to beneficiaries, you want to instil a sense of trust and familiarity that inspires them to keep coming back to your charity. Being able to put this skill on your CV shows hiring managers that you understand the nuances of the sector.

And don’t forget those all-important listening skills. They’ll be key to working with colleagues and clients in an office role or understanding the needs of vulnerable individuals in a support setting.

5 Skills That Look Great On Your Charity CV

3. Leadership

Charities are always on the lookout for candidates with exceptional leadership skills. Especially in smaller organisations where you’ll have to take on more responsibility and lead projects on your own.

They want forward thinkers who can successfully coordinate, manage and motivate a team. Ultimately, it’s the leaders who make the critical decisions which drive charities towards positive results.

In your charity CV, try to include examples of times you’ve motivated or inspired others, kept team members on a task or maintained morale in a sticky situation. If you’re new to the working world, these examples could be from university or volunteer stints. Remember, recruiters just want to see your potential.


4. Data analysis

Charities increasingly need staff who are able to collect and analyse the data that ever-improving technology brings them. Data analysis can transform a non-profit. It can help them make more effective decisions on everything from fundraising initiatives to deciding where their money is making the most impact.

Wondering where to pick up fundamental data analysis skills? Try free data science courses from edX and Coursera. While they may only touch the surface of the big wide world of data, they’re sure to add brownie points to your charity CV.

5 Skills That Look Great On Your Charity CV

5. Teamwork

In the charity sector, you’ll need to be able to work collaboratively with a wide range of people to achieve shared goals. So teamwork skills will always be a key characteristic of any dedicated charity employee.

Try to find examples of times you’ve demonstrated good teamwork ability and include them on your CV. It might be when you worked on a group assignment at university, supported people with a challenging workload by offering to take on some of their tasks in a previous job or worked with other fundraisers to raise money as part of a volunteering role.


The bigger picture

Digital know-how and soft skills like communication and teamwork are sure to stand out on your charity CV. But this is by no means an exhaustive list. Think back through your previous work experience (including voluntary roles) and education and pick out your most valuable transferable skills. You’ll find you have lots to offer―so make sure you show it!

Ready to start sending out those applications? Find out what jobs are available in the charity sector today.


This post was originally published in 2019. We’ve updated it to ensure relevance and to reflect the current job seeker experience.

Andrew Fennell

Andrew Fennell is the founder and director of StandOut CV, a leading CV builder and careers advice website. He is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to publications like Business Insider, The Guardian, and the Independent.

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