So, you’re looking for a new job and you’ve found some roles that seem ideal. But how can you be sure your CV is absolutely spotless before hitting send?
Sadly, now more than ever, there’s a huge amount of competition out there. To stand out from the sea of applicants, your CV needs to do more than just present your work history—it needs to immediately signal to the recruiter that you’re the one they’re after.
To help get you started, we’ve highlighted four vital checks you should make before sending off your CV.
To give the absolute best impression to all the recruiters who will read your CV, it needs to ooze professionalism. However, it’s worth noting that professionalism doesn’t necessarily mean stiff and corporate. Depending on the nature of the work you’ll be doing, it’s okay to use slightly less formal language (but make sure you don’t lapse on structure and style).
There are no ‘rules’ when it comes to CV writing, but we’d suggest including the following sections in order to give employers a good indication of whether you’d be a good fit for the role:
And remember, a successful CV is always clearly presented. Recruiters will naturally be drawn to the top part of the document, so make sure you really sell yourself in your profile at the beginning.
Your CV shouldn’t be longer than two pages and don’t forget your spelling and punctuation. Proofread the document as many times as you can, and perhaps get a friend to look over it with a fresh pair of eyes. Spelling mistakes look extremely unprofessional.
Swarmed with applications, recruiters in the charity sector are busier than ever and will appreciate nothing more than an easy-to-read, concise CV.
Have you left white space to distinguish between sections? Without it, it won’t be easy for readers to find the information they’re looking for.
Use a professional, clear font such as Arial or Calibri in a size 10 or 12 and make sure to bold your headings. If there are any particularly impressive achievements or skills that you want employer’s eyes to be drawn to, use bold for them, as well – but don’t go overboard.
Non-profits recruit for candidates with a diverse range of skills, some of which are more specialised than the corporate sector. In smaller organisations, you may be asked to take on work that’s slightly outside your job spec, so the more you can do the better. That doesn’t mean, however, that the skillset you developed in a for-profit company isn’t valuable – in fact, sometimes skills from a corporate job can help inspire positive changes in day-to-day practices.
It really varies from position to position, which is why you should make sure your key skills stand out on your CV. You can do this by using a short, bullet-pointed list in the core skills section, as well as including the most relevant information in your personal profile.
Before you write your CV, have a good look at the job description and make a note of the skills they’re actually looking for. Make sure you include these in the sections we mentioned above if you have them.
If you’re looking for a fundraising role, make sure to highlight any sales-related skills you’ve developed. If you’re heading into more of a ‘caring’ role, your people skills should be front and centre.
Charities want to work with people who can bring results and show a real drive and passion for the organisation. Think about the value you added in previous roles, even if it was voluntary. Have you quantified your achievements in past roles with facts and figures?
How many shares did the video you made for a charity’s social media channels receive? Have you ever surpassed the target fundraising – if so, by how much and how did you achieve that? Did you win corporate sponsors, trusts or grants? Employers appreciate facts and figures which proves a candidate’s value.
Perfecting your CV is key to landing the charity job you want, so ensure that you invest plenty of time into crafting it. If you communicate your suitability and value right from the start, your application will be one that makes employers sit up and take notice.
Still need a bit more guidance? Take a look at our free non-profit CV template.