One of the most important things about writing a thirdsector jobs CV is that it needs to be tailored specifically to the role for which you are applying. There is no such thing as a general CV – or rather there are general CVs, but they are normally passed over in favour of documents that clearly indicate the candidate has done his or her research.
Sending in a general, all-purpose not for profit application sends out the following message: you’ll do that job if you have to, but you’re equally happy not to bother.
The potential employer wants CVs that show initiative, the ability to communicate and most importantly an understanding of the role for which you are applying. That means defining the parts of your experience that fit the requirements of the role – and that means studying the job advert and the company posting the advert very carefully.
You should always start writing your thirdsector jobs CV by matching what information you include with the bullet points and candidate description contained in the advert. And I’m not talking about parroting either. You don’t respond to a job advert that says “the successful candidate will be highly self-motivated”, by simply writing a CV that says “I am highly self-motivated”. Rather you look at your recent career and pick the bits of it showing you are highly self-motivated, and you list them.
So for example your thirdsector jobs CV, in the above case, might specifically list projects you initiated in previous jobs. Again without you saying “I am highly self-motivated, and that’s why I did x” – the very fact that you did x is evidence of your self motivation.
Once you are satisfied that you have collected a range of examples of things you’ve done that are completely relevant to the role and the candidate description, you need to have a look at the company’s website to find out more about its overall ethos and personality. So you can edit the tone of your CV to match, but – and this is important – without toadying.
Again the employer will want to be encouraged by your CV, to see evidence in your style of writing that you have a personality that matches that of the business. But that doesn’t mean parroting either. If the company obviously has a fresh and funky outlook, you don’t need to go around claiming that you’re down with the kids. You simply need to couch the language of your CV in slightly less formal terms.
In a previous post I have mentioned that a thirdsector jobs CV doesn’t need a personal interests section. In broad terms this is true. But there may be some exceptions to make when you look at individual jobs and companies. With a company that seems to put a premium on freedom of expression or a company that may require you to do some field work, for instance, you can list (very, very briefly) personal interests like walking, running, surfing and so on.