Curriculum Vitae (CV) for Development/ NGO Sector
Curriculum Vitae (CV) is the comprehensive document that outlines the skills, qualifications, achievements and experiences of a person.
It’s appropriateness to the context in which it is presented is quite important in addition to the factual correctness. Before going into details about CVs for development agencies, it is useful to understand some facts about the sector.
Most development agencies work on the full life-cycle of the project unlike the corporate sector. So, highlighting the non-core skills is an obvious advantage.
In development sector effective communication both writing and speaking is essential, particularly at the senior level; this is important because of the nature of work – mobilisation of resources, reporting to donors, writing research papers, making presentations and so on. The same may not be the case for many other fields such as scientific research, IT and Finance.Therefore the CV needs to demonstrate not only your profile but also your proficiency in writing and oral communication.
Passion for development is considered a positive factor and this should be highlighted in the CV (e.g. Issues relating to the poor and marginalized, particularly those of women, tribals and dalits have been central to my work).
The CV should be structured well to make it easy to read and review by the interviewer; it could have sections such as Contact details, Experience summary, Qualification, Skillset, Key achievements and Project highlights (to mention a few).
Studies have found that most interviewers spend only a few seconds looking at a CV based on which they can get a sense of the academic qualification, years of experience and past organizations of the applicant.
Balancing the details is quite contextual. For example the percentage of mark scored in graduation for a person having 20 years of experience may be irrelevant but it is perfect for a fresher.
- A CV should not exceed three pages with 11 font size. The primary focus should be on the first page. Anything more than 3 pages create a perceptional resistance to the person taking the interview and only focus on the first page.
- It is advised to save the CV in MS word or in pdf format. Use a style sheet so that the document looks structured. Take care on indentation, bullet points, capital/ small letters. Using too many bullet points can hamper the ease of readability, so maintaining a balance is necessary.
- Let the mobile number, email id, blog be visible at the top of the page. Avoid putting more than one email ID and mobile number. Recently, it has been observed that recruiters visit the blogs, so it is important that if you post a blog link, it should have certain quality standard otherwise it is easier for the interviewer to draw a negative conclusion.
- Spell check is a basic expectation. Be careful when using Ms Word – many a times you may replace the word with a completely different word while correcting it’s spelling. Ask a friend, preferably from a different stream of professional background to read and verify.
- Putting references with their contact details is not advisable for a generic CV and makes it lengthy.
- Ensure that the CV is relevant to the job description of the assignment. Quickly review every time while applying for a new job. Store the job description somewhere for future reference. This is one of the more common mistakes made by the most.
- Do not send a CV without a covering letter. It is perceived to be the demonstration of the casual approach of the applicant. Avoid putting a photograph.
- Avoid sending the CV at the last minute. You are more likely to make mistakes.