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.