Fundraising news, ideas and inspiration for professional charity fundraisers

What does your CV say about you?

What does your CV say about you?

In an increasingly competitive job market your CV needs to stand out. A good CV will open doors to job interviews giving you the opportunity to shine in person. A bad CV will leave an employer none the wiser as to the skills you possess or the fundraising experience you have.

When it comes to writing your CV, there is no right or wrong way of going about it. From layout and use of fonts to language and overall length it is fair to say we all have different ideas as to what works best. You only need to type the words curriculum vitae into any search engine to find a wealth of templates to help you craft the perfect resume. Most of these templates work within a two page framework and it is worth noting that you are not seven times more likely to get shortlisted for an interview because your CV is seven pages long, quite the opposite. Going down a point size or two is not the answer either, if your font size is less than ten and you are still over two (or three pages maximum) then you need to edit. If you are short of space, cut down on listing hobbies (does your future employer really need to know you like rock climbing and Thai food?) so you can maximise listing your work experience.

In terms of structure, CV’s often start with an executive summary/profile. If you choose to include this make sure it is relevant and not formulaic. Your work experience section should follow your summary as this is a key area for any future charity employer. This section should not read like a job description simply listing main responsibilities, it is an opportunity for you to highlight your fundraising successes in a particular role. Don’t be ashamed of letting a future employer know what your income target was and how much you succeeded it – bullet points listing short facts and figures can say a great deal more than several paragraphs of text. Demonstrating briefly what part you played in raising funds, recruiting donors, working with volunteers, project managing events or getting that corporate partnership contract signed can give fundraisers a huge advantage over candidates coming from outside the sector.

Spend time on your CV, tailor it for each fundraising job you apply for – a one size fits all CV stands out a mile away and tells the charity recruiting that you can take or leave the job they are advertising. With over 220,000 people logging on and using in March 2011 one thing you can be sure of is that you will not be alone in applying for a particular fundraising role. Make sure your CV stands out from the other seventy applicants – not for being the longest or winning the prize for smallest font, but for being clear and concise about your fundraising achievements to date.

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