Job hunting is not an easy feat with today’s unemployment rate. According to the International Labour Organization, there will be 205 million unemployed people in 2022. Hence, many job seekers can’t help but ask how they can stand out in a sea of applicants. The answer, though easier said than done, lies in plain sight: the use of the right CV template. Whether you’re a fresh graduate entering the workforce or someone making a career change, creating a recruiter-approved CV is a first critical step to landing your dream job.

In this article, we will explore how creating a CV tailored to the Development sector can help you stand out from your competitors. This applies to the broader social impact sector.

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Why having the right CV template matters

First impressions last. Your CV serves as your initial correspondence with your dream organization. A good first impression, manifested in a well-crafted CV, opens doors to an applicant. Conversely, a bad first impression closes these doors and makes an applicant lose their spark in a sea of job seekers.

In 2021, an average recruiter spends 7.4 seconds on a CV to decide whether to move an application to the next step. You only have those few seconds to make a difference. Moreover, a sector-specific CV template tells recruiters that you know the sector’s “language.”

If you’re eyeing a career in the United Nations or leading international organizations, a good CV will help you emphasize both your qualifications and your passion. Using the right CV template helps you organize your information and can set you apart from other candidates. 

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Effective CV template communicates personal brand 

Your CV is essentially your personal brand — the story of your life told by the feats and experiences you’re proudest of. As your personal brand becomes more captivating, more managers will want to work with you. Your personal brand conveys your impact and influence, allowing you to convey more value to the organization.

This is critical for the social impact sector as managers tend to value your passion for related advocacy areas. For example, if you hope to work for UN Agencies like the World Food Programme or ICRC, not only would you need excellent technical skills (e.g. management, research or coordination) but you’d also need to show your interest in humanitarian work and the mitigation of hunger.

Submitting a CV with the right template can help you better express your brand and story. CV templates that convey your values, passions, and aspirations will help you stand out. 

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Major red flags in a CV you need to avoid

Now that we’ve established the need for an effective CV, let’s look at common mistakes that can make you stand out for the wrong reasons. There are many ways to weaken your CV, but a good chunk of them can fall under larger categories. Here’s a list of adjectives that should not describe your CV:

  • Informal — Given the professional nature of job seeking, it’s expected that you maintain a tone of formality. Ensure that you proofread your CV and catch spelling and grammar errors. Aside from this, avoid using slang, contractions, and informal language throughout your CV. Familiarizing yourself with professional writing will go a long way and show employers that you’ve got a good eye for detail.

  • Inaccurate — This should be a no-brainer, but never lie or exaggerate details in CV writing. Recruiters know how to spot inaccuracies, so you should always exercise honesty. By lying from the get-go, you tell your employers that they should not put their trust in you. For extra precaution, make sure to review your CV to avoid any inaccuracies. 

  • Messy — From bad formatting to excessive information, it’s far too easy to end up letting your recruiters know that you do not exert enough effort. Use CV templates or online to organize your information seamlessly. More specifically, in your ‘Work Experience’ section, avoid long paragraphs by breaking your descriptions into concise but specific bullet points. 

  • Cliché — Employers no longer want to see words like “motivated,” “driven,” “hard-working,” and “detail-oriented”.  Thousands of applicants have used these words or similar in the past and continue to do so today. Avoid cliches by choosing adjectives that represent your past experiences and responsibilities. 

  • Vague ​​— Employers won’t be able to make much sense from generic descriptions. To avoid this, include specific projects you worked on, who you worked with, and specific tasks that are intrinsic to your roles. It is also wise to always demonstrate the impact you contributed by backing what you say with evidence that demonstrates what you’ve achieved.  

What you need to know about CV in 2021

Technology plays a large role in an online and remote job hunting setting. This is especially evident in the prevalence of the applicant tracking system or the ATS. The ATS expedites a hiring manager’s recruitment process by looking for certain keywords applicable to the needed positions.  

If these keywords are missing, the ATS eliminates your CV from the pile. Thus, to strengthen your CV and make it further through deliberations in the hiring process, go the extra mile to find your role’s desired keywords with CV template for the Development sector.

The tricky and definitive part of keywords is that your desired keywords will change depending on the organization and role. Specificity is key, and there’s no universal hack to win the ATS over. That said, here are the two places you should take a closer look at for keywords.

  1. Similar job postings – Scour employment-oriented sites like LinkedIn, Devcurate, Devex for descriptions of roles that are similar to the ones you’re applying for. Take note of the words and phrases repeated throughout these role descriptions and requirements.  For example, if you’re applying for a role in the social impact sector, it would be wise to include “development,” “advocacy,” “social innovation,” “fundraising,” and more.
  2. Organization website – Employers want potential employees who mesh well with their “fit,” which means that you and the employer should share some similar values and beliefs.  You can find the appropriate keywords by reading their “About Us” page, along with their vision, mission, and values, among other factors.

What can you do NOW?

Unsure if your CV is sector-approved? Fear not! If you’re eyeing a career in the social impact sector, you can craft the perfect CV through ImpactCV.  ImpactCV is a recruiter-approved CV builder for anyone interested in working with international, impact-driven organizations.

All things considered, your CV is your ticket to a job interview, so it  should show the best version of yourself through your passion and competency. Put your best foot forward and land your dream impact-driven career today! 

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