CV Advice

Preparing a quality CV that providers the reader with the essentials they need to put your CV on the right pile is crucial and you have just a minute or two of reading time to achieve this. Remember many third sector organisations and charities use recruitment agencies that may not always know your particular sector as well as the charity you are applying to, so keep your CV succinct and jargon free.

The CV should not be longer than three pages and ideally two. Remember less is more in a CV. The key is making sure you put down your achievements and skills early on so at a glance the reader will know you fit the basic job specification. Your life story is certainly not required nor is in depth details about your past jobs. If you look interesting on paper they will ask you to elaborate at the interview.

CV Advice – Format

Getting the format right is vital. You must make it easy to read so white space and lots of paragraphs with bullet points is the way to go. Choose a clear font like Arial and highlight in bold key data. For example, if you are a fundraiser, make sure you list your achievements and don’t exaggerate. If you are heading for a CEO position list how you helped grow your current department or organisation and what the outcomes have been. What a recruiter wants to see is that you have made a difference to your current organisation whatever that role is that you are doing.

Does it make sense?

Progression up the ladder is not everyone’s ambition and sometimes it makes perfect sense to take a sideways move, but make sure whatever the reason you are moving on from your current employer, it makes sense, is logical and the recruiter gets it!  For example if you are a director of a department and you now want to head for the top the recruiter will see this as a natural progression for you. But you may be a department head now but you want to move into a completely new area. In that case you have to make it clear why you are doing this and what the benefits will be to the organisation you are applying to in an area that you have little experience in. In other words what are your transferable skills. If you leave a question mark at this stage you have already created doubt in the recruiters mind.

Tailor your CV to the organisation you are applying to

Every CV you prepare has to be tailored to the role and the organisation you are applying to with the most applicable skills you have highlighted so the recruiter can see at a glance how this makes sense for you and for the organisation. It also shows you have done your homework.

Gaps in your CV

If you have any gaps in your CV explain why. Maybe you took a year out travelling, or simply wanted to take a career break. It’s fine, but explain why you did it and the benefits it has brought to you and how that can benefit your professional work.

CV Advice – Our top tips for writing the perfect third sector job CV

  • Keep it under three pages and ideally two
  • Keep it jargon free with no acronyms (unless explained)
  • List your achievements at the top
  • Tailor your CV to the role and organisation you are applying to
  • Make sure you have a LinkedIn account and it is focused on your sector
  • Use a clear font like Arial
  • Bullet point key data
  • Do not exaggerate your achievements
  • Do not include your facebook account
  • Qualifications are important but experience counts for more so leave out your GCSEs unless you are new to the market place
  • List your interests but don’t go overboard. Remember you need time to work!

CV Advice

We can advise you on your CV for free. Please forward it in confidence to Mia Hughes at 

Remember you can upload your CV to our site helping employers find you.

CV Advice – writing for Not for Profits