Résumé & Curriculum Vitae (CV)
for people looking to work in aid,
relief and development
Before you write me regarding my
curriculum vitae (CV) consulting services for people looking to work
in aid, relief and development, please consider the following FREE advice:
One client told me spelling and grammar didn't really matter on a CV, and
she was angry that I corrected such on her CV. I have seen the stack of
résumés on HR staff desks from applicants that will not be considered for a
position because of too many spelling and grammar mistakes. Hiring managers
feel that, if you don't care about spelling and grammar, perhaps you won't
care about other tasks - and they want someone who shows attention to
- Spell check your CV. There are no excuses for poor spelling. Every
word processing program there is - Microsoft Word, OpenOffice,
LibreOffice, whatever - will
underline all words that might be misspelled. Make absolutely sure your
CV has no misspellings.
- Make sure there are no grammar mistakes. Common ones I see in CVs:
- Misplaced commas
- A mix in using the Oxford comma (either use it throughout your CV,
or don't use it - but don't sometimes use it and sometimes not)
- Capital letters where they should not be, and no caps where they
should be. For instance, "I worked IN pakistan" should be "I worked in
Pakistan." Or "I worked as a Development Specialist" should be "I
worked as a development specialist."
- Mix of phrasing styles. I see one job starting with this
description: "I was responsible for..." and another starting with this
description: "Responsibilities included..." and still another with
"Responsibilities:..." Any of those is correct, but the same phrase
should be used EACH time
- Do not put your birthday, your marriage status, how many children you
have nor your religion on your CV. These are personal matters and are
become less and less acceptable by many employers.
- Do not include a photo unless you are specifically asked for such.
- Do not say if you have a disability. Do not say "I'm blind" or "I am
disabled" on your CV. Emphasize your abilities and expertise, not what
you cannot do.
Here is an example template of a CV to work
in aid / relief / development:
Your full name
Your mailing address or residential address
The city, state and country of your mailing address or residential
Your phone number
Your email address
Any web-based profile you have that showcases your expertise, such as on
Nationality or Passports held
Short statement of your expertise, such as:
I am a professional civil engineer with 10
years of experience contributing to projects in countries in Africa.
I have 15 years of experience working as a nurse in high poverty,
low-literacy areas of the USA.
I am a licensed midwife with many years of experience in both providing
services and training others, and can work in English, French and
I have recently completed my MSc in Development Management and have five
years of experience working in literacy-building programs in rural areas
I have recently completed my MSc in International Relations and have
five years of experience working in women's empowerment initiatives for
a nonprofit helping immigrant women and Planned Parenthood.
I wish to apply my 12 years of experience in the US Army, where I lead
numerous rural development projects, including those focused on building
simple sanitation systems and employing local people in Afghanistan, to
international development initiatives.
Do not say
vague statements that imply you have no expertise or skills, such as these:
I am an enthusiastic person that wants to
I have many years of project management experience.
I just graduated from university and want to work overseas.
Then list your professional experience, from most recent to oldest; you can
also mix in your volunteering experience, if you feel it is relevant -
what's important is what you did and what responsibilities you had and what
you accomplished, not whether or not you were paid or not:
Title or role at the
Name of the organization, city, state, country
Dates of employment/engagement
Description of duties, with an emphasis on responsibilities and
accomplishments. Note any research, data analysis, diverse work
environments, or projects you directed, managed, coordinated or
contributed to. Note experiences involving customer or client relations,
negotiations, outreach/communications, reporting, recruiting or
supervising others. Note if you worked in a low-infrastructure
environment or a post-conflict environment, if you worked with people
from diverse backgrounds, if you worked with low-literacy clients,
particularly-vulnerable populations (people with disabilities, elderly
people, teens, immigrants, ethnic or religious minorities, etc.)
Look at the descriptions of jobs you want to apply for. Look at the wording
they use. Could I find similar wording in your CV? For instance, if they job
says that the ideal candidate will have extensive experience maintaining
budget forecasts, do you have a statement about how you maintained budget
forecasts in at least one of the jobs you have listed on your CV? If the job
description says the person should have experience managing events, do you
have a statement about how you managed an event in at least one of the jobs
you have listed on your CV? If the job description says tasks will include
training people on how to use something or do something, do you have a
statement about how you trained people to use or do something in at least
one of the jobs you have listed on your CV?
After your work experience, list your education (although you can put your
education before your work experience, if you wish):
Title of degree
Name of education institution, city, state, country
Dates as a student, or, date of graduation
List any classes you took or projects or research you completed that you
believe might be of interest to a hiring organization
If you cannot list all of your work experience because you have to limit
your CV or résumé to only two or three pages, then list the experience
entirely in a profile on LinkedIn, and at the end of your résumé or CV,
For details about these
and other work experiences or
for details about
work experiences prior to 2003, please see my LinkedIn profile: xxwebaddressherexx
Before you write me about my CV consulting, please do all of the above
with your CV. Then look at this
page of free advice for working abroad. A lot of what is
page is what I have first advised people in previous
Please revise your CV first based on the above, as well as the
advice on this page, before contacting me about
my CV consulting service.
DISCLAIMER: With this advice comes no guarantee for a job whatsoever.
There are no magic words for a CV or cover letter that will assure you the
position you desire, and I don't promise such.
Read more about Jayne Cravens.
Virtual Volunteering Guidebook
for purchase as a paperback & an ebook from Energize,
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by Jayne Cravens, all rights reserved
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