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Do you need help with your CV?

People write their CV without little thought of the purpose. Most CVs are dull, poorly laid out, convey nothing of great value and don't match the person criteria.  A generic CV will not get you a job in today's competitive international development job market.

Is your CV getting you invited for a job interviews? If it's not, then simply, you are doing it wrong. Learn how to write a winning CV.

My new CV attracted 2 major interviews. EL - Kenya
I found the CV service to be great value for money. It enabled me to view my CV from a recruiter's perspective and showed me how to sell my skills specifically to the NGO sector. FS - Dubai
While working on my new CV I realised there was more to it than just listing all my jobs... thank you. JP

Why write a CV?

Simply, to get you a conversation with a recruiter (an interview). Your CV should convey in clear language that you are the person they are looking for.

A CV is not your life story - it's a sales document, so only tell them what is relevant. Don’t send a generic CV; each job requires you to highlight different experience and skills, so you need an individual CV for each application.

Even if the application is via an application form writing your CV will give you clarity on how you match the person spec and what expertise you can offer.


How do you start?

First, consider the purpose: What do they need to know? Then list your relevant experience. Look at what they are asking for in experience and skills.

To be called in for interview you must MATCH what they are looking for.



In the olden days jobs came through the 'old boys network' and today some still do, except we call it networking (and a network CV is one page).

Chronological CVs passively list employer, jobs and your responsibilities framed by date order. These are good to show career progression within a company or industry however the world has changed (most people don't have a job for life or work for only one company) and now the focus is to include achievements and verbs.

However, as most people will change career two or three times in their life chronological CVs are a thing of the past. Today, HR talk about skills and competencies and the best way to show these are thorough functional / targeted / skill based CVs.

A résumé is comparable to a CV in many countries, although in Canada and United States it is substantially different. A simple résumé is a summary typically limited to one or two pages highlighting only those experiences and credentials that the author considers most relevant to the desired position.

European format: Europass is an EU initiative to increase transparency of qualification and mobility for European citizens. It aims to be a Life Long Learning Portfolio of documents containing the descriptions of all learning achievements, official qualifications, work results, skills and competencies, acquired over time, along with the related documentation. The five Europass documents are the CV, Language Passport, Europass Mobility, Certificate supplement and Diploma supplement.

Certain International Development organisations such as USAID, the Wold Bank and the Asian Development Bank have their own CV or biodata format; many agencies have an online application process which replaces traditional CVs, however you will need a CV to prompt and enable to you to enter relevant information.

As the search for employment has become more electronic, CVs have followed suit. It's common for employers to only accept CVs electronically. The electronic CV has changed much about the way the information is written, read, and handled. Particularly attention has to be given to font and key words which are electronically searched.  Use nouns - online information is often scanned by computers to comb the text for words that indicate job titles, technical skills and levels of education or experience. Most of these words are nouns rather than verbs. Use buzzwords - they are the key to an online application. Computer screening systems often rank CVs by the number of buzzwords in them, so don't forget to include them.

Guerrilla CVs are one page, visual, hard selling and new.

And, there are video CVs, CVtips has helpful information

Whatever format you prefer to use, remember it needs to promote your skills in a relevant way to the audience.


Hard skills and soft skills

Hard skills are factual and match criteria, however to standout from the crowd you need to get some soft skills in to the information which often makes it more interesting to read and promotes your personality.

If you want to know how to write a winning CV, which style to use, what to include or not, then buy a CVCheck with me today.

"While working on my new CV I realised there was more to it than just listing all my jobs... thank you." JP


For more information from external sources see CV tips>

Kick start your International Development career with tailor made advice

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And they said...

Many thanks again for all your help in getting me this far! MH
Just to say thanks again for all your help and for looking at the CV and covering letter. The help was much needed and is much appreciated! PO
Your advice was absolutely perfect. I feel I have come on leaps and bounds now, thanks to you. SSB

Thanks for yesterday. It was definitely an eye-opener. ZH

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International development jobs, volunteering overseas and international development career advice for people in transition: new graduates, career changers and international development workers. Working with you in support of the Millennium Development Goals.