• Doing Good
Career Advice

Nonprofit CVs: What you need to know

By Julienne Gage22 June 2009

Applications for jobs in the nonprofit sector should strike that fine balance between business smarts and passion for a cause. Photo by: Antoine Remise

So you want to change the world by working for a non-governmental organization and you can’t exactly say you’ve ever been a “Sandalista,” or a Birkenstock-clad activist who spent college summers on reality tours to developing nations in solidarity with the poor and oppressed?

Is there any way to make your resume more “nonprofit-ish”? How do you show how your skills relate to important global causes and that you have the personality to segue from a corporate or government job?

In general, employers look for a clean, concise resume that highlights related job skills and is not so jam-packed with text that it loses the reader in the first 10 seconds. Nonprofit-style resumes need to strike that fine balance between business smarts and passion for a cause, and convey that in under two pages.

“You need to pack a punch with what you say because a lot of people that are reading your resume are doing so in addition to their other jobs,” said Margaret Christoph, senior administrative associate for policy and communications at InterAction, a coalition of 175 U.S.-based non-governmental organizations focusing on eradicating poverty worldwide.

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About the author

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Julienne Gage

As a freelance journalist and broadcast news producer based in Miami and Washington, Julienne contributes regularly to Devex. Her graduate studies in anthropology and journalism included research on youth development in Latin America and immigration in Spain.


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