Whether your degree is in charity, fundraising, marketing or something completely unrelated, the following advice will show you how to structure your CV and angle your skills in the most effective way, helping you secure your first job in fundraising.
Relevant skills and experience
Submitting a generic CV to every application is fruitless as it won’t show off your relevant skills in enough detail.
Therefore, a bespoke CV is a must.
To tailor your CV to a fundraising role, go through some entry-level job descriptions you like the look of and pull relevant keywords and phrases. Also, take note of the skills required that match your own as you need to directly reference them in your CV. This is to show your prospective employer you’re a match for the role.
The correct structure
Once you’ve got a handle on the skills and experience you need to reference, it’s time to structure your CV. Make sure each section is marked with a clear heading (apart from your name and contact details), and utilise bullet points to keep the information easy-to-read.
Name and contact details
Your name should sit confidently at the top of your CV. You may even want to slot your graduate status under your name, for example: "Marketing and communications graduate".
At the top of your CV, you also need to list your phone number(s), email address, location (town and county will be fine, no need for a full address) and a link to your LinkedIn profile. If you haven’t set up a LinkedIn profile, we strongly recommend you do. A job in fundraising often requires networking, so you want to be as visible as possible.
Next up is your personal profile. As daunting as this section may seem, it’s quite simple to write. Just write a few lines about who you are, what you can bring to the organisation and your career aims.
While a CV profile isn’t always necessary, it’s extremely beneficial if you’re a graduate as it presents the chance to specifically outline the job you’re looking for. If you already have an established career in fundraising, for example, there’s less need for a profile, since the job title says it all.
Your education section will most likely come next since you’re looking for an entry-level role. Here, list your schooling in reverse-chronological order, from your degree to GCSEs.
Your degree should take prime focus. Detail relevant projects, classes and skills in line with the keywords and skills you pulled from the job description earlier. This will help show why you’re suitable for the role.
Depending how much room you have, you might like to summarise your college, high school or secondary school education in a few lines. For example:
College name – yyyy – yyyy
3 A levels, grades A-C
School name – yyyy – yyyy
10 GCSEs, grades A*-C (including A in English, B in Maths)
Remember that certain grades in maths and English GCSEs are often required. Therefore, while you’re summarising, you still need to include the essentials.
If you’re lucky enough to have had a few jobs here and there while studying, be sure to list them in your employment history. Much like your education though, you must tailor your experience as much as you can to the position you’re applying for.
If you have volunteered or have completed an internship or work placement, do list your professional experience in this section, too. You may feel more comfortable tweaking the title to "Placements and projects" instead. As ever though, keep it targeted to the job you’re going for.
Concluding your CV
Your CV should fit into two pages or less. If it’s spilling over, try chopping and tweaking a few lines, reducing the margins or shrinking the body text font to size 10. If your CV’s a little short of the quota, try adding in a "Hobbies and interests" section, but make sure your hobbies add value to your CV, rather than unimportant, uninteresting fluff. Then, you could sign off your CV with the line "References available on request" if there is space.
TopCV offers a range of CV-writing services including expertly-written and keyword-optimised CVs, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles. It is currently offering a free CV review to help you land your perfect job in the third sector.