What every Humanitarian worker needs to know about their CV content

Your resume answers the question “Why are you the best person for the position advertised”

In the last blog, I gave you the 5 tips for writing that winning resume. As promised in this blog we will chat about content construction. Ensure that those two or three pages are packed with value-add information. This is the information that answers the question, “Why are you the best person for the position?”

Who am I?

The first things on your CV are

1. Your name

2. Contact information.

Remember this is your brand so ensure that you use your name consistently across all your career marketing documents i.e. your CV, LinkedIn profile, Facebook, etc. Social media branding is very important in today’s job search world. I will talk about this another time.

Your name should stand out. So, you want it to be bold. To achieve this, use a larger font than the body of the CV. A size 16 or 18 should do the job.

This may seem obvious, but I will say it anyway. Ensure that your contact information is correct “in the present”. You don’t want to miss that invitation to an interview because you forgot to update your email address. Or because you used your “home” phone number in Kenya when you are currently deployed in Bangladesh.

The headline tells the recruiter or hiring manager in a short statement who you are. Some examples are:

What should be in your content?

Professional Profile/Summary

Here you will write a brief summary of your experience, skills or value add. Begin by highlighting in a short 2-3 sentence paragraph or bullet points what you have to offer.

Areas of expertise/Skills

You will dig deep into what you are best at in this section. Point out 6 to 8 skills, focusing on the keywords in your particular area of work.

For instance, an Emergency Preparedness Expert would include:

  • Crisis Management
  • Program Development
  • Proposal Writing
  • Health Security Emergency Preparedness
  • Early Warning Systems
  • Emergency Risk Management

These are the things you want to indicate to show that you are aware of what the job entails and capable of meeting the job requirements.

Career Summary/ Experience

This section is where you should “show off” your experience and qualifications. Go back 10 years and use reverse chronology, starting with your current employment. It is important to highlight your accomplishments. Do not waste your time regurgitating your job description. DO this instead!

Spend some time for each position you have held answering the question “What is it that I am most proud of? Select about 5 accomplishments and describe them using the Situation- Action- Result model.

Below is an example taken from a former client’s resume. By quantifying the work and modifying the language, you add weight and context to the statement:

[Before] Managed in-country budgets.

[After] Oversaw in-country budgets (up to 4 million pounds annually) with current budgetary oversight of 15 million Euros in 3 countries in the West African region.

Education and Professional development

This is your opportunity to display that doctorate in Public Health or International Development.

Also, use this section to show that you didn’t learn in college but that you have been consistent in your professional development activities. Talk about how you attained that leadership certificate. Include that you are emergency preparedness ready, having attended the Humanitarian Emergency response training. Any other useful and relational qualifications should be included here, to demonstrate that you are the right fit for the job.

Professional Development

There is a lot that goes into writing that winning CV. I cannot go into it all in a single blog especially without going through an actual resume to build on the points. Things such as

  • Sentence structuring,
  • The use of action verbs,
  • Turning passive into active sentences

To round this up,

  1. Start with a bold introduction that includes your name and title. Use your up to date contact details
  2. Your professional profile should capture the bulk of your experience and skills at a bird’s eye view.
  3. Maximise on the use of keywords to demonstrate your experience and appreciation of the job requirements to show your areas of expertise
  4. Your career summary should be in reverse chronology and speak to the achievements you made during each assignment
  5. All your educational and professional development training especially outside of college to show your commitment towards self- improvement and consistency in your file.

Click here to download a customisable CV template and create your own CV now.

Should you have any questions, you can contact me on batje@humhr.org. I will be happy to answer your specific questions. The first 3 people to reach out will get a free CV review.

Author: Batje Chibafa, HumHr Managing Partner

Batje has over ten years’ experience in multi-cultural experience in Human Resources, implementing Organizational Development HR strategies across all facets of the HR function. Proven history of success implementing strategic improvements, creating productive business partners, and providing value to organizations. Demonstrated strength in evaluating processes and determining cost-effective solutions to increase efficiency and improve accuracy. Has excellent organizational development and facilitation skills with a passion for positive change.


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