Getting ahead of the competition to secure that lucrative job in the aid sector that you really want is the primary goal when submitting a resume for a job vacancy but you will never immediately be offered the job. Your CV must firstly be shortlisted which means it will be selected from a large pool of resumes submitted by other candidates for the role. Making it onto a recruiter’s shortlist is proof of a strong, well-written, and tailored CV. It is also considered essential to achieving a successful career in the aid sector as it will give you confidence when meeting donors at the interview stage.
As an expert or consultant working in the aid sector, you can develop and prepare your CV for a particular job opening by yourself or you can reach out to professional organizations such as DevelopmentAid that can generate, tailor, and broadcast your CV with exceptional style.
In this article, we will review the main points that should be paid attention to by consultants and experts who want to have their CV shortlisted.
What can a consultant do to make it onto a CV shortlist?
We find it useful to highlight the different aspects of the entire process that lie behind the scenes of tenders and calls for proposals, covering both effective job sourcing and applications. Being aware of the whole picture will be of practical use to experts when preparing their CVs so we have created a detailed roadmap that we hope will be useful in reaching the ultimate goal, the CV shortlist!
Discipline #1: Monitor professional job boards
First things first! We advise that you make sure you remain up to date with projects that are within the areas of your expertise and this can be done by actively monitoring professional job boards. This should be done daily, or at least on a weekly basis, in order not to miss important openings. Professional recruiters recommend using DevelopmentAid as it has the largest number of jobs available with new openings being posted every day by a highly qualified data entry team. Furthermore, by becoming a Professional Member you gain access to an even greater range of tools to help you to improve the process of monitoring assignments. You will therefore be able to not only access more jobs but also tailor and upload your CV onto the platform, have access to the CV broadcast service and subscribe to a customizable job alert newsletter.
Tailoring your CV represents a huge step towards landing your dream job. An alternative way of monitoring potential assignments would be via LinkedIn by subscribing to the pages of relevant consulting companies and recruiters that you have previously worked with.
Discipline #2: Expand your professional network
True professionals are always aware of the competition. This means following and interacting with other field experts, disregarding the competitive aspect, as this leads to more opportunities. For example, an interesting opening or vacancy might appear from someone among your network connections directly or indirectly when colleagues and rivals share or comment on social networks.
Occasionally, experienced consultants are recommended by their colleagues who are not available for the assignments themselves. Sometimes they may mention the name of their fellow colleague and even ensure that recruiters include that person’s name on the shortlist (if the references are strong).
Discipline #3: Keep your profile information up-to-date
This is an axiom in the recruitment business: experienced professionals care about their public profiles. This applies to all the professional platforms that are dedicated to the job search process and it is crucial to ensure that your profile can be found by recruiters looking for candidates in your area of expertise.
Remember – there is no need to create and maintain 10 to 15 accounts on specialized job platforms because it is difficult to keep updating your CV on them all. Focus on the most relevant platforms for your region/sector and keep the information as accurate and comprehensive as possible.
Discipline #4: Share your general CV with consulting companies
Sometimes experts are contracted by consultant companies that have won major tenders. In this situation, it helps to make sure that you have shared your CV with selected consulting companies yourself. They will browse through their own databases when the need for a particular profile appears. This may happen even before the consulting firm is shortlisted for a specific tender.
Discipline #5: Analyse the profile requirements
Before you apply for a role, it is important to thoroughly analyse the requirements of the project to ascertain if you meet the minimum criteria. One of the most common mistakes made by experts is to apply to any available opportunity on the job board, even those for which they do not have experience or where they cannot meet certain nationality, location or gender requirements.
Discipline # 6: Always have a well-tailored format CV in the correct format to hand
A CV that effectively outlines a consultant’s experience is essential. Keep in mind the keywords relevant to the posting and make sure to add these to the CV and highlight their relevance to your past professional experience. It will also save time if you have your resume readily available in various donor-specific formats.
Discipline #7: Prepare work certificates and recommendation letters and include references in the CV
This can be useful for consultants in international development projects, both long- and short-term initiatives, that are funded by the European Union. This was previously a requirement for longer-term technical assistance projects but has now become expected from consultants who submit their CV for shorter term projects too. For instance, among the conditions of a recent request for proposals for framework contracts SIEA FWC 2018, it was stated that the winning candidate must be able to share work certificates for all the projects mentioned in their CV.
Don’t forget to add the names and contact information for references which should ideally relate to each project experience mentioned in the CV. This is a necessity for the majority of donor-funded projects.
Can experts with little experience make in onto CV shortlists for major projects?
There are instances when a project does not require specific experience with a donor so, if the expert meets the remainder of the requirements of the profile, there is a good chance that they will be considered for the role. For junior experts, professional recruiters advise trying to win a position as a non-key expert for development cooperation projects funded by the donor which would be a great start!
To get your name on the restricted list of those candidates selected from of a myriad of applicants, you need to be proactive because the competition will always be very high. Following the seven disciplines above will increase your chances of being invited to an interview.
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