When applying for a job at an NGO, you want to make sure your CV and cover letter are up to par. Here’s how to create the perfect ones.
First things first: what is an NGO?
An NGO, or non-governmental organisation, is “a nonprofit organisation that is usually neither a part of a government nor a business.” Sounds pretty broad, right? That’s because NGOs can take on many different forms, from charities and development organisations, to human rights groups and environmental protection agencies.
No matter what type of NGO you’re applying to work for, they’ll all be looking for similar things in your CV and cover letter. They’ll want to see evidence of your passion for their cause, as well as your skills and experience that make you the perfect candidate for the job.
Here are 10 tips on how to create a CV and cover letter that will land you the NGO job of your dreams:
- Start with a strong opening.
Just like any good story, your CV and cover letter need to have a strong opening. Make sure to hook the reader in from the very first sentence. For your CV, this could be an overview of your professional experience and skills. For your cover letter, you could briefly explain why you’re the perfect candidate for the job.
- Keep it relevant.
When tailoring your CV and cover letter for an NGO job, make sure to only include information that is relevant to the position you’re applying for. There’s no need to include every single detail of your work history – just focus on the parts that are most relevant to the NGO you’re applying to.
- Highlight your passion for the cause.
NGOs are looking for employees who are passionate about their cause. So, make sure to highlight any previous experience you have working with a similar organization or causes. If you don’t have any direct experience, you can still demonstrate your passion by writing about why you want to work for the NGO and what you hope to accomplish.
- Focus on your skills and experience.
While it’s important to show your passion for the NGO’s cause, they’ll also be looking at your skills and experience to see if you’re a good fit for the job. Be sure to highlight any relevant skills and experience in your CV and cover letter. For example, if you’re applying for a job in fundraising, make sure to mention any previous experience you have in fundraising or sales.
- Use strong language.
When writing your CV and cover letter, use strong, persuasive language. This is your opportunity to really sell yourself and your skills, so don’t be afraid to boast a little bit. However, make sure not to overdo it – you still want to come across as humble and likable.
- Be concise.
Remember that your CV and cover letter are just an introduction to who you are and what you can do. They’re not meant to be your entire life story, so try to be as concise as possible. Stick to the most important information and leave out anything that’s not directly relevant to the job.
Before you hit send on your application, make sure to proofread your CV and cover letter for any spelling or grammar errors. These small mistakes can reflect poorly on your application, so it’s important to take the time to fix them.
- Follow the instructions.
Be sure to read through the job listing carefully and follow any specific instructions for submitting your application. For example, some NGOs may require you to submit a cover letter and CV as one document, while others may want them submitted separately. Make sure you follow these instructions to avoid having your application disqualified.
- Include additional materials.
If the NGO you’re applying to requests additional materials, be sure to include them with your application. These could include things like writing samples or letters of recommendation. Including these materials shows that you’re willing to go the extra mile to get the job.
- Send a thank-you email.
After you submit your application, follow up with a thank-you email to the person who accepted it. This is another opportunity to demonstrate your interest in the job and NGO. In your email, be sure to restate your interest in the position and mention anything else you think they should know about you. Following these tips will help you create a strong CV and cover letter that will increase your chances of landing the NGO job of your dreams!
4 Example cover letters for a communications internship at an NGO
I am writing in regards to the communications internship at your NGO that I saw advertised online. I am immensely passionate about social justice and equality, and would love to help promote your organisation’s important work through effective communications.
I have experience in various forms of writing, including academic essays, blog posts, and social media content. I am also experienced in graphic design and video editing. I am confident that I could use my skills to produce high-quality content that would help raise awareness of your cause and engage potential supporters. During my previous work experiences, I managed to increase social media engagement by 49% through the use of creative content and engaging visuals.
In addition to being an excellent communicator, I am also highly organised and efficient. I am confident that I could manage your organisation’s social media accounts effectively, as well as assist with any other communications tasks that need to be completed.
I believe that I would be an asset to your organisation, and I am eager to use my skills to help promote your important work. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Dear hiring manager,
I am writing in regards to the communications internship at your NGO. I am confident that I would be a valuable asset to your organisation and would like to offer my services.
As a recent graduate of communications, I have a strong understanding of the various channels of communication and how to utilise them effectively. My written and verbal skills are excellent, as is my ability to build relationships with different stakeholders. In addition, I am highly organised and can work well under pressure.
I believe that my skills and attributes would make me an ideal candidate for the role and I would relish the opportunity to put my knowledge into practice in a real-world setting. Please find attached my CV for your perusal.
I would be grateful if you could contact me to discuss the possibility of an internship at your organisation. Thank you for your time and consideration.
I am writing to apply for the communications internship at XYZ NGO. I am a recent graduate of ABC University and have a degree in communications. I am passionate about using my skills to help others and have experience working in the nonprofit sector.
I believe that I would be an excellent addition to your team and would be able to contribute to your organisation in a meaningful way. I am hardworking and motivated, and I am confident that I can make a positive impact during my time as an intern at XYZ NGO.
Thank you for your consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you.
To Whom it May Concern,
I am writing to apply for the Communications internship at ABC NGO. I am a recent graduate of XYZ University where I studied communications and media studies.
I am passionate about using my skills to support organisations that make a difference in the world. I believe that ABC NGO is making a positive impact on global issues and I would be honoured to contribute to your work as an intern.
As part of my degree, I have gained experience in social media, copywriting, and event planning. I am confident that I can use my skills to support the communications work of your organisation.
I am excited to learn more about global communications and to contribute to the important work of ABC NGO
These are just 4 short cover letter examples to give you an idea of what yours could look like. These examples are not exhaustive, so feel free to add other relevant information if you think it would strengthen your application. You should remember to mention concrete examples of your skills and experience in your cover letter.
When applying for an NGO job, it’s important to create a strong CV and cover letter that will make you stand out from the competition. Be sure to tailor your application materials to the specific job you’re applying for and focus on your skills and experience that are relevant to the role. Additionally, use strong language throughout your application and proofread carefully for any mistakes. Finally, don’t forget to follow any specific instructions for submitting your application and include any additional materials that may be requested. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to landing the NGO job of your dreams!
Minoas graduated with a Merit upon studying the full-time MPA Public Administration – International Development degree (MPA-ID) at the University of York. He is currently working as a freelance EU affairs consultant in Belgium.
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