Wednesday
January 22
2014

Frederica Marques

Matching Your (Potential) Impact with Employers: Building a CV and cover letter on the edge

Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of articles from edge, a multi-pronged talent development initiative for university students and recent graduates that aims to add value for businesses that serve the BoP. Check out the first post here.

If you are interested in building a career in the field of Impact Business gaining work experience is key. Imagine you have found the perfect job for you in this space: Now, what will you do to ensure you put forward the best application possible? We have gathered some tips that will add the ‘edge’ to your application.

If you are interested in building a career in the field of Impact Business gaining work experience is key. Imagine you have found the perfect job for you in this space: Now, what will you do to ensure you put forward the best application possible? We have gathered some tips that will add the ‘edge’ to your application.

Make sure the following points are highlighted in your CV and cover letter:

  • Understanding/experience in emerging markets, particularly the one in which the prospective employer operates
  • Understanding/experience with impact business
  • A skillset that matches the job description you are applying for and the start-up environment
  • Strong leadership experience

Let’s dig deeper and tell you a bit more about the points listed above.

Let’s look at the first point Understanding/experience in emerging markets, particularly the one in which the prospective employer operates.” Impact business is a growing need in emerging markets, and like any business segment, you need to show you can truly contribute. You should demonstrate an understanding of the challenges faced in the emerging market you hope to work in, as well as cultural sensitivity to its reality. The would-be employer also needs to understand your motivation to work in this market and your ability to transfer knowledge between different realities. You should research specifics of the base of the pyramid of that market and how the business you are applying to is looking to support low income people in that specific market.

That leads to point two: How would you show “Understanding/experience with impact business”? Impact business refers to entrepreneurial initiatives that seek to provide products and/or services for low income people. Your application should reflect your understanding and excitement for the business model and the sector (e.g. health, education, housing, etc.) and express your long-term career aspirations. You should demonstrate an understanding of the field and also about the start-up environment overall. Not only that, but you should show an understanding about the business model and its sector, and match your skills to it. The person who reads your application needs to be convinced by your vision, and ultimately be able to visualize your motivation and impact.

Of all these points, the most worth your focus might be number three: “Skillset that matches the job description you are applying for and the start-up environment”, We recommend you to talk to people who work in the field to understand the work environment. Working in impact business often means working in a start-up environment. You should be able to highlight skills that will help you thrive in that environment, such as being entrepreneurial and having a business mindset, being innovative, flexible, and able to multi-task and show business acumen. Never forget to relate your skills to those mentioned in the job description – do so by using past examples in relevant positions of responsibility. Show the ‘edge’ in your profile by showing how you can bring results fast – stand out.

Finally, don’t forget to show off your “strong leadership experience”. Highlighting your leadership experience is an excellent way to position your skills and potential in the field of impact business. Besides spotlighting your skills, make sure you include specific leadership experiences with a relevant outcome for the impact business field. Rather than focusing on job titles make sure you put across your experience and results, as well as your personality and your ability to support the CEO on a daily basis. This will help the employer understand your fit within the business and the market.

These tips build on the standard CV and Cover Letter writing tips. We hope it explains how to add an edge to your application. Good luck!

Frederica Marques is the Global Coordinator at edge.

Categories
Education, Entrepreneurship
Tags
Career development, jobs, social enterprise