Resume Tips for an Entry-Level NGO Green Job Applicant

Hello, again! This job search post will be formatted slightly differently than usual. Instead of detailing my job search experience over the last few weeks, I will provide an extensive comparison between my old resume and my completed resume in order to point out where I was falling short and how I have corrected my mistakes.

This is the resume I was using about two months ago:

While this resume landed me a canvassing position at the Fund for Public Interest, it is full of errors. Obvious immediate mistakes are that my objective section has a major grammatical error (I forgot the word “position” and therefore did not even make a complete sentence), the spacing gives it a slightly cluttered feel, and I misspelled the word “finished” in my work experience section.

I worked on those errors before showing it to Wendy, my career counselor from Evergreen, and then continued to email it back and forth with her until it reached near perfection. Before making a final revision for me, she gave me some tips:

  • Put my education on the top, and detail some academic projects I’ve taken part in. My job experience (mostly in kitchens) is not very relevant to my career goals, but my academic achievements are key.
  • Include computer skills, leadership accomplishments, and any other relevant information, keeping in mind that non-profits are looking for some different skill sets than other types of companies.
  • Use direct, concise language as opposed to weak or filler words.

Here is my current resume:

I made the following improvements:

Heading: I condensed the heading down to four lines to make room for more important information. I got a more professional email address that uses a variation of my name instead of my screen name from high school.

Objective: I removed the objective. There is some debate as to whether it is advantageous to include this section or not. I chose not to because the jobs I am seeking out tend to ask for a cover letter, which is a better space for me to include my objective. Also, removing my objective allowed me to make room for more important information about my academic career.

Education: I moved my education to the top of the resume and removed my high school information. I added three academic projects that I wasinvolved with that relate directly to my field.

Leadership: Instead of listing vague qualifications, I created a section for leadership skills including my volunteer initiatives, my leadership awards and my abilities learned from my work experience.

Work Experience: I added my current job and made my work experience a little more concise. I trimmed out unnecessary information- especially from my earlier jobs, which have little to do with my desired career path. I replaced weak words with words from the list of action verbs from Evergreen’s website.

Computer Skills: I added a brief section to inform potential employers about my basic computer capabilities  and my position writing for this website.

References: I said the same amount of information about references with one line instead of three.

I trust that these tips will come in handy to many people in my situation, whether they are looking for a job in the public or private sector. While much of this advice is fairly basic, every little tip adds up. At first glance, my new resume does not appear much different, but a second look shows it to be easier to read, full of much more useful information, and a powerful yet concise summary of who I am and what I can offer a non-profit.

Next entry will return to the usual format, and I will provide updates about my job search, which is now being conducted from Los Angeles.

3 thoughts on “Resume Tips for an Entry-Level NGO Green Job Applicant”

  1. Michael A. Weber

    You’re welcome! I am thinking of taking a suggestion from a previous commenter and compiling this series into one longer article. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I post an update every 2 weeks for my search for a green job.

    Check my other posts on this blog here for more advice on getting a job in an environmentally friendly sector.

  2. Thank you so much for this article. This is so helpful. I am a recent business graduate with a strong interest in this field. There is so few resources for entry-level resumes with little prior experience, this article should have some legs and travel all over the internet.

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