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Why should you have NGO experience in your CV?

Updated: Nov 16, 2020

Whether it is an application for a B-school or job, it is often suggested to have NGO experience in your CV. But, why is that the case? Here's a demystifying post to share the rationale behind the same.

The first thing you need to understand is the format of a CV. The first column of a CV consists of buckets. Buckets are like umbrellas, they comprise of all the points that are related to each other. For example, if you played 2-3 kinds of sports, all of them will come under a bucket called 'Sports'. If you were an avid quizzer, all your achievements related to quizzing will come under a bucket called 'Quizzing'.

Following these lines, NGO experience comes under the bucket called 'Social'. Some other activities that come under the social bucket are:

  1. Volunteer Experience - If you volunteered for any social activity organized around you, that can be a part of this bucket. For example, a drive to donate clothes to the poor can be an example.

  2. Social Event Coordination - If there was a social event organized as a part of your college/office and you were a part of the organization committee, it can come here. For example, Enactus events.

  3. Internship in a Help Group - If there's a group for blood donation and you're a member of the group or you have interned there, you can put it in this bucket.

  4. Assistance in CSR Activity - If you're employed by a company and have contributed in the CSR initiatives of the firm, you can write them in this bucket.

  5. Teaching/Training Help - If you've voluntarily taught or trained others, especially from economically backward families, it can be a part of the social bucket.

Why are these experiences valued?

Companies and B-schools look for candidates who have diverse profiles. Diversity comes from the variety of activities a candidate indulges himself/herself into. The reason diversity helps is that it enables the candidate to think from multiple perspectives. As a manager/employee, when tasked with a situation, you'll be more likely to come up with a comprehensive solution if you were a person involved in multiple activities.

More specifically, social experiences tone down the financial perspective of a candidate and help his/her thought structure to include another perspective that takes care of socially disadvantaged stakeholders. In a B-school, we are taught how many companies failed as a result of not understanding the social angle of their activities. The Vedanta Case is a classical example recorded in the history.

From selection point-of-view, NGO or any other social experience increases your chances of hiring by adding another dimension (bucket) to your CV. The more versatile the buckets, the higher the likelihood of selection.


You may also like:

  1. How important are extra-curricular achievements to get into B-schools?

  2. How to justify gap years in B-school interviews?

  3. What is one supposed to do in a sales & marketing internship?

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