In any given week, One Acre Fund’s recruitment team reviews anywhere between 500 and 1,000 job applications. We are very lucky to receive many strong applications from development professionals from all over the world, and we carefully read through every single one of them.
To keep things moving, our team must often make decisions about job applications in a relatively short period of time. We’ve developed a thorough system to ensure we make the best decisions possible. However, there are some things job applicants can do to help us make positive decisions on their applications.
In this piece, we share some of the most essential things you can do to increase your chances of getting an interview for a role with One Acre Fund.
Understand the Role
We encourage candidates to read the job description of a given role thoroughly, and think about how their skills would fit with the responsibilities they’d quickly take on. When we see a mismatch between a candidate’s experience and the role they’ve applied for, it raises a red flag. When a candidate can point to the skills and professional experiences that make them great for the role they’ve applied for, this greatly increases the odds that their application will move forward. For example, a strong candidate for the Human Resources Lead role would not only demonstrate that they have the necessary HR background; they would also show how their past experiences have prepared them for key responsibilities of the role such as department management, HR competency management, and reporting.
Do The Research
In addition to demonstrating a clear understanding about the role they’re applying for, strong candidates also make it a point to be knowledgeable about One Acre Fund’s unique approach to development. They'll know One Acre Fund’s history, mission, core values, and model, and clearly demonstrate this knowledge in their cover letter, and by asking thoughtful questions during any interviews. One Acre Fund’s blog, Insights Library, and website are all great places to learn more about our work. Exceptional candidates take a step further, even reaching out to current One Acre Fund staffers via LinkedIn to learn more about us. This kind of initiative goes a long way in preparing candidates for a successful interview process.
Keep Your CV Short and To-The-Point
Very often, candidates demonstrate strong work experience on their CV, but fail to give details about their specific responsibilities. Other candidates present extremely long CVs in a format that’s difficult to digest. There are many recommendations for how to write a strong CV, but below we’ve listed a few best practices we recommend following:
- Keep your CV to one to two pages long. Include your address, previous roles held (including location), major skills, educational information, and any special accreditations and awards.
- When listing roles, begin with your current role and list previous ones chronologically.
- Under each role, include a maximum of two to three bullets on major responsibilities and – even more importantly – the key accomplishments you achieved.
- Where relevant, use clear metrics to quantify accomplishments in your previous roles (e.g. “I brought in 18 new clients over 12 months, surpassing my target of 10 new clients,” or “I secured a $3 million grant to fund our new initiative.”)
Make Your Cover Letter Compelling and Creative
We are passionate about serving farmers, and we want to hire talented people who share our passion! The cover letter (or statement of interest) is your opportunity to make a case for why you should receive an interview with us. Strong candidates use the cover letter to show that they share our passion for putting Farmers First, and to illustrate exactly how their skills and experiences are a match for the specific role they are applying for. Don’t fall into the trap of “wasting” your cover letter by repeating information that recruiters can easily deduce from your CV. Instead, use it as an opportunity to creatively communicate how you can add real value for the farmers we serve.
Remember, It's All In The Details
We are fortunate enough to receive a ton of great candidates each week, so the odds are stacked against any application that has glaring errors. Before submitting your application, do a thorough check to make sure that you do not have any basic grammar or typographical errors. Excellent written communication and attention to detail are both critical skills for many of our positions, so we want to see that candidates took the time to review their work and submit solid, polished application materials.
Incorporating these five tips into your application will substantially increase your chances of making it past our CV review. However, it’s possible for you to check all the boxes and still not receive an invitation to interview. Don’t be discouraged! Often, it’s because we don’t feel your skills are the strongest match for an open role at the time, and we want you to pursue more relevant experience before you can join us. We advise declined candidates to wait at least 1.5 to 3 years before reapplying, as that is reasonably how long it takes to muster additional experience.