Why should you have NGO experience in your CV?

Updated: Jun 29

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.

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