I have met a lot of people in my age group who, like me, had their first experience in the social impact space through Enactus. Enactus remains our most defining college experience and has contributed significantly in shaping our ideas, networks and personalities. Another common thread between students with an Enactus background is that we have invested a lot of time on it. Community visits, stakeholder meetings and even regular team meetings occupied most of the time spent outside the classroom. Naturally, when it comes to our first job interviews, our Enactus experience often draws great interest and becomes a significant talking point. I have observed that organizations (including traditionally for-profit firms, such as Bain, McKinsey and BCG) value Enactus experience; at least in my college, I have seen Enactus students bagging the best placements. Therefore, I believe it is critical that students know well how they want to talk about their Enactus experience in their CVs. In this article, I will try to put down my thoughts on this topic.
Before I share insights specific to Enactus, here are two general recommendations for writing a good CV:
Think from the recruiter’s perspective
Customize your CV as per the job description
Of course, there are more general Do’s and Don'ts for a good CV, but they are more mechanical (pertaining to the articulation, template design etc.) rather than strategic. You can find a comprehensive guide here. I will focus on the strategic part of building a CV, which is what will help you make your CV stand-out in a pool of other well-written CVs. (Please note that this is in no way a substitute for the comprehensive guide that I have hyperlinked. Refer to this along with the guide).
My key recommendations stem from one core insight: More than knowing about your accomplishments or your experiences, they are concerned with how well you can fit into a particular role and their organization
With this insight to guide you, you need to ask yourselves a few questions:
1. Why exactly should I mention Enactus in my CV?
Recruiters want to see a five main things in your CV:
Relevant skills (both technical and soft)
Ability to learn quickly and own work streams with minimal supervision
Strong commitment to work on at least one thing in recent years
Consistent performance - academically (in most cases) as well as in co-curriculars
Enactus ticks most, if not all these boxes for recruiters who hire undergraduate students. The determining factor then becomes how and in what order you want to convey them.
A good starting point would be to simply read the job description and the corresponding preferred skillset. If possible, talk to someone already working in that organization. (Impact Connect can connect you to a lot of such professionals).
Once this homework is done, reflect on the specific Enactus experiences that align with the role and highlight them. For instance, I found out from an employee that my current organization really values stakeholder management and an aptitude for problem solving. So, I highlighted these skills on my CV and peppered in my experiences with securing partnerships, strategy formulation for project implementation. Another reason why I mentioned Enactus is to show consistent performance. I wanted the recruiter to know that I was the Head Boy in the school and the President of Enactus in college.
2. Where should I mention Enactus in my CV?
While I will continue to include Enactus on my CV for at least some years, the bucket under which I categorize it will evolve with time and as I garner more work experience. For example, post undergraduation, Enactus was the first and the biggest section on my CV after my academic experience. It was the best way for me to highlight the skills that I had gained beyond the walls of my classroom. However, after working for a year, I gave that work experience more space and priority on my CV. The positioning and level of details evolved as my answer to the “why Enactus on my CV” changed. My skills were adequately covered through my work experience and I now wanted to highlight Enactus just to show consistent achievement and my interest in the field.
I understand that you will find it far easier to show Enactus experience on your CV if you are a position holder, as compared to a situation where you are not. However, this will not matter too much to the recruiters. Their whole objective is to see whether your CV covers the five listed things or not. So, even if you are not a position holder, you can think of specific experiences where you shouldered responsibility. Maybe you led a volunteer program or conducted a community training exercise or even managed a project’s social media handles. Matching these specific experiences with the skills that the recruiter is looking for will advance your chances as a strong candidate.
All that you need to do is to think of “why” you are mentioning a particular experience. Does each sentence on your CV cater to at least one of the listed five points? Does the narrative you have built comprehensively tick all the five boxes or do some boxes still remain empty? If the case is the latter, then you need to think more. Otherwise, you are good to go!
Here is a snapshot of Enactus experience as described in my CV:
“Led a team of 30 members” shows leadership skills
“Established marketing channels” shows my experience in strategy formulation
“Built capacities of 13 women” shows my experience in community engagement, which is relevant for my preferred jobs
“Secured collaborations with NGOs and international organizations” shows stakeholder management
“Organized the first ever exchange program” shows that I push the envelope and also add value to the organization that I am in
Observe how I have covered this in only two points.
While I believe I have covered enough for you to get started with your CV, here is another article that might further help you with the process. Take a look!
As a concluding thought, the one thing that you need to take away from this article is to think from the recruiter’s perspective. If you do that, you will know how to show any experience on your CV well. In case you want more help with your CV, you can reach out to me through Impact Connect.