Here at CANADEM, we are always striving to increase the marketability and appeal of our registrants. As part of this effort, we have introduced two major changes to our on-line registrant portal: You can now update your own professional summary and elections profile. Please take a few minutes to read through these guidelines as they contain important information on style, structure, and content.
Guidelines for Writing Professional Summaries
A Professional Summary is a short paragraph that provides a snapshot of your work experience. We use them to help our clients get a quick overview of the registrants whose applications we forward. We also search within them for keywords when we do candidate searches. Since they might be the only thing that recruiters read, it’s important that they are succinct but detailed enough to express all the important information about your work history. Generally, they should be written with these rules in mind:
- Between 80 – 150 words
- Written in an elliptical style (i.e. like a newspaper headlines)
- Written in the “third” person (i.e. don’t use “I”)
- Use abbreviations wherever possible (i.e. always use 12 instead of ‘twelve’, BA instead of Bachelor of Arts)
- Academic credentials are always contained within brackets
- Semi-colons are used to separate work experiences
- Sentence fragments are permitted to increase brevity as long as they don’t undermine general coherence and readability
Every professional summary should contain the following components in this order
- An occupational title or titles (i.e. lawyer, police officer, policy adviser etc.)
- Academic credentials (i.e. MA International Affairs, BA)
- Current experience
- International experience
- Domestic experience
- Important miscellaneous information (i.e. electoral observation missions, unique volunteer work, etc.)
Here are some examples
Civil engineer (MSc Engineering, BSc) with extensive international experience, especially in Africa; has worked as consultant for the last ten years advising on the construction of water and sanitation infrastructure to governments, NGOs, and firms (Mali, Burkina Faso, Senegal, Sierra Leone, in Honduras, Ethiopia, Mozambique, South Africa); previously held progressively responsible positions with private construction company in Britain (1985-2000).
Governance Expert (LLM Humanitarian Law, LLB, BA) with 30 years of experience in the areas of parliamentary reform, election technical assistance, and evaluation; career highlights include: team leader for an evaluation mission regarding the assistance provided by the Association of Canadian Parliamentarians the government of Uganda (2001); designed and delivered courses on political party development for Afghan public officials (2003); played lead role in organizing first Afghan elections, including establishment of polling stations and information campaign.
International Development Expert (Ph. D. Anthropology, MA Political Economy, BA) with rich theoretical understanding of gender and development; has consulted extensively in Venezuela and Pakistan where she conducted research on gender, identity, and development issues for IGOs (OCHA), high-profile NGOs (Oxfam, GOAL), private firms, and doctoral studies (2005-2010); has been with Brookings Institute since 2001 in progressively responsible positions: currently Senior Program Specialist overseeing projects for Middle East and South Asia, previously Team Leader for Peacebuilding in Reconstruction Program, and Senior Gender Specialist; has done gender and security training for American Refugee Committee and was adjunct professor of development studies at Johns Hopkins University (1999-2002).
Guidelines for Writing Electoral Profiles
CANADEM implements all election observation missions on behalf of the Canadian government (CIDA). To facilitate the recruitment and selection of election observers, we use electoral profiles. Electoral profiles provide a brief overview of your work in international or domestic elections (i.e. as an election observer, polling clerk etc.). If you don’t have any elections experience, please leave this field blank.
Every Electoral Profile should contain the following information in this order
- Year (yyyy)
They should be written with these rules in mind
- Use a forward slash (“/”) to separate position, country, organization, and year.
- Use semi-colons (“;”) to separate experience
- Use abbreviations wherever possible, especially long-term observer (LTO) and short-term observer (STO)
- Experience should be listed in reverse chronological order, from most recent to least recent
- Include any other relevant elections related experience at the end, especially administration, supervision, logistics, technical assistance, training of local electoral staff, civic education, and any specialized elections training. Try to describe it in a format above; if this is impossible, just write it in point form or prose.
Here are some examples of completed electoral profiles
STO/ Ukraine/Ukrainian Canadian Congress/2004; LTO/Burundi/EU/2003; STO/Tajikistan/CANADEM/2003 ; Returning Officer/Canada/2000/Elections Ontario/1999.
LTO/ Georgia/ OSCE/ 2003; STO/ Guyana/ Carter Center/ 2001; STO/ Cambodia/ UNDP/ 1993; Senior Advisor/ Paraguay/ IFES/ 1999
Support to National Governance Program as civic education specialist/Mozambique/UNDP/2001-2003; Electoral advisor for Technical Assistance to Municipal Elections/Guinea/NDI/1999; Consultant regarding voter education program to reach minorities and women/Kosovo/OSCE/1996; International Election Monitoring Institute 2-day Training on International Election Observation/Ottawa/IEMI2006