How to write a policy advisor CV (with template and example)

Updated 13 April 2023

Whether the government, a non-profit organisation or the commercial sector employs them, policy advisors are crucial to analysing, reporting and formulating policies. When you apply for a role such as this, it's important to make a good first impression with your CV, so presenting the content appealingly and logically is imperative. Understanding how to package your CV may help you get an interview. In this article, we explain what a policy advisor CV is, discuss what policy advisors do and share steps, a template and an example to guide you in crafting your CV.

What is a policy advisor CV?

A policy advisor CV is a document a job candidate sends to a potential employer stating their suitability for an open position. Typically, a CV accompanies a cover letter and other job application documents, such as academic certificates and reference letters. Drafting a compelling CV is important for job searching. Include a summary of your experience and aspirations and a list of relevant work experience, certifications and key skills to impress the hiring manager.

What does a policy advisor do?

A policy advisor is an expert who evaluates policies' practical and operational elements in fields such as the government or a firm. Policy advisors typically possess in-depth knowledge of the legal foundations of policymaking and the industry in which they specialise. This knowledge enables them to offer suggestions regarding current policies and investigate ways to improve or change them. In this role, policy advisors assess a policy's effectiveness or pinpoint any problems and can use their expertise to persuade company or political leaders to implement reforms.

Policymaking is critical in every organisation. Policies enable public or private organisations to adopt specific strategies and control operations, ensuring everyone adheres to established standards and regulations. Typically, policy advisors work in government departments, such as the environment, education, health and immigration. They also work in commercial organisations, developing internal and external policies. These professionals may also work alongside policy analysts to study, design and execute new policies. In this role, they conduct in-depth research on several options for fixing prevailing policy inadequacies.

Related: The ultimate guide to CV basics (with example)

How to write a CV for a policy advisor role

The following steps describe how to write a CV for a policy advisor role:

1. Review the job description

Different organisations have their own descriptions of this role. For instance, a government agency might seek a candidate with previous experience in public policy, which might differ from a commercial organisation. Studying the job description is important before deciding whether to apply.

You can learn what qualifications the employer is seeking in applicants by reading the job posting. You can choose whether the role is right for you based on the employer's requirements.

2. Identify and include relevant keywords

An applicant tracking system (ATS) may inspect your CV for specific keywords when you apply for this position. This software searches for the position's associated words to see if your skills, experience and other attributes match the employer's specifications. The ATS may exclude you from the application pool if your CV lacks enough relevant keywords. Including applicable keywords in all sections of your CV to improve your chances of getting an interview. Typical keywords for a policy advisor role might include:

  • policy analysis

  • public policy

  • politics

  • government

  • legislation

  • government relations

  • strategic communications

  • legislative relations

  • strategic planning

  • community outreach

  • non-profit organisations

Read more: 90 of the best CV buzzwords to make your CV stand out

3. Choose a CV format

After determining if the position suits you, the next step is to choose the CV format. You can pick from various CV formats depending on your experience level, whether you're changing careers or the post for which you're applying. The three main CV formats you can use include the following:

  • Reverse chronological: You can use the reverse-chronological format if you have previous experience and are applying within the same industry. This format lists your experience and education first, starting with the most recent.

  • Functional format: This format is most suitable if you lack work experience or are changing careers. A functional CV format emphasises your education and transferable skills.

  • Hybrid format: The hybrid format can be ideal for you if you have experience, are changing careers or are just getting started. The hybrid format combines your experience, skills and accomplishments in a double-column structure, allowing reviewers to assess your suitability holistically.

Read more: What is CV design? (With 13 designs to inspire you)

4. Write the CV header

Start drafting your CV with the header containing your name, job title and contact details. To make your name stand out from the rest of the document, write it in a slightly larger font. Include your phone number and email address in your contact information. You may also show a link to your social network page if you want the reviewer to learn more about you.

5. Include a professional summary

Including a summary paragraph on your CV can be an excellent opportunity to explain your skills and experience to hiring managers. A summary statement includes information about who you are, what you do, your greatest attribute or ability and what you hope to accomplish in the future. It can be one or two sentences long. This information can help paint a clearer picture of your qualifications and show how your experience and skills might suit the policy advisor position you're pursuing.

6. Show your work experience

In the experience section, inform the potential employer about your work experience so they can understand how it relates to the position you're applying for. It's a good idea to highlight between three and five previous roles in your CV, even if you have a lot of experience. Show your employment title, your employer's name and the duration of your employment with them.

List your primary responsibilities and achievements for each role. Use figures to show how your contribution has been beneficial to previous employers. To make this section simpler to read, use bullet points and white space between every role.

Related: What is a visual CV? (Plus tools to create one)

7. List your educational background

In this section, highlight your education. If you have qualifications, show the best, which in most cases will be the most recent. Include the name of the school and your graduation year. If you don't have work experience, you can give the recruiter your last course grade and the results of relevant course units to assist them in determining whether you're qualified for the job.

Also, you can include any relevant certification you may have earned. Certifications may add more weight to your application by showing your passion for the job and a commitment to continuous improvement.

Related: How to show a promotion on your CV (with examples)

8. Illustrate your skills

To effectively perform your duties as a policy advisor, having a combination of soft and technical skills is typically helpful. Technical skills can include knowledge of various software applications, case management programs, policy research, social media communication and presenting tools. Soft skills, such as interpersonal, analytical, problem-solving and critical thinking, can be invaluable for policy advisors. Include a mix of these skills to impress the hiring manager.

Related: Guide: what type of paper should a CV be printed on?

Policy advisor CV template

Consider using the following template to craft a CV for the policy advisor role:

[First name] [Last name]
[Phone number] | [Email address] | [Location]

Professional summary
[Two to three sentences that highlight years of experience, relevant skills, education or certifications and achievements as a professional.]

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]
[Company Name] | [Location]

  • (Strong verb) + what you did (more detail) + reason, outcome or quantified results.

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

[Job Title] | [Employment dates]
[Company Name] | [Location]

  • (Strong verb) + what you did (more detail) + reason, outcome or quantified results.

  • [Job duty]

  • [Job duty]

[Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill] | [Skill]

[Degree] | [Name of school or university]

Read more: A guide on how to make a CV template (with types and tips)

Policy advisor example CV

Consider reviewing the following example to help you craft a CV for the role:

John Gentleman
+44 555 555 555 | | London

Professional summary
Ambitious professional with excellent communication, interpersonal and research skills. Designs innovative solutions to multiple sectors such as health, education and immigration. Proficient in policy database solutions, data analytics and presentation. Looking to leverage my experience with your reputable policy consulting firm.

Senior Policy Advisor | August 2019–Current
I & G Associates | London

  • lead internal subcommittees on policy development

  • represent the company CEO in the nation's largest health policy lobby group

  • serve as an advocacy lead for the nation's medical device manufacturers

  • manage communication teams for diverse companies involved in health research

  • coordinate legislative messaging with the mainstream and social media

Policy Advisor | September 2017–July 2018
Jumbo Industries | London

  • drafted company policies to guide internal operations

  • studied and advised on the emerging regulatory frameworks in manufacturing

  • drafted the company's climate change mitigation white paper

Computer | Research | Data analysis | Critical thinking | Communication

BA (Hons) in Policy Studies | London University

Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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