By Perminus Wainaina
Writing a CV is hard work and there are no shortcuts. The most important thing to remember when you are writing this document is that this is your advert or which tells the recruiter or hiring manager that you are suitable for the job. With this in mind let me look at a few common problems I often come across when readers write to me to critique their CVs.
1. Writing Curriculum Vitae as the heading of your CV. I find this on very many CVs that we look at. The meaning of Curriculum Vitae is loosely defined as a summary of your qualifications. You should always put your name at the top of the document.
2. Unnecessary information under Personal Details. Some of the CVs we look at have had information which reads;
Marital Status: Married with 3 children.
The information required here is only your marital status. Single or Married is the correct response.
This information does not need to be stated on the CV. If you are a foreigner applying directly to companies for a job you may indicate this.
Languages: Fluent in English, Kiswahili
There is no need to write Kiswahili and English as they are the national languages of Kenya. If the job requires for you to be able to communicate in a specific language then follow the instructions on the job advert and tailor you information accordingly.
ID Number: 2000000X.
Putting your national ID, Drivers License or Passport number is unnecessary on the CV. Employers who need this will ask you to attach the necessary document.s
Place of Birth: Nyeri, Kenya.
In general CV this information is not necessary.
3. Career Objective: I am hardworking, honest, and a fast learner. I wish to work in an organization that is allows me to use these skills and is growing….
In the career objective information you should not talk about your personal qualities. The purpose of a CV is to secure you a job. Therefore it should reflect your education/ training, your work experience and the skills that you can contribute to the new position. It should also state what job/area you are looking for.
4. Personal Profile: I am hardworking, honest, and a fast learner. Enjoys teamwork.
Remember the purpose of your CV is to allow others to evaluate your ability to do the job information therefore should be business related.
5. Consistency. All items in your CV should be written in a similar fashion. For instance, if you start some job descriptions with a verb, then all job description should be started with a verb.
6. Currency: Most of us learn computer packages in school or institutions. Once we master the basics we pick up on new versions of the program once they are released without requiring additional training.
I once saw a CV of a HR Officer that stated she had learnt “Word Perfect and MS DOS. I was rather shocked and it is only when I spoke to her that I realized she was currently working with Windows 7 and the new MS Office Suite programs including MS Word. In this circumstance it is better to put MS Office without the year as mentioning the year could be misleading.
7. Credibility. School of Human Resources Development, Human Resource, Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture 2007-2011
Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education, Alliance Boys, 2005-2002
This looks OK, right? Not necessarily, if you leave out your grade for the certificates you earned the recruiter or hiring manager will automatically assume it was bad. Also if you neglect to mention what you accomplished during the three years you participated in a particular club, recruiter or hiring manager may end up thinking that only showed up for meetings.
8. Readability: Use a font size that is easy to read, especially when giving print outs of your CV. If the font size is too small it can frustrate the recruiter or hiring manager.
If you do want to have a lot of information on the CV pick out key facts and place them on your CV in short statements. The smallest font size that you may use is 12 pt.Also, keep your CV single spaced and bulleted an ensure it does not exceed 4 pages
9. Using capital letters throughout the entire CV: General rules of using capital letters should be used; you may capitalize names of people, places, titles such as Doctor and subjects learned.
10. Accuracy: Get your facts and grammar right. Make sure the dates, contacts, names, titles of the people you mention in your CV are correct.
The writer is Recruitment Manager at Corporate Staffing Services. Visit Website: www.corporatestaffing.co.ke