By Lilian Wamaitha
Are you writing your CV and wondering if you are including too much or leaving out important information?
Just what is allowed to include in this official document on what should you leave out?
It can be stressful trying to come up with the perfect document that sells you to any employer without too much of a hustle.
And it all starts with what I am seeing first as an employer when I open that document.
Personal information is your first opportunity to introduce yourself to a potential employer and is important on a CV as long as it directly pertains to the job or provides information an employer needs to contact you.
According to Rebecca Nyawira, a Professional CV Writer at Corporate Staffing Services, though this section is not what will guarantee you a job, hence the reason why most people don’t pay much attention to it, the information you include can be used for or against you.
What then should you include and what should you leave out?
1. Your name
This is the most important part of this section as it helps identify you among the other candidates that are applying for a similar job. However, you do not have to add your middle name as it is not really necessary.
The order in which your name appears will usually depend on the company preference and sometimes (when it has not been specified) you can pick the order in which they appear yourself. You may want to put in mind that the official way of writing the names is surname first.
2. Marital Status
You don’t have to include details about your marital status or information about whether you have a family or not. However, if you think your status will make your application become more attractive, then by all means go ahead and include it.
For instance, there are high end positions like General Manager, Managing Directors, that may warrant one to be married and so including such information will give you the edge you need to get an interview call.
If again the hiring company has specified that they prefer a married person (though this is rare), you may want to consider indicating it on your CV to give you an edge over the other applicants.
In some cases, indicating that you are married makes the employer consider you ‘stable’ as opposed to a single person.
Before making the decision to include this information, you have to consider factors like the nature of the job, the company that is hiring and the job description (some will actually indicate their preference).
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3. Date of birth
I see this in a lot of CVs, but it is not mandatory. No employer will force you to reveal your age unless you are willing to divulge the information yourself.
However, in rare cases where the employer is looking to hire from a certain age range, he/she will request to know what your age is.
As with all personal information, make sure to weigh the pros and cons of sharing your age before you decide that it is free information to give.
In very rare cases, this may be used to discriminate candidates and so you should not share this information on all your job applications.
In certain positions, especially when recruiting is done nationally, you may be required to disclose nationally, especially when the position is for national candidates only.
5. Contact details
This is a very important part of the personal information section as it directs a potential employer on how to get in touch with you. In this case, you want to make sure that you give the right information because any small mistake, can make you miss out on a job opportunity.
It is always advisable to include back-up numbers of reliable people who can be reached in a case where you are unavailable.
Apart from making sure you do not miss out on any opportunity, this will also show a potential employer that you are reliable and responsible.
6. The word Curriculum Vitae or CV
Think about that CV that you use and the first thing you have included. It’s probably the word Curriculum Vitae or CV in maybe font 24 because you believe it will be more clear that way.
“When an employer asks you to send in an application, they already know that you will either send your CV accompanied by a cover letter or just the CV alone. You CV will never be confused with a title deed or a log book,” she says.
Including the word curriculum vitae is just a waste of space and it will not get you shortlisted for the job.
Just go directly to the position and give employers something that has to do with your qualifications for the job or a way they can contact you.
7. Other information
This is where you input all the other information that you think will add value to your application. For example, if the JD states that to have an added advantage you need to speak an extra language, you can mention all the languages that you speak.
Remember that it is not necessary to include this section. You can leave it out, especially if the information you will add adds no value whatsoever to your job application.
A well written CV is key to getting that dream job. In case of any difficulties, why not let a professional to do the heavy lifting for you?
Lilian is a Communication Officer at Career Point Kenya. If you have any career related queries, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.