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By Lilian Wamaitha
Recruiters receive on average 250 applications for a single job advert.
Based on this, it’s important that your CV is up to par, because if you are not selling yourself best believe the other candidate is.
Remember that the recruiter does not know you. They have no idea if you have what it takes to do the job.
All they have to go with is what you have indicated on your CV.
Keeping that in mind, if your CV is missing any of the following, you need to do something about it;
1. You are missing a skills section
Long gone are the days when employers used to hire based on your education qualifications. Gone are the days when having a degree was taken to mean something. Hell, even a masters degree doesn’t account for anything much nowadays.
These are just papers and not necessarily a testament of how well you can do a job or how well you can fit into a certain company culture.
Today employers hired based on your skills.
You pick up skills along the way as you grow your experience. These are competencies related to your job and not cliché skills like team player, organizational skills etc.
But how do you list skills? Indicating just communication skills or organizational skills on your CV is not enough. In fact, you will not be winning any gold medals with such a section. You need you back up those skills with what you have done in the past.
For instance, I am in digital marketing and one of the skills I would list is Search Engine Optimization because that is one of the competencies I have picked up over the few years I have been working. And how would I go about demonstrating that on my CV?
Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Well versed in creating content that is SEO friendly by using relevant keywords and content management tools to optimize content that will increase traffic to a website to turn visitors into customers.”
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2. You haven’t mastered the art of humble bragging
The whole point of a CV is to actually sell yourself to an employer. This means talking about your skills and achievement in a way that doesn’t sound like bragging.
If you are having a problem talking about what you have accomplished and will be taking to the job if given a chance, it means that you are underselling yourself.
A career summary exists for this reason. It is where you talk about your past experiences that are related to the role you are applying for, your aspirations for the future and why you are looking for that particular job.
When writing your career summary, assume that you are explaining to your friend what you do for a living.
And as such, a good career summary would look something like;
‘A dedicated Accounting Professional with a Bachelors degree in accounting option from XYZ University. I have gained knowledge in preparing financial reports, accounting and financial management standards, preparing accurate and timely reports and general ledger operations. I am seeking an internship with a well respected firm where my accounting knowledge will be utilized. I am committed to developing my career path as an Accountant and to expand on my work experience.’
3. You have only listed responsibilities without achievements
When an employer is hiring, they are looking for someone who can demonstrate that they can execute the job and fit in the company.
They are looking for someone who can take up the role and run with it and not someone they have to train all over again.
When writing your CV, your work experience should not look like a job description. Job descriptions exist to guide you on what roles you will be taking but what have you done above that?
Are you the kind of person who never takes initiative to go beyond their call of duty?
Do you just do what is expected of you without going an extra mile? It’s not what a recruiter is looking for.
In as much as you are listing your responsibilities, accompany them with achievements that you can verify.
For instance if you were a sales person, you can list as one of your achievement a time you increased your sales by maybe 10% in just six months if at all that happened.
Never list an achievement that never happened or that you cannot verify.
4. You forget to accompany your CV with a cover letter
I know just how annoying it is to write a cover letter for every job you are applying for. If it were up to me, I wish that employers would just ask for a CV and that’s it.
But that’s not how the world works most of the time and we both know it. Most of the jobs you see advertised require you to send in a CV and cover letter.
The reason employers ask for a cover letter is to gauge if you are the right fit for the job. It’s where you explain your past experiences, accomplishments and skills you have acquired and how they will play a hand in executing your duties when given the new role.
For that reason a cover letter should not be a duplicate of what is in your CV. A hiring manger will go through the cover letter first before they even go through your CV.
Therefore, unless the job specifies that you send a CV only, never fail to write a cover letter for every job you are applying for. [ How To Write A Cover Letter That Recruiters Will Actually Read ]
5. You fail to proof read
Sloppiness is one of the biggest mistakes job seekers are making when writing a CV. Nobody wants to hire a sloppy person. In today’s day and age, there are so many options that you can use to ensure that your CV is free of grammatical errors and typos.
“I come across so much misuse of words such as your/you’re and incorrect spellings such as “finnce”, “manged” and many others, which speak a lot about the kind of candidate the person is,” says Cynthia Wangeci, Recruitment Manager at Corporate Staffing Services.
Take time and review your CV or better still give a friend or family member to help review it so as to ensure it’s free of grammatical errors and typos.
It’s your turn now
At the end of the day, you want to be taken seriously by the hiring manager. Take time to review your CV before sending it. Before you send in your CV for a job, always ensure that it is selling you and not the opposite. Always think about the reader before your send in your CV.
For help writing a CV that can get you the job at the word go, contact a professional CV writer today. Let your CV be the marketing guru for your brand
The writer is a Communication Officer at Corporate Staffing Services? For queries, email me at lilian@corporatestaffing.co.ke or cvwriting@corporatestaffing.co.ke