By Lilian Wamaitha
A CV is an elimination document.
As such you should take it as an opportunity to sell your skills and experiences to a potential employer.
Because part of the reason why you are yet to get a job or have any employer reach out to you is because your CV is not doing a great job.
I spoke to Ms Cynthia Wangeci, one of the recruiters at Corporate Staffing Services to shed light on just how important a CV is to your job search.
“People tend to reveal themselves in a CV. Without meeting you, I can already tell if you are the perfect fit for the role based on how you talk about your experiences,” she says.
“You can see which candidate appears more confident in their capabilities because rather than list job duties, they will go a step further and talk about their achievements,” she continues.
She says that, some individuals will feel the need to justify things like their lack of experience, gaps and age rather than downplay them. That way they end up drawing attention to these things and in the end will not be shortlisted.
Based on this, today I want us to look at what you can do to ensure that your CV is saying the right things about you every time you apply for a job.
1. Your contact details
This is the first thing that an employer sees about you.
Let your CV lead with your name and full contact details like an email and a phone number.
And it goes without saying that unprofessional email addresses like email@example.com may seem funny to you but the employer will not see it that way.
Always have a professional email that you use when applying for jobs and that you have access to.
Also, in the contact details section, you can also add a link to your LinkedIn profile if at all you are active on the platform.
2. The profile summary
After the contact details, the next thing the employer wants to see is how qualified you are for that particular job even without going to your work experience.
Your CV therefore should always have a career summary, which is a few sentences describing who you are, your skills, experiences, your fit for the role and your future ambitions.
When writing a profile summary, assume that you are explaining to a friend what you do for a living.
Let it communicate passion and enthusiasm for the role and the company you are applying to.
3. Your employment history
This shouldn’t just be a summary of your job description. Instead, under each job, highlight activities you were involved in that directly relate to the job you are applying for.
Include achievements as well in cases where you met and exceeded your set targets and the value you added to the organization.
And as much as possible, achievements only work if you quantify them. For instance, instead of saying “planned a large event” you could say something like “organized an event of 50,000 people within two weeks on a tight budget of Ksh 700,000.”
4. Your education background
Any job advertisement you come across be it on a newspaper or on online job sites, will hardly miss the field of study requirement, be it a degree, diploma or certificate marking the importance of the education details on your CV.
When writing your academic qualifications therefore, always start with the highest level of education attained, including your field of study, grades attained, the institution you obtained the qualifications from and also the years.
It is also important that you drop the primary school details on this section. It wouldn’t make any sense for a PhD or even degree holder for that matter to also include their primary school details on their education background.
5. Your key skills and competencies
“The job market has changed that as a recruiter, the skills you possess matter most than even your years of experience? Why? Skills are what you bring to a job and they are how you add value to the organization,” she says.
As job seekers, always have a skills and competencies section on your CV and let it be among the first things that an employer will see.
Start with hard skills (skills that relate to your job) for instance, if you are an accountant, some of the hard skills you could have on you CV are payroll processing, Tax returns and statutory deductions filing etc. You should have 5 or so hard skills and one or two soft skills like communications, customer service etc.
All the sections of your CV should be accorded the same importance but working on the above sections increases your chances of your job application going through to the next stage.
And if you really want to come up with a CV that will easily get you hired, you might consider having a professional do it for you by sending your current CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.