Many candidates have missed out on a great job because of poorly presented CV. Some candidate got in not because they had the required skills but because they had a great CV.
The power of a well-prepared CV cannot be overemphasized. You could lose a job you are more than qualified for because you have a shabbily prepared CV.
A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a detailed documentation of your academic course work, researches, your work history and experience. It is a timeline of your life.
It is important to know that in most countries, the terms CV and resume are not interchangeable. A resume is a summary of your academic work and your work experience as opposed to a CV which contains more details.
Why your CV needs to be top-notch.
In over 90% of recruitment cases, recruiters have no clue who the candidate is. Your CV is like a first handshake or first impression. It is your CV that says “Hello, I am …” Trying to make a great first impression takes much work when it is happening Face-to-face. Imagine making a first impression on paper. You are not there to use your charm and wits to make a great first impression. All you have to rely on is a document. You will want that document to speak volumes.
The truth is that it does not matter how qualified you are; you will not make it through the CV sorting stage if you do not sell yourself on paper. Pay attention to your CV. Work on it or get professional help to work on it. Make it presentable.
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CV writing Dos and Don’ts.
When writing your CV, there are some laid down rules, and there are some not laid down rules. The bottom line is that your CV is impeccable and speaks volume of you.
Dos of CV writing.
· Make your contact visible.
Your contact email, address and phone number should be visible. Do not squeeze your contact details into a corner where the recruiter will have to spend time looking for it. Keep it visible and central.
· Keep it short but detailed
Yes, a CV is a comprehensive document, but honestly, few recruiters want to spend time reading over three pages of CV. Long CVs are only good for Academic purposes. Keep your CV short but detailed. Include all the necessary information you need to sell yourself. Two pages are enough. Be specific with the job roles you have held and your contributions to the organization.
· Keep it formal
Your CV should carry your professional email address, not one that looks like “email@example.com” Remember you want to give the recruiter a professional image, so keep everything formal. Avoid using informal languages and stick to fewer words if you are not sure how you sound.
Follow orders; maintain formatting.
Use professional fonts and keep the font uniformed all through your CV. Arrange your CV in chronological order. Work experience goes from recent experience to the earliest. The same thing applies to your academic qualifications. Always begin with the most recent.
Follow the CV format of
i. Personal details
ii. Personal statement
iv. Work history
Use a personal statement to highlight your skills.
This is a better option instead of using cliché buzz words. Your statement should contain how you have applied your skills in your experiences.
Tailor your CV to the role you are applying for
Do not have a one CV fits all. Always work on your CV before submitting it. Ensure it is appropriately tailored to suit the job role you are going for.
Get an extra set of eyes
Have someone go through your CV to look for spelling errors and wrong sentences.
Don’ts’ of CV writing.
• Whatever you do, do not lie!
The fact that your CV should sell you does not mean you should embellish the truth. Whatever cannot be verified should not find its way to your CV. Be honest on your CV.
• Avoid unnecessary information
Keep your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and snap chat IDs away from your CV. Also your age, marital status, religious beliefs and race should not be part of your CV.
It is not necessary to put the reason why you left your previous employment. Save that for the interview. Only put the required information on your CV.
• Stay clear of clichés
“I am a good team player….” “I am competent…” “Excellent leadership skills…” These are buzz words. The recruiter has probably seen thousands of those words for the day. Instead, summarize your skill in a personal statement using your work experience. Let your skills speak to your achievements.
· Avoid explanations.
Do not explain gaps in your work history or problems from your previous job. There is not enough space and it is as good as shooting yourself in the leg.
· Do not sugarcoat or use fluff.
This is different from using strong words to present yourself appropriately. Fluff is adding way more than necessary to your CV in a bid to make it look good. While it might not be lying, it is exaggerative.
· Never hand type or write your CV
Even if you do not have a PC, find a public computer and type your CV on it. Do not use a manual typewriter or even use your hand. No matter how neat your handwriting is. It is a bad presentation.
· Avoid using “big grammars”.
Using big words or jargons does not make you sound professional on paper. All it might do is give the person reading your CV headache. Keep it simple.
· Keep all negative story out of your CV
Like the jargons, no one wants to read sob stories on a professional CV. Avoid including negative life experiences on your CV. Your personal life and statistics have no place in your professional CV.
Remember: only the things that prove your competency for the job should be on your CV. Put the necessary details, polish them up and