I can’t stress it enough; your CV is the most important tool in your job search. Getting it right is an art that anyone can learn. It is the first contact a prospective employer is going to have with you. Sadly, most job seekers do not pay enough attention to this and end up being part of the 90% that get screened out from the onset.
Hear me! Because of the ridiculously high rate of unemployment, most recruiters get an average of 70 to 150 CVs or more per vacancy advert. Typically, they spend less than 30 seconds deciding if they want to meet an applicant or not. Yes, you heard me! 30 seconds is the length of time you have to make an impression.
So how do you increase your chances of moving up to the next phase of the screening process? You do this by creating a CV that is difficult for the recruiter to ignore. How? Relax, ok? It’s not rocket science.
Before that, let me share some fundamentals with you:
- Your CV is a marketing tool. You are the product. It’s how you package what you’re selling that will determine if you get bought or not.
- When crafting CVs always think about recruitment from the employer’s side of the table. It’s not about why your product is irresistible; it’s about why the employer needs it.
- All jobs do not require the same CV. Have a master copy with all your information but customize your CV to suit the requirements of jobs you apply for.
- Your CV introduces you to a prospective employer in your absence and picks his interest enough to want to meet you. Your CV is meant to get you in the door, not to get you a job. Once you are in, it’s up to you to convince the employer to buy.
The structure of your CV is very important. What should go in? What should stay out? How detailed should you be? Should you omit information? Here’s how you should go about it:
Your CV should have a heading, your career objective, your education, work experience, interests and hobbies, and references. For more experienced applicants or outstanding job seekers with some accomplishment, you should also have a section for that.
The Heading: At the top of the page add your full names, physical address, telephone number and email address. This makes it easy for the recruiter to contact you without having to go through your CV.
In the Career Objective section, briefly describe the kind of work that you like to do, the kind of environment you want to work in, the skills you will bring to the table and what you hope to gain from the relationship. This section will help the recruiter ascertain if you’re a fit for the organization or not. Make sure Your Career Objective was developed by you. Imagine my shock when I advertised a position and got some CVs only to discover my Career Objective on the CV of someone I didn’t know…
If you are a recent graduate, I advice you create a Person Profile and Skills and Competencies section. This will help you showcase your personality and skills you possess. It provides a window into your values and personality and may be the clincher for a recruiter.
Next you should list your Educational Qualifications starting from the most recent, the schools you attended, where they are located, when you graduated and what you graduated with. If you’ve attended any relevant courses or trainings, also list them under this section.
Your Work Experience should detail places you’ve worked starting with the most recent. Mention the name of the organization, the city and state and how long you worked there. Under each job, list your title and then the tasks that you were assigned.
The Interests and Hobbies section gives an employer insight into the kind of things you like and your personality.
Finally, there’s the school of though that says provide References, people who can be called to vouch for your character and work ethics. There’s also the school that swears by references and would argue that it shows you’ve got nothing to hide. Whatever you do, if you decide to list references, keep them professional. Don’t go listing your girlfriend or boyfriend. If you break up and forget to take his or her name out…:D
Have a blessed week.