Your resume or curriculum vitae (CV) can be considered as your key job search marketing tool that will, or will not sell you to a potential employer. It is the tool that if configured right, bears the potential to unlock for you the interview doors to coveted employers where you might just land that dream job.
This is the reason why it is important for you to know how to write a good CV that stands out and gets noticed in the wilderness of job hunting competition.
So, here are the things you need to do, in an orderly fashion, to arrange a good CV.
How to Start Your CV
You don’t need to give your resume the “CV” title. The employer or recruiter already knows what it is. Come on, what else can it be? You are trying to apply for a job!
Your Personal Details
So instead of the title, begin your CV construction with your personal details.
Write your name, date of birth, home address, telephone and nationality and your professional looking email address. See example below
Name: John Dude
Date of Birth: August 11, 1983
Address: 00100 – 23453 Nairobi – Kings Road
Telephone: 0723 777766
Note: You can use subheadings for each section, as shown in the examples.
Your Education and Qualifications
It is important to organize this segment in a chronological order. Indicate your most recent education first.
Note that your potential employer is likely to be more interested in your college and university qualifications rather than your achievements at school unless if it a graduate entry job.
However, keep in mind that you can still include your achievements during your school years, it’s just that they are not usually the top priority.
Remember to include the dates you took your education, the name of university or school you were in, and the degree or grades you achieved.
If you have not graduated from university yet, you can write the degree you are expecting to achieve. It won’t do no harm to indicate when you will be graduating then.
See example below:
1995 – 1998
ABC University, Mombasa
BA in Informatics Engineering
1992 – 1995
Jubile High School
Your Work Experience
This is a key segment that has the full attention of the recruiting employer.
The interview invitation and subsequent employment decision is to a larger extent pegged to this segment.
The more relevant your work experience is to the role in question, the higher your chances of being part of that particular organization.
Remember to include the dates you were employed, your job title, and your employer’s name.
If you had an opportunity to work in another country, then mention. This could be the game changer especially when looking for a candidate with international exposure to diverse cultures.
As a fresh graduate, you may not have the requisite work experience for obvious reasons. Do not be desperate and avoid the temptation of lying. In such instances, employers will most likely base their decision on your internship beside your academic performance.
The credibility or rather the job market perception of your college might have an invisible influence here.
Here are also a few things you can do to improve your chances even more:
- Know where to target your CV; carefully look over the requirements of the job you are applying for. Whenever possible, in your resume or CV, mention your skills that are relevant with the job you are applying for.
- Be ready to prove your claims; be honest. If you cannot really do something, refrain from saying that you can do it. Do not mention skills that you don’t have.
- Reveal your contributions and achievements; Rather than just listing the roles played, demonstrate the success you have achieved, if any, in your previous jobs.
- Whenever possible, provide measurable information. For example, it is better to say, “established a talent management program that that resulted in 35% increase in the organizations’ annual staff retention.”
See the example below:
1995 – 1998
Oleader Café, Thika Town
Assistant Bar Manager
I supervised 5 staff members and created promotional events that increased company’s profits by 20% during my employment period in the company.
For certain job positions such as professors, physicians, or researchers, it is wise to include specialist experience. For an example, professors may provide information such as ‘Foreign Lecturing’, ‘Teaching Experience’, ‘Lectures and Presentations’, and so forth.
Here is an example:
1998 – 1999
Overseas University, XYZ Country
I was in charge of giving lectures on the subjects of ‘Information Technology Project Management’, ‘Software Engineering’, and ‘Engineering Economics’.
Activities/Interests/Positions of Responsibility
Here you need to write about your activities, interests, or positions of responsibility. Keep in mind that it is important to reveal activities you were once involved in.
This will tell potential employers that you are a well-rounded individual and that you have motivations to do things.
In addition to that, it is also a good idea to reveal your positions of responsibility in extra-curricular activities you once joined. For example, if you were once involved significantly in a Student Union, say you were the chairman of the organization, you should say that as it might cause potential employers to consider accepting you more.
However, make sure that you do not simply write a list of your interests. Instead, make sure that you reveal how you were involved and what achievements you had gained.
See example below:
POSITIONS OF RESPONSIBILITY
1996 – 1998
ABC University, ABC Town
Chairman of Human Resource Student Union
I was in charge of training, organizing and also motivating the Human Resources students and achieved the predicate ‘Recommendable Chairman of Human Resources Student Union’.
Lastly, you can put some additional information about yourself as well; you could mention the languages you know here – especially the foreign ones. Include your proficiency level for each of the languages you know.
Besides languages, you can also write other skills you have that you have not mentioned yet anywhere else in your resume or CV. For example, you can include your driver’s license and IT skills.
In case of IT skills, you need to reveal what applications or software packages you are familiar with and how good you are at each of them.
Also, if you have any certificates, such as First Aid training, list them here.
Then, if you once attended any seminars, workshops, or conferences that are somehow relevant to the job you are applying for, include them here. Don’t forget to write the conference names, dates, places and also organizers.
See example below:
English – Proficient
Chinese – Proficient
Microsoft Visual Basic – Proficient
Microsoft Office Package – Proficient
Adobe Photoshop – Proficient
Last but not least, you can write down people who can refer you to your new potential employers.
Make sure that you consult your referees to be allowed to list them.Mention more than one referee with one being from your most recent organization.
However, if you run out of spaces in your CV, you can simply write “References available on request” instead.
Also read>>>5 Key Things Employers Want to See in Your CV
Other useful CV Tips
Besides the tips above, you could also consider the following to add a punch to your CV
Minimize your details to not more than 2 pages since employers do not usually have the time to go through them all.
Secondly, always use a good quality piece of paper to type your CV on.
Keep in your mind as well that prefacing your CV with a somehow descriptive statement of yourself is not really a good idea.
Another tip is to use page numbers on your CV. This might seem to be minor details but they might impress your potential employers.
Now that you know how to write and arrange a good CV or resume, you can start submitting your CV to companies and see what chances await you.
All the best in your job hunting.