Treat Your CV As A Marketing Document
No offense! But I think it’s really amusing to see how careless people get when applying for Jobs. I once worked in a Human Resources Department and as part of my job, I get to review thousands of CV’s alongside my boss during our recruitment process. I could literally feel the dis-contempt on her face while reviewing them, because it seems like over 60% of graduates out there are not good with writing CV’s (well…may be in Nigeria…I’m not too sure). But, why should it be? Your CV/Résumé is a marketing tool and you should be able to sell yourself in the best possible way to employers. You only get one chance to make a good first impression, ensure you do it well.
Start with a powerful lead statement
Always start with a powerful lead statement on your professional or executive summary that is captivating and usually involving an action word. For example, “Dedicated Customer Service Representative able to maintain customer satisfaction and contribute to company’s success.” “Reliable and result driven, with strong time management and prioritization abilities.”
Focus on Relevance
Try to focus more on your abilities and strengths. Show your outstanding accomplishments and things you have achieved. Tell how you can contribute to the company if hired, what major problems you are capable of solving, and the potentials you have that could be of a valuable help to them, etc. I still remember how this point contributed so much in helping me land my first Internship job right after school.
It was a big organization and poor me, I was just a fresh graduate and to think that they already had another candidate who they thought fit for the position got me so nervous. All I remember doing aside dropping my CV was telling them how much of a relevance I could be to them if I’m hired. And though they didn’t give me an answer right then, they asked me to come back a few days later, unknown to me it was an interview.
I can’t remember answering all the questions put to me perfectly well but I do remember towards the end of it all, I capitalized more on my strengths and they were amazed. When asked, if I had any question for them, I said yes (using that moment to my advantage). At the end, they had to create a position for me since they couldn’t send their special candidate away.
So, sometimes it’s not really about the length of your CV or what you didn’t get right or wrong, it’s about highlighting some of your major skills and capitalizing on them in line with what the recruiters want. This saves the recruiter so much trouble and stops him/her from getting bored or just skimming through your document.
Try to keep your paragraphs short, simple, and precise unless you are applying to be an executive or a director somewhere. Avoid unnecessary details and long stories. If you have more to say, create a bullet list and make sure you highlight specific details that are needed as well as important to the job you are applying for. For many recruiters, if they don’t see the requirements and skills as placed on the job advert being made for the position you are applying for on your CV, they don’t even think and look twice. It’s a no from them. Ensure that everything listed on your CV correlates to the job you are applying for.
Keep it organized and visually appealing
I mean to say, keep your CV properly laid out, rearranged, organized, customized, easy to read and properly formatted. Use headings and subheads to segment and introduce an information. Make sure the colors, texts, boxes, shadings, tables, images and paragraphs are consistent with one other. By doing this, you make your work stand out from the crowd and help the recruiter save time.
Content is King
You will agree with me that if all the other 5 points mentioned earlier are in place but no content to back it up, then it’s just like pouring water into a basket. I recently constructed a CV for someone and it was a bit tough for me because she had no working experience of whatsoever. I had to sit down with her for hours, trying to draw and bring out all that she is capable of doing. At a point she got tired and wanted us to forget about it because she felt she wasn’t good at anything but NO! This is something I love doing and it’s also part of my Job as a Content Creator – we have the ability to create anything from nothing to something. And that was exactly what happened! By the time we finished, she couldn’t believe all that was in there (and no we didn’t fake it). It was real!
Summary of it all is that, each and every one of us have something deep inside of us that is capable of launching us to where we ought to be but sometimes these things are left untapped, unused, and unharnessed for certain reasons or simply because we fail to look deeper than what we see ourselves as. We all have what it takes to succeed but it’s left for you and I to discover and develop it to yield great results in life.
Do’s And Dont’s Of A Really Good CV
- Don’t abbreviate words
- Don’t make typo’s (Avoid spelling and grammar error’s)
- Don’t include hobbies, languages and interests such as “best food” “best movie” “favorite books”, etc.
- Don’t say “reference available on request” – sight references, at least two or simply don’t put anything
- Don’t forget to add computer skills such as Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel – it’s a major requirement for employers these days
- Do break up texts with bullet points instead of lumping them all in one place
- Do make use of “Summary” instead of “Objectives”
- Do make your contact information very visible so hiring managers can reach you easily
- Do watch your tenses – manage your past and present tense correctly
- Do include work history with dates and places you worked and the year – starting with the current
- Do include training, workshops, seminars attended and online courses taken or certified in
- Do brag about your endorsement from other employees or promotions and awards you have received
- Do include Education, Qualifications & Skills gained – starting with the highest
- Do ask for feedback from the employer – this enables them get back to you even if you don’t get the job
- Do label your file correctly with your name E.g First Name_Last Name_CV.pdf
- Do send your CV as a PDF not as a Word document except otherwise stated
- Do say “thank you for your consideration in advance”
- Do attach a Cover Letter to your CV – stating who you are, what you do, what you have to offer, what skills you have gained so far and what they stand to benefit when you are hired, etc.
It’s a tough one out there for the unemployed because even after doing all these things, you still have a lot to do. But, you must not relent your effort on trying your best. You have to keep trying and trying and trying until you get it. Play your won part.