what a CV is and what should be there and what should not be there?
What is a CV?
A CV should portray your character, it should show your capabilities, enable the reader to see your leadership and problem solving skills, make people look at you as a potential employee who can drive the company’s agenda forward and a CV should demonstrate foremost the most important skill – technical competence.
Important characteristics of a winning CV
A good CV should be:
1. Simple and straight to the point without unnecessary details.
2. 3 pages maximum unless you are a very senior professional gunning for a very senior position.
3. Maintain similar font throughout the body, only play with the font at the heading.
4. Interactive with the reader, it should have a conversational tone.
5. Avoid flashy descriptions and complicated terms to show how learned you are. Use the most basic English as if you were talking to me.
A CV should be chronological by explaining where you have come from to where you want to be.
1. Heading: A good CV heading should have the word ‘CV’ at the top right followed by a simple line. At the bottom of the line and with a different font in shape and size should be you details, name, address, and email and day phone contact numbers. There is a way you should distinguish the different sections of your CV thus when coming up with the next information, someone should easily pick information with ease of reference. The easier it is to visualize some basic information from your CV, the more interesting the selection process becomes and the more chances you have.
2. Biodata: This is a very controversial area and most people find it wrong. Believe me; many CVs that we get contain information under this section that is basically unnecessary. Look at the job description very well and requirements. If a job advert does not require single or married people then why put the information down. At least 90% of all the jobs in the human resource market can be performed by both male and female, single or married. Take care of the details that you provide under this section. Be brief and straight to the point, just ask yourself if you were in the selection team, what will you want to see.
3. Career objective: This may or may not be there. This section is like the interview question, ‘where do you see yourself in 10 years.’ Make sure that if you have a career objective section on your CV it should be one paragraph and remain relevant with the CV education. Simplicity wins you attention here because if you choose to have this section then it is the first a selection team reads.
4. Education: This can be brought in as two sections. The relevant education and the irrelevant one (not that it is irrelevant passé but looking at your current level of education, I can tell your past). Bring in the postgraduate education, graduate studies and then later the professional education. You can decide to separate these sections but be careful not to go to secondary education and primary education because this is not necessary at this stage. You will want to portray how qualified you are for the job. Bring these education sections after work experience and all other conferences and symposia you have attended.
5. Work experience: Start with the most current job and when describing your responsibilities, please try to relate them with the responsibilities of the prospective job. For those who have not worked anywhere, don’t worry state your internship experience and even the leadership roles you have held somewhere before.
6. Hobbies, strengths, conferences attended, memberships and other educational details: All these details help to make your CV presentable but please I repeat that you should maintain relevance. If your hobbies don’t match the expectations of a job at hand, please forget this section; don’t state conferences that are irrelevant, your strengths should be real and achievable. At this point, I will ask you to think what people think of the person they want to employ and state them in relation to your gains. These are the sections that carry the achievements and should demonstrate your other side apart from your educational attainments. Be careful though not to overstate any facts.
7. References: Three is the recommended number of referees. In this area, people also get it very wrong by stating referees from the same area. Of the three referees one should be educational, another should be job related (internship included) and the last should be from your social life but maintain corporate social, don’t give your relative, give a corporate friend from any other company.
8. Date or period: This probably is a new area but be careful to include it in your resume. At the very bottom of the last page, please write the month and year in italics. This is necessary so that when an employer digs out your CV maybe after sometime, he will know your details by the date cited and may call you for an updated CV.
More to come..