In the past few months, a lot of people have reached out to me complaining that they have not been getting interview invitations despite applying to several organisations. In my experience over the years, I have come to understand that Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a living document that has a life which means it cannot be static. Most people fail to understand that the CV they send out says a lot about them and in many instances, it can determine whether they will get an invitation for an interview, an assessment or a chat as the case may be.
Below are some important points to note in drafting a good CV.
- CV is not a one size fits all: Before sending a CV to a potential employer, it is important to read through and update the CV to suit the organisation you are applying to. You need to highlight specific skills and experience that relates to the job being applied for, or to the industry especially if your experience spans across different industries. There are some key points that the employer may be looking for which usually will be on the Job advertisement, it is important you update your CV to include such keywords. Some organisations use software to shortlist and once the software is unable to locate any of the key skills or words in your CV, you will not be shortlisted.
- State your achievements in measurable terms: The recruiter usually has about 15-30 seconds to review your CV and as such, it is important you state your achievements in each experience you have had clearly. Your CV will stand out and may win you an interview invitation simply for highlighting your achievements. For example “I carried out a market research for 8 companies in the Oil & Gas sector, 10 companies in the banking sector and 12 companies in the FMCG sector within a period of 6 weeks” compared to “I have gathered vast and quality experience in market research for many organisations in the course of my career”. If the recruiter needs someone with research experience in FMCG, he would rather prefer to invite the former candidate rather than the latter.
- Avoid Typographical & Grammatical error: Typos and grammatical errors are usually a major turn-off for most employers and recruiters. It only gives an impression that you are not organised and you do not pay attention to details. I was recently involved in interviewing a Script Writer for a Media company. One of the candidates had errors all over her CV, it was difficult hiring her especially because of the nature of her role. You can give your CV to a friend to proofread for you. You can also seek the help of a professional CV writer or reviewer. It is better you pay a token to a professional and avoid such typos and errors on your CV.
- Leave out irrelevancies: I have seen several CVs with state of origin, religion, local government area, next of kin, ethnicity etc. Most employers really do not care about such information and most times they make your CV unnecessarily lengthy. I personally think address, email, phone number and date of birth is enough personal information for a CV. If you are applying to an organisation that is age sensitive, you may leave out your date of birth especially if it may reduce your chances. Your performance at the interview may be too good and they may decide to waive the age requirement.
- Do not Copy and Paste: While it is good for you to tailor your CV to show skills required for the job you are applying for, it is also very terrible and almost unforgivable to copy and paste the job description as advertised by the employer. I have seen instances where candidates do such and the CVs are usually trashed without any form of consideration.
- Exclude any experience or skill you cannot defend: How funny can it be that you have experience or skill set you cannot defend stated on your CV? Your guess is as good as mine. I have seen several graduates include “proficiency in the use of Microsoft office tools” and they cannot even mention the tools they can use talk less of having the practical knowledge. Exclude any skills you do not possess or cannot defend from the CV.
In conclusion, a CV is your first impression and it may increase your chances of being invited for an interview. The outlook and content of your CV becomes important because the employer or recruiter has a lot of CVs to read through usually within a short period of time. You owe yourself to make your CV so captivating that the interviewer will be looking forward to meeting you.
Please share to your connections and leave a comment on more points not included or if you have a different opinion.
CAREERS[Dissecting Your Resume And CV] – Part IV – Training / Skills / Education
The final part of the series is finally here.
There are those who believe the “Education” section should come first, while others opined it should be the last based on how many years of experience you have.
It all depends on preference. But please don’t spoil a good thing. My preference will be – if you attended a good school – irrespective of your experience – you can put it first. But if you feel the university you attended will be of disadvantage to you, please put it at the bottom. There is usually preference for the top schools irrespective of what you are bringing to the table. Do not knock yourself out of the race when you still have a chance.
Your experience coming before your university will surely sway some sentiments towards you. If you are proficient with financial packages such as SAP or Oracle financials and HR can see all this before they get to the “Education” section, then you have a chance against others who went to the best schools. Use your resume to your advantage NOT to your own detriment.
Below is an example :
2008 Bachelor of Science in Accounting – Boston University [CGPA 4.42 out of 5.00]
2007 Certified Public Accountant (CPA)
Investment Policy Statements – CFA Institute
QuickBooks Pro Advisor
Corporate Finance Essentials
Open Universities Australia – Certificate of Achievement – Financial Planning
BLOOMBERG FINANCE L.P – Bloomberg Aptitude Test – Score:520
Oracle Financials Training – Accounts Receivables, Accounts Payable and General Ledger
COMPETENCES & SKILLS
Technology: Technically savvy with the use of Oracle Financials ERP, Microsoft Word, Outlook, Microsoft Excel [Pivot Tables, V Lookup], International Money Management System, Wall Street Office, Clear Par Documents System, Global Cash Management, Work Flow Tool, Microsoft SharePoint, OnBase, Practice Engine.
Team oriented and strong interpersonal skills, Basic familiarity with GAAP/FASB, Sarbanes Oxley Act and GAAS standards, Effective written and oral communication skills, sufficient technical skills to perform the essential duties and responsibilities.
This concludes the series – Dissecting Your CV.
Tackle Your Next Career Fair With These 5 Tips
“Understand that you have the qualifications that they are searching for, and effectively communicate this to company representatives. Be confident that you have what it takes to get the job, because YOU DO.”
So you’ve found yourself back on the market searching for your next fulfilling position at your dream company. Between professional networking events, informational interviews, and countless job application submissions online, you’ve come to the point where you must attend your local career fair.
Either way, sooner or later, you will have tackle your career fair woes.
Check out these tips that will help you to completely TACKLE your next career fair, and land your resume right in the end zone of recruiters.
(1) It ALL begins with confidence.
The aura that you exude to anyone is the energy that they will bounce back to you. Understand that you have the qualifications that they are searching for, and effectively communicate this to company representatives. Be confident that you have what it takes to get the job, because YOU DO.
(2) Research is imperative.
Go into the career fair with a outlined plan of the companies you would like to target – DO NOT simply walk up to any and every company table with small talk such as, “So what do you guys do?”
Do your research on your target companies to understand things such as the organizational culture, open positions, recent initiatives they’ve been working on, news articles, etc.
(3) Have questions.
These questions are what you want to go up to the recruiters to speak about, along with your background and experience, paying careful attention to actually link your experience to what they are looking for in a candidate.
It’s also common to ask representatives about them about their experience at the company, or just about them in general. But again, DO NOT ask them about what the company does, or what jobs they have. From your research you should already know this information. Asking them will show them that you may be lazy or simply did not do your research.
(4) Ask for a business card.
This shows your ambition and also tells them that you will follow up.
So with that, ensure that you follow up (within 24 hours) on what you and the company representative spoke about. You want to reiterate the skills you have that are related to the position you are seeking in the follow up email. In order to remember your conversation, jot down the high-level topics you both spoke about on the back of the business card between table visits. If you’re spreading your net wide with seeking positions (which you should be), then it can sometimes become difficult to recall what topics came up with each person.
(5) DRESS TO IMPRESS.
Answers to tricky Interview Questions
Smile as much as you can. Relax. A whole lot of interviews are just as simple as it is – getting to know you and a bit about your competencies
Interviews are usually an opportunity to sell yourself. Go with the flow of your interview and never derail from it. The interviewer wants you to be settled and will ensure the environment is conducive enough for an interview. You may be asked if you want water or coffee. Smile as much as you can. Relax. A whole lot of interviews are just as simple as it is – getting to know you and a bit about your competencies. Never speak with fear in ANY interview. See some questions below:
- How do you prioritize your workload? Answer : I list out the tasks in order of priority in my daily to do list and ensure they are completed accordingly. this has worked for me significantly
- How do you manage stress? Answer: Whenever I feel stressed, I take a 3 minutes’ walk and also drink water to relax and calm down. From my experience, i feel refreshed anytime i do such.
- Why should we hire you? Answer: I am hardworking and always ready to improve on given tasks. Not only in accomplishing set goals but also getting a new way to do it better. My experience and technical background has prepared me for this role and i believe I have the mental and physical strength to succeed in this role.
- What value can you add to this job and the company? Answer: I have a great work ethic in achieving set tasks and duties. If hired, I hope to contribute to set organization goals and also streamline processes by introducing new time effective systems.
Finally at the end of the interview, do not forget to send a thank you mail to the recruiter or the interviewer as the case may be.