What you need to know:
The resume plays a big role for early career professionals and fresh graduates. The resume eases the choosing process considering that at this level, applications are often sundry.
Having the best experience and relevant academic qualifications in themselves may not necessarily land you that dream job.
The art of documenting all the above can mean the difference between being prioritised among many applicants and never having your skilled-self make it to the shortlist.
The sway of a well-written curriculum vitae (CV) and resume can never be emphasised enough, be it at the entry-level, mid-level, or senior-level of job seeking.
They help one be job-ready at all times as they take stock of the professional skills acquired over time.
Mr Robert Mwesige, a human resources (HR) and business services senior consultant, at Houston Executive Consulting, describes the CV as a document that presents a full history of one’s academic credentials, career path and achievements.
On the other hand, a resume is a concise picture of skills and qualifications for a specific position. It must be short; a one or two paged, write-up.
Applicability for each
Mr Herbert Zake, an HR and corporate governance consultant, notes that whereas these two documents are often interchangeably used, each has unique roles relevant to particular jobs.
“CVs are commonly used to apply for academic roles or programmes, grants, fellowships and research. It is safe to say, senior level jobs require CVs more,” he says.
Conversely, resumes are often preferred for most entry and mid-level jobs.
“When applying for most jobs in the private or public sectors, often referred to as industry positions, a resume works best. You simply want to give the potential employer a reason to invite you for an interaction through an interview,” Mr Mwesige complements.
Important to note is that a one-size-fits-all approach does not work for either the CV or the resume as far as different job requirements are concerned.
Mr Mwesige says: “A CV is a living document. You have to edit it to suit the role you are applying for. This way, you only focus the key achievements that are in line with the new position.”
The same can be said for the resume.
Purpose for both
Ms Prossy Kayeny, a human resource consultant, says it is critical to be conscious of the fact that the CV or resume are the first impression a potential employer has of an applicant before any physical encounter.
“It is all about the applicant’s competences in their physical absence. This calls for meticulous writing to present a compelling case as to why you deserve that position amongst the many applicants with similar and sometimes even more qualifications than yourself.”
At entry-level, there is often not much experience to showcase, yet depending on the job requirements, there can be plenty of soft skills to plead one’s case.
The resume plays a big role for such kind of early career professionals and fresh graduates.
From the recruiter’s perspective, the resume eases the choosing process considering that at this level, applications are often sundry.
Contrariwise, CV writing at the senior level is purposed to create a well-structured document where one understands not only the role, but also the bigger picture in regards to the entire business or company.
“The focus should be on leadership, strategy, and change. Here you must show off your higher-level executive skills. Sell your brand,” Mr Zake says.
Job market overlook
It should be noted that competition for jobs is extremely high in Uganda, the world’s youngest population with over 78 percent of its population below the age of 30.
Additionally, the youth unemployment rate in 2022 was placed at 6.58 percent, a 0.04 percent increase from 2021 according to a report by Macro Trends, a research platform.
Consequently, every job opening attracts enormous applications.
Case in point, this year in May, the government advertised for 218 jobs and received over 34,820 applications.
Ms Winnie Agnes Kabogoza-Musoke, chairperson, Public Service Commission decried the overwhelming number of job seekers expressing concern for these desperate young people falling prey to fraudsters.
Ms Kayeny discloses that on average, at entry level, they receive between 1,000 and 3,000 applications for one job, .
“We get even up to 7,000 for one public service job at entry level. The middle management level jobs, about 30-50 and 10-20 for top level jobs”.
Recruiters spend only 5-7 seconds running through these documents.
Therefore, treat the CV and resume as a crucial job search tool.
Both these documents must present you as a rounded and whole person, not just a bunch of qualifications and skills. Companies look for both hard and soft skills.
Details such as formatting, grammar, and spelling are important to create a professional and effective presentation.
Statistics by legaljob, a job seeking platform illustrate that 77 percent of recruiters see typos or poor grammar as deal breakers.
Limit the use of personal pronouns such as “I” and simply begin sentences with action verbs.
Also, while avoiding to include anything negative, avoid lies. Be honest.
Location is not necessary especially when applying for an out-of-town job. That also helps so you do not inadvertently exclude yourself from consideration for the position.
“We are already in the digital era where AI enabled recruiting technology is used to do matchmaking between the potential employee and the job. The better your CV or resume is, the higher your chances of being hired,” Mr Mwesige says.
Adding: “Paper based shortlisting is quickly phasing out. You need a digitalised CV or resume for easy sharing both on computer, telephone or tablet wherever you are”.