What you need to know:
Stand out: So many times we miss out of a shortlist just because our CV fell short and did not catch the recruiters’eyes.
Being unemployed can be extremely frustrating, what is more frustrating, however, is when you have applied for countless job openings but never receive a call. There could be many reasons for this, including a badly written Curriculum Vitae (CV).
Naome Namara Baketunga, a career development strategist, says many job applicants fail to get the job, simply because of poor CV writing skills.
“A CV is not just a document with your personal and professional data, consider it your marketing tool. Before recruiters see you, your CV is a representation of you. Your CV is what you use to show the recruiters that you have what it takes for a given position. Usually, when I guide my clients on writing a professional CV, they realise it is not as simple. Also people do not keep a portfolio of their professional lives, so when it comes to breaking down all the things they are involved in, the information is in bits and pieces and then some just want to lie,” Namara adds.
She adds that there is need to sensitise graduates both at work and educational level.
Vivian Akibaho from Brighter Monday, a recruiting company, says knowing how to write a good CV is knowing how to brand oneself.
“There is no way you can go lightly about it, especially if you are planning to stay in formal employment, unless you rely on connections, but also connections can only take you so far,” Akibaho says..
Did you know, for example that you need a different CV for every job you apply for?
A one-size-fits-all resume does not cut it. Even when applying for jobs in the same field, you are still required to make changes. Each CV you write should be tailored to the job description of the position you are applying for. What is required of you, will vary from company to company, right from the skills sets, academic qualifications, experience etc. even when you applying for what seems like a similar job position. That is why the job descriptions vary.
“The CV you use to apply for the position of a nutrition advisor in an NGO, is not the same CV you use to apply for the position of a nutrition officer for a government-funded project, both companies are looking for a nutritionist, but for different purposes. So customise your resume for each prospective employer, using the job description as a guide,” Namara says.
Technology plays a big role in the recruitment process today, and because of this, you need to write a CV that can go past job applicant screening soft wares. Recruiters now make use of applicant tracking systems. Application tracking systems are human resource software programmes designed to automate the hiring process right from data collection of applicants to screening of applicants. This software helps human resource teams and recruitment companies, efficiently carry out the recruitment process. What the system does, is that it picks out what seems most relevant to the job position, by looking out for important information such as key words and other eligibility parameters. The software then generates a score for each CV. The CVs which appear fit for the job position are placed in one category.
“What we do at Q-sourcing, is that we have a form that each job candidate fills and this form is accompanied by their CV, and it is this form that we put into our system, to screen candidates. The systems is not always accurate, so we usually go back and look through those it has flagged, to make sure the software has not put aside qualifying candidates,” Shillah Ankunda, a recruiter, explains.
For your CV to go past the screening software, it should include keywords. “For example, if you are applying for the positon of talent acquisition manager, key words such as screening and sourcing, recruitment, succession planning, plans and strategy development should not miss out in the responsibilities or even achievements, because they will certainly be in the job description, ”Ankunda adds.
First things first, make sure you research about the company you are applying to, this way you can understand what the company is really about, which will best guide you on how to write the CV.
Here are a few steps to follow when writing your CV
Your personal profile should includ your name, contact and email address. Make sure your contacts are available at all times, so you do not miss a call from the recruiters when shortlisted.
Do not include your age or date of birth as according to Moses Kakande of Q Sourcing, this can bias the recruiter.
After your profile, in about three to four sentences, tell the company what you are all about, who you are. The biggest mistake people make here is write a summarised biography instead. Always remember that a company is looking for a person to solve specific problems, so instead of listing what you have done, talk about results and the positive impact you have had in your previous or current company.
First, list the name of the company, the position you held or are holding, and the period you worked for. Start from the most current going down. Many people start with the first job, so you have to first go through the whole CV to get to the latest, which can be tasking.
Arnold Akampulira, a recruiter at Brighter Monday, recommends putting work experience first before education if you are not a fresh graduate.
Mention your responsibilities below each job position you held. They should be legible.
“Also do not just list down activities, for example if its human resources, do not just list down sourcing or interviewing, break them down and say ‘I was involved in the recruitment process for the following positions, right from sourcing to shortlisting, interviewing’,” he says.
The employer is not interested in your personal achievements. For example if it a sales and marketing job, what matters is the numbers, what can you bring to the table, if you were able to bring in more business, clients or increase the company’s revenue by a reasonable percentage, then that is an achievement worth mentioning as it could be of benefit to the company.
Start with the highest academic qualifications you have, going down. For example, Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting, then indicate the date for when you started and the date for when you completed. USCE and UCE are necessary as a junior but as you keep advancing in your career you might not have to include them.
Under references, write, ‘available on request’, because sometimes they get in touch with your reference before they get in touch with you. Make sure you put your most recent supervisor. Also inform your referee, out of courtesy; this way they will be expecting the call.