In today’s competitive world, the search for a job has become tougher and competitive than used to be the case in time past. Today, there are many individuals, fresh from colleges and universities in search of jobs and professionals seeking career progression. However, the reality is that the number of jobs generated annually, cannot accommodate the number of graduates released into the job market by the various academic institutions each year and also just a few professionals get to move from their current job to a new one.
This presents a case of an advantage for those who present themselves in manners that meet the required interest of potential employers. The candidate with the slightest exceptional edge gets the opportunity to be engaged.
The first step in getting an opportunity to a job is a Curriculum Vitae (CV). A CV is a personal marketing tool. It is an avenue to tell the skills, qualities, expertise and your potentials to a prospective employer. You have the control at this stage, of being among the shortlisted candidates.
Your skills, abilities and experience are strong to earn you a job, yes; but your ability to market them, to begin with, determines how strong they are. To secure a job that you have an interest in, you need to know how to present yourself as an attractive candidate worthy of that position. How do I present myself as an attractive candidate? you may ask!
Marketing yourself as an attractive candidate should show in the presentation of your curriculum vitae. Your CV is a marketing document that gives you the opportunity to present yourself to an employer who knows nothing about you.
We do say first impression counts, right? Yes, first impression does count and the first impression to take you to your desired role is your curriculum vitae (CV). Your ability to construct an eye-catching CV will get you closer to your dream job. The role of the CV is to at least take you through the door of your next employer or even gets you an interview.
It is advisable to justify your document, use an appropriate font style (such as Times New Roman, Trebuchet MS, Cambria, Verdana etc.), an acceptable font size of 10 minimum and 12 maxima depending on the font style chosen. Candidates should ensure they are consistent with their bulleting, font style and size.
The following elements should be included in your CV;
Candidates must ensure they provide a professional email address, I prefer Gmail or Hotmail to yahoo. Try to use appropriate email names for example email@example.com instead of firstname.lastname@example.org. Have your address, contact number and your Full name, website or blog if any. I will recommend that this is centred so it can be easy for potential employers to contact you for future vacancies.
The summary statement should highlight your skills, experience and achievements and how you can contribute your quota to a potential organisation. This should come before your Work experience. This section should be as brief as possible, not a long essay. Remember that the recruiter uses just about 20 to 30 seconds to review CVs.
Include the various jobs you have held in your previous organisations. Always ensure that you provide duties and responsibilities of the position you held in your previous organisation as well as what you are performing currently. Every duty described should be in past tense except your current job. Some candidates just provide you with the role title, company name and date leaving out the duties. It is advisable to provide your potential employer with your duties and responsibilities, this helps to ascertain if your duties match what you might be doing at their organisation. Ensure that your duties (job description) sell you as an achiever instead of using task-based wordings
For example: ‘Assist in salary negotiations of selected candidates (Task-based)’ can be re-worded to
‘Negotiated approximately 20% percent salary increase for old employees and enhanced a win-win negotiation approach for potential employees’. (this details your task and achievements based on a specific task- recommended).
Always remember, employers are interested in your contributions to your organisation and the successes you made in your last job. They are highly looking for candidates who will make a significant difference in their organisation. They are in interested in numbers, percentages and individuals with good team management/ leadership. For example, in a Sales Manager role instead of writing ‘Increase of the organisation’s clientele base,’ this can better sell you to the recruiter ‘increase the organisation’s clientele base by over 20% with a GHC200,000 monthly turnover and GHC 2, 400, 000 annual turnover’.
If you are an entry-level candidate, ensure your task and achievements of your internships and national service roles are listed.
This element includes Educational Institutions you have attended, start and end dates and qualifications earned. Other training and short courses attended can be added as a sub heading under this section.
Skills and Interest
State the skills that are relevant to the position you are applying for, you can also list your knowledge on some programming languages and software programs for technical roles, if it is important to the role you are applying for.
The interest section of a curriculum vitae indicates one’s personal interest. This may include but not limited to sports (Football, swimming, volleyball, basketball etc.), books, movies, cooking, travelling, or any other appropriate hobby or personal interest.
In addition, a CV must have all headings highlighted to enable them standout. A CV must make use of bullets for key points and most critical, a good CV must be without grammatical errors. You must prepare your CV and only be sure of printing or submitting after several cross checks (proof reading) has been done to establish that there are no grammatical errors.
Above all, a CV must use positive language. Every employer expects his or her business to grow. The growth of every business comes from a positive attitude. Positive attitude is mainly rooted on positive language. Your CV must contain language that is positive and inspiring to be able to attract interest for an interview.
Recruiters have a lot of CVs to review, thus, it is very important to make your CV as catchy and detailed as possible. Never forget that your CV tells the Recruiter/ Employer who you are. If your CV is improperly laid out, it sends a negative message implying that you are not an organised person.
Wish you all the best in your job search!!!!!
By Juliana Helena Bentil
Juliana Helena Bentil is a Human Resource Executive Assistant with Ghana HR Solutions (www.ghanahrsolutions.com) tasked with the responsibility of handling different recruitment and Human Resource related projects.
A result oriented human resource professional, Juliana has about 3 years’ experience in Human Resource management (Employee Relation, Recruitment and Staffing, Employee Induction/ Orientation etc.) and Sales and Marketing.
As a recruiter, Juliana has been involved in executing different recruitment projects all over Ghana and by extension Africa.
Ghana HR Solutions, helps organisation find, train, develop and engage your employees, with world-class Human Resource Solutions, working tirelessly with individuals, teams and organizations to increase performance and to realize true potential.
Ghana HR Solutions also provides Payroll Services in Ghana. Ghana HR prides itself of having the employment strategies, wide range of options and resources needed to recruit professional talent on demand.