Is your Curriculum Vitae GOOD enough for that job?

Rear view of a woman giving resume to an African American woman in office

Your Curriculum Vitae is not just an endless list of your credentials or a story line of your career achievements; an employer needs to know as much about you as quickly as possible – so make sure that you include a profile of yourself.

During a Human Resources training at the United States Embassy in Nsambya recently, the Cultural Affairs Officer, Lisa Larson and the HR team at the mission advised that, “The opening 50 words of your CV matter most so don’t waste them on background information – write a short profile that sums up your work history, sector knowledge, skills and know-how.”

When writing your CV, pay attention to the following.

  • Listing universal transferable skills isn’t the same thing as proving you have them. Especially if you’re using the same format as everyone else.
  • Avoid CV clichés (self-starter, team player, highly motivated), rather show where you have made a difference in your most recent jobs.
  • Don’t simply say that you’re ‘a team player’: give a relevant example of when and how you’ve proved you are.
  • Clichés can be used but they don’t convince anyone.

Is your CV Unique?

The HR adds,

  • In recruitment, ‘unique’ doesn’t mean tricks, printing on colored paper or attaching  have a photo. It means submitting a CV that is specific to the job you’re applying for.
  • Tailor your CV for every job you apply to. Think about your strengths; what are you best known for? What is your point of differentiation? What makes you an asset?”
  • Analyze the job of interest carefully. No CV can ‘magically’ fit every job, so don’t waste your time by sending the same one off with every application. It won’t fool anyone.

Where are your achievements?

  • Experience isn’t the same as achievement. Don’t just list where you’ve been and what you’ve done, show the recruiter how you stood out.
  • If you can, include an ‘achievements’ section which can make an instant and dramatic difference to the power of your CV, enabling you to distinguish yourself from other candidates.
  • Don’t spend too much time describing the obvious parts of your job – focus instead on what you actually achieved while doing them.

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