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Getting a job: Is your CV impressive?

By Vision Reporter

Added 17th December 2006 03:00 AM

IN an increasingly competitive job market, a well-written curriculum vitae (CV) is vital for getting the right job. Employers receive many CVs for each job and so the best CV wins an opportunity to impress before the job applicant appears.

By Timothy Makokha

IN an increasingly competitive job market, a well-written curriculum vitae (CV) is vital for getting the right job. Employers receive many CVs for each job and so the best CV wins an opportunity to impress before the job applicant appears.

Dr. Robert Mugumya, a management consultant and senior lecturer at Makerere University, says a CV could make or break a job applicant during an interview. “Many interviewers use the skills detailed in the CV as a template for the interview,” Mugumya says.

“So be realistic to include only aspects you are familiar with and focus on your strengths and achievements in case they appear during the interview.”

Mugumya says a CV should provide evidence that you have the qualities to do the job well and not just chronicle your life. According to him, a CV has four key purposes:

“A CV prepares you to speak about yourself at interviews, confirms your skills and abilities and projects your personality before an interview.”

Harriet Musoke, the head of human resources at Standard Chartered Bank, says a CV should highlight what you are capable of doing and personal background.

“A good CV should contain a factual summary of personal details, academic background, experience, accomplishments, interests and any information relevant to the job,” she says. Musoke says a CV need not go beyond three pages.

Personal details
Should include name, address, telephone number, e-mail and date of birth.

Qualifications
Be precise. Put your most recent qualification first.
Remember to give the full title of your degree. For example, write Bachelor of Arts in Arts and not BAA.
Give the title of your thesis if you wrote one.
Show the time frame of your degree because recruiters may not realise that most undergraduate degrees take three years.

Experience
Begin with the latest job.
Include all jobs because employers are interested in any work experience whether relevant or not.
Emphasise what you have learned.
Clearly illustrate the skills gained in each job.

Interests and activities
Mention any positions of responsibility you have held in societies/clubs in school, college or beyond.
Emphasise any skills that you have gained from such activities, for instance teamwork, leadership.

Additional information
If you are applying for a post where your qualifications do not appear immediately relevant, add information detailing how your personal qualities make you a suitable candidate.

Referees
Get permission before you use someone as a referee.
Vary them from academics to career referees.

Hints on wording
Do not use personal pronoun ‘I’ repeatedly because the CV is about you.
Start with the verb which designates your skills.
Make the CV as verb-intensive as possible. For example say Responsible for ...rather than Left in charge….

Use an outline format.
Focus on what you have accomplished. Mugumya says a good CV addresses three aspects:

Objectives:
What kind of job do you want?

Audience:
Remember the target of your CV and what he wants.

Presentation:
A CV must be typed with headlines bolded or underlined. Because you are not designing a magazine cover, do not use lots of different font types and sizes.
After all is done, run a spell check. If in doubt, confirm with a dictionary.

Use bullets to highlight skills the audience wants to see and use formal language.

Getting a job: Is your CV impressive?

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