WHAT SUCCESSFUL CVs CONTAIN
A CV, short for curriculum vitae, is one of the most powerful weapons in a job applicant’s arsenal. Curriculum vitae is a Latin expression meaning ‘course of my life’ and is a document that plays a central role when recruiters are determining who to invite for job interviews.
An effective CV captures the job applicant’s professional and academic details, information that is of interest to the employer. There are certain elements that every good CV must have. These include contacts, academic and training details among others.
If a professional CV is central to your career progression, what are the different elements that you should have in your CV?
1: Names and Contacts: This is the very first part of the CV and includes the applicant’s full name and contacts, including email, postal box as well as a day time telephone number.
2: Career Objective: Recruiters are impressed by your career objective if it is in line with their plans for the organization. A career objective is a good opportunity to demonstrate how your career profile fit into the needs of the organization. For example:
A marketing professional with 12 years experience in Fast Moving Consumer Goods and an MBA seeking to contribute skills in an international organization that recognises talent and rewards results
3: Profile of Skills / Key Competencies: Where space allows, you can list your key skills immediately after the career objective. Examples include:
- Advanced communication and interpersonal abilities
- Proven team building and coordination of activities of the project
- Ability to deliver results while working under minimum supervision
4: Education & Training: The academic and training details should come near the top of your CV if you have recently completed formal education or you applying for a job where academic qualification is the most important factor – for example in academics. If you have at least 5 years working experience, place your academic qualifications further down the page.
Always start with the most recent and work backwards. For applicants who have undertaken short professional courses, you can list them here if: they are not more than three and if they are relevant to the job at hand. Otherwise list them on their own as: Short Professional Courses which should appear below Education & Training section.
Again, start with the most recent and work backwards. Include the job title, organization name and the years that you worked in the organization.
6: Professional Experience
Here, you should list the various responsibilities you undertook and how they fit into the organizational objectives. A few examples are:
- Booking venues for meeting/conferences, training and other corporate events
- Supporting senior management by preparing documents for presentations in meetings
- Ensuring inventory checks are done and asset register is maintained and regularly updated
- Auditing financial documentations to ensure conformity to procurement systems
- Coordinating the preparation of project budgets and providing budgetary management
7: Key Achievements: These include accomplishments that are relevant to the job at hand. Achievements include performance based recognitions and leadership positions of successful projects and teams. Others include publications and even strategies that the job applicant recommended that saved or earned money for the organization.
8: Referees: It is important to provide the names and contacts of at least 2 people who know the applicant well and can attest to your character and abilities. They should not be personal friends or relatives. The normal practice is to have 3 referees – with at least one from each gender- who can speak on the applicant’s character, academic ability and on the professional ability. For each referee, the following should be included: Full names, job title, organization, post box, day time telephone number (or mobile) and email.
It is important to give contacts of people who know you and not just because you sat in their class at university or college. Also remember to alert them to expect a call in regard to your application.
A good CV has returns on investment and it is essential to craft a CV that will impress the recruiter and result in that important call for an interview – and the first step in landing your dream job.