Your CV is the first impression you make on the employer. Therefore, you want to write what makes you the best fit for the position without overwhelming or losing your employer’s interest. It’s almost an art – to convince with words and facts.
But it’s easier said than done. How to write the perfect CV? This article will guide you through how to write a CV to land your dream job. Let’s begin.
What is a CV?
A CV is your curriculum vitae (Latin for “the course of your life.“) It’s a brief summary of your academic journey, professional career, and personal information that helps companies decide whether you are the best fit for the position.
How Long Should a CV Be?
The first piece of advice, and the most important one, is to keep things short and succinct. The perfect CV or resume is typically one to two pages long depending on your experience level. You want to avoid information that does not serve the purpose of your job application.
To narrow your CV’s length, include only the most relevant parts of your education and work experience. There’s no need to mention that 2014 summer camp unless it adds value.
That said, include relevant accomplishments that help you stand out among other candidates in the job market. Did you exceed your former company’s KPIs as a manager? Did you lead a team to success? Your prospective employer wants to read that.
How to write a CV
1. Describe Achievements, Not Tasks
The employer already knows what a social media manager or software developer does, so it defeats the purpose to describe tasks instead of relevant accomplishments in your role. Say you used to be a marketing manager – Then a good example of achievement is: “consistently met and exceeded the KPIs and growth goals by 12%.”
As an employee, you want to bring value to the corporation. You need to stand out and let the company know what you can do for them. If you only include information about tasks, such as “supervised reports and designed new strategies,” you’re wasting your CV potential.
2. Include Keywords
You want to highlight your skills and competencies using keywords, as most CVs go through an initial ATS screening process. A good idea is to use some words already included in the job description.
If the company is looking for “an experienced accountant with a Business Administration degree,” you want to include your Business Administration degree and 3 years of accountancy experience. The program will probably recognize these words as desirable, and you’ll move forward in the recruiting journey.
3. Include Only Relevant Information to the Job
You may have an English degree and a Computer Science degree which is great, but recruiters are looking for relatable skills and experiences for the position.
Following this example, if you’re applying for an editor role, you may want to leave your computer science degree out. It may sound counterproductive because the more educated you are, the better, right? Yet, the truth is that most companies seek well-trained specialists for the advertised position.
There are exceptions to this rule, for example, a business administration degree may complement the job you are applying for. This means that on top of fulfilling your job requirement you can grasp how the company works, and thus implement changes that lead to success.
4. Identify the Right Interests
Some people include an “Interest” or “About Me” section in their curriculum vitae. This can bring value to your CV or, on the contrary, make you sound unprofessional.
Don’t write about generic interests such as being social or traveling. Most employers won’t be impressed by them, and you may look like you’re trying to make up for lacking other valuable interests that suggest you are a good cultural fit.
Real, valuable interests are those that complement your education and abilities. For example, if you want to become an editor, writing your own blog or publishing an e-book are interesting details. If you’re a programmer, having an app of your own with over a thousand downloads is an advisable interest to include.
5. Use Active Verbs When Possible
You want to present yourself as an active employee who takes the initiative and makes game-changer adjustments. Use verbs like “achieved,” “led,” “analyzed,” and “implemented.”
It’s also a good idea to avoid using “I.” The employer already knows it’s your CV – Everything on that document relates to you. Instead, use the active verbs mentioned in the previous paragraph.
6. Tailor the CV to Each Job
Although this is time-consuming, it shows interest and effort on your side to tailor your CV for each job. It’s easy to send the same CV to a hundred companies, but will you stand out in any recruitment processes? Narrow down your search and target your CV to specific jobs. This is a more thoughtful approach to applying for jobs in Kenya today.
Additionally, writing a cover letter accompanying your CV or resume demonstrates interest and adds value to your professional statement. Unless the corporation specifically asks you not to include a cover letter, it’s advisable to attach one to your curriculum vitae.
The Bottom Line
Hopefully, this article helped you see the bigger picture of a well-written CV. You’re never putting “too much time or effort” into it, as it’s what makes the difference between a hired or rejected employee.
Take your time, tailor to each job you are applying for, and carefully describe your skills and experiences to be on the path to success.