The objective of a Curriculum Vitae (CV) is to inform potential employers about your academic, professional and personal experience. More importantly, a CV must answer two significant questions: ‘What does my CV offer to the employer?’ and ‘Why should an employer pay me the salary I deserve?’.
Given that a CV has about six to eight seconds to sell itself, your answers should stand out to warrant short listing from among a pool of countless CVs.
Here are a few tips to ensure that your CV stands out:
1. Writing an objective statement at the beginning of a CV is outdated. Employers are more interested in your accomplishments, contribution and results.
2. A ‘one size fits all’ CV is unprofessional. Tailor your CV to each job and according to what the job requirements are. Include information of importance and relevance to the post you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a marketing position, highlight the marketing projects you have handled, as well as your achievements.
3. Avoid clichés such as ‘proven leadership and managerial capabilities’, ‘accomplished leader’ and ‘ability to motivate’; they are meaningless, wordy statements that most CVs contain. Instead, highlight specific instances that prove your skills. For example, “My negotiation and networking skills led to the securing of a major corporate client and generating business worth Rs 60 million over a period of three years.”
4. Remember, the idea is to sell yourself through one piece of paper, so choose powerful words to describe your accomplishments. Words that stand out include ‘empowered’, ‘pioneered’, ‘revitalised’, ‘established’ and ‘initiated’.
5. Proofread your CV several times before sending it; grammatical errors and typos make you appear lazy.
6. Personal details such as your marital status, religion, identity card number and hobbies derail the CV, so do not add them.
7. Do not mention anything regarding your salary expectations. It makes you appear mercenary and betrays a lack of seriousness with respect to the job you are applying for.
— Amin Saleem
The writer is the CEO, Careers Giant.
First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on May 8, 2011