By Goke Ilesanmi
Last week, we said the Personal interests/Hobbies segment has advantages and disadvantages. We explained that it can indicate a skill or area of knowledge which is related to the goal, such as “playing football”, for somebody looking for a job as a Physical Education teacher, etc. We added however that the segment may be irrelevant to the job goal and curriculum vitae purpose, and therefore may be meaningless. We also discussed References segment and examined details of other CV formats such as Chronological CV and Functional CV. We discussed the guidelines for a better CV presentation halfway.
Guidelines for a better CV presentation
… Make careful and strategic choices as to how to organise, order and convey your skills and background. Make liberal use of words. For every skill, ability or accomplishment described, use the most active and accurate verb you can think of. Keep sentences as short and direct as possible. Eliminate any extraneous information and any repetition.
Do not use four examples when one or two are okay. Say what you want to say in the most direct words possible, instead of trying to impress with bigger words or more complex sentences. You also need to vary long sentences, if necessary, with short and punchy sentences. It is better to employ phrases rather than full sentences when phrases are possible, and start sentences with verbs, eliminating pronouns, e.g. I, You, He, She, They, etc.
Vary words, do not repeat a verb or adjective in the same paragraph. Use commas liberally, to clarify meaning and make reading easier. Remain consistent in writing decisions, for example, the use of abbreviations and capitalisation.
As far as CV length is concerned, everyone freely offers advice on what it should be. Some say a CV should always be one page, while others say a CV can be as many pages as you want long if you can sustain the prospective employer’s reading interest for so long, and at the same time create excitement that makes him or her pick up his or her phone and call you for an interview. However, it is better not to follow length rules blindly. Instead, do what works. Sometimes, it is appropriate to have a three-page CV. But, unless your life has been filled with a wide variety of extraordinary achievements, make your CV short.
Length of a consulting CV
In a consulting CV, you are expected to dig everything as deep as you possibly can. If you are selling your own consulting service, make it sizzle, just like any other CV. Additionally, include a little more detail, such as a list of well-known clients, powerful quotes from former clients about how fantastic you are, etc. If you are seeking a job with a consulting firm that will be packaging you along with others as part of a proposal, include everything that makes up your intellectual strength and profile. You can include a full list of publications, skills, assignments, other experience, and every bit of educational achievements you can, that have something to do with your work. The philosophy here is: the more the better. CVs can be written using either the first- or the third-person verb tense.
Use whichever you choose consistently. Verb tenses are varied and based on accurate reporting. If the accomplishment is completed, it should be past tense. If the task is still underway, it should be present tense. If the skill is something which has been used and will continue to be used, use present tense. A way of “smoothing out” transitions is to use the present perfect tense. Be sure the telephone number on the CV will, without exception, be answered by a person or an answering machine. I am sure you do not want to miss an interview just because of lack of response when you are called on phone. Include e-mail and fax numbers, if you have them.
References, reference sheet and electronic CV
Before you choose a person as one of your references, you need to seek his or her consent. It is very risky to take this for granted. Equally ask whoever volunteers to be your reference about the address and phone number he or she wants you to use for him or her. Thank a reference for the time spared with you in your meeting and for agreeing to act as your reference. Make sure you keep in touch with him or her constantly even after securing the job. At the top of your reference sheet, put your name, address as well as phone number. Additionally, for every reference, include the name, official designation, address and phone number. The reasonable and average number of references you can include is three.
It is good to have both paper and electronic types of CV. The electronic CV is especially concerned with online job application. The way an electronic CV is prepared is different from that of the paper form. This is especially so because the way computers read CVs is different from the way human beings do. In composing your electronic CV, you need to bear the following tips in mind:
Concentrate on keywords: Computers scan CVs for keywords that they have been programmed to check, depending on the position in question. The implication of this is that if your CV does not contain the keywords, you will surely miss the employment opportunity. The more the keywords found on the CV, the better your chances. When you are applying for an advertised job electronically, the keywords are those in the advert. However, in spite of the fact that nouns are more included as far as an electronic CV is concerned, it does mean verbs are not necessary at all. Use the normal point size and text font. Avoid the use of italics and bold text. Capitalised words are okay.
Do not use brackets, a dash, bullets, a horizontal or vertical line, a hyphen, symbols, etc. They are subject to structural distortion. While sending your CV electronically, include a cover letter with it in one file. Use the job title or your objective in the subject line citing any relevant number. Make sure you follow the necessary instructions. Some employers who advertise online do not accept a CV through e-mail. Therefore, ask if you could be allowed to send the hard copy of your cover letter and CV. Make sure that your phone number and e-mail address are included.
PS: For those making inquiries about our Public Speaking, Business Presentation and Professional Writing Skills programme, please visit the website indicated on this page for details.
GOKE ILESANMI (FIIM, FIMC, CMC), CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is an International Platinum Columnist, Professional Public Speaker, Career Mgt Coach and Certified Mgt Consultant. He is also a Book Reviewer, Biographer and Editorial Consultant. Tel: 08056030424; 08055068773; 08187499425