By Goke Ilesanmi
Last week, we said to stay ahead of competition as an organisation, entrepreneur, job-seeker or student in this digital age that the scope of competition has become wide, you need to identify and persuasively communicate your outstanding organisational or personal competence, using your corporate or personal profiles and curriculum vitae. We added that most corporate organisations and entrepreneurs have their corporate and personal profiles written in a very informative and ordinary way while many employees and job-seekers too have their curriculum vitae written in a chronological, ordinary and informative way that can hardly get them their desired jobs.
We said putting yourself in the position of the person doing the hiring is the first and most important step in writing a CV that markets you rather than describes your history. We added that you need to write down everything you have ever done that demonstrates that you fit perfectly with what is wanted and needed by the prospective employer.
The whole idea is to organise your thinking such that you will be able to see some new connections between what you have done and what the employer is looking for. You need not confine yourself to work-related accomplishments. Therefore, base your composition on your entire life accomplishments. The essence of this is to cover all the talents you bring to the market place. If you are making a career change or are a young person and new to the job market, you are going to be especially creative in getting across what makes you stand out. One important part of the planning process is to decide which CV format fits your needs best. Do not automatically assume that a traditional format will work best for you.
Three types of CVs
There are three types of CVs, and these are chronological, functional and combined chronological functional. The most effective one is the combined chronological functional CV that takes care of the combined deficiencies of chronological and functional CVs. A great CV has two sections. In the first section, you make assertions about your abilities, qualities and achievements. The second section, the evidence section, is where you back up your assertions with evidence that you actually did what you said you did. This is where you list and describe the jobs you have held, your education, etc. Most CVs contain the evidence section without assertions. The assertions section usually has two or three sections. In all of them, your job is to assert that you are the best candidate for the job. You start by naming your intended job. This may be in a separate Objective section, or may be woven into the second section, the Summary. If you are making a change to a new field, or are a young person not fully established in a career, start with a separate Objective section.
Targeting your CV requires that you should be completely clear about your career direction. The way to demonstrate your clarity of direction is to make the first major topic of your CV be your objective section.
Suppose the owner of a newspaper house puts an advert in the paper looking for an experienced sales person. Then later, the company receives 400 CVs. The applicants have different backgrounds. The recruiting person has no way of knowing whether any of them is really interested in selling the company’s product. He or she remembers they have all applied for a job they do not really want. He or she knows that many of the CVs received are from people who are just casting their seeds to the winds. Then, he or she comes across a CV in the pile that starts with the following: “OBJECTIVE: To work as a sales person in a reputable media organisation where an extraordinary record of exceeding sales target and excellent customer relations would be needed.”
This will automatically attract his or her attention. It works well because the prospective employer is smart enough to know that someone who wants to do exactly what he or she is offering will be much more likely to succeed than someone who does not. And, he or she (the applicant) will probably be a lot more pleasant to work with as well. Also, this candidate has done a good job of establishing why he or she is the best candidate in the first sentence.
It is noteworthy that even when people are clever enough to have an objective, they often make the mistake of composing a selfish objective such as, “To work as X in an organisation where I can hone my skills….” The employer is interested in hiring you for what you can do for him or her, not for fulfilling your private goals and agenda.
To write your objective, therefore, you first of all decide on a specific job title for your objective. Go back to your list of answers to the question, How can I demonstrate that I am the best candidate? as suggested last week. What are the two or three qualities, abilities or achievements that would make a candidate stand out as truly exceptional for that specific job? The person in the above example understands that the prospective employer would be very much interested in candidates having the ability to exceed sales targets, generate new accounts and effectively relate with customers.
Therefore, he or she makes that the very first and convincing point of the CV. Ensure that the objective is to the point. Experts such as Nicholas Lore, an international career management coach say it is better to avoid fluffy phrases which are obvious or do not mean anything, such as, “Allowing the ability to enhance potential and utilise experience in new challenges.” The objective may be broad and still somewhat be vague in some cases, e.g. “A senior-level management position in the banking industry”.
To be continued
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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