Friday, March 6, 2009

CV Speaks

I have applied for several jobs, some unsolicited and some solicited. Some it was just a call, “Please send me your CV.” But at the end they yielded no fruit. I told myself that “If only they give me a chance for an interview. I will dazzle them...” Alas, the moments of interview did not come.

My People perish for lack of knowledge [1].

All the while, I was focusing on the wrong thing – the interview. I did not realize how important the CV and cover letter were.

What worked for me? I do not want you to go through futile attempts before learning a lesson. I want your application to yield fruit. This post is to share my 2 kobo on 2 important things: The CV and The Cover Letter.

Curriculum Vitae (CV)/Résumé: - a summary of your relevant job experience and education. It also includes your accomplishments, skills and publications.
Cover letter: - A brief (less than one page) letter of introduction attached to, accompanying and explaining an enclosed submission such as a résumé or curriculum vitae.

A few things to note for your CV and Cover Letter.

1. Research – Knowledge is Power.
a. For a solicited application, most times the requirements of the jobs are stated such as years of experience and required education. Find out more about what the job entails and determine if you have the relevant requirements. Even if it is just one or two, build on that you think they want. Highlight in the Cover Letter and put details in the CV.

b. For an unsolicited application, you need to find out what the employer would want in the kind of job you hope to be doing with them. This can be done through insider information or through information on the web i.e. if you are applying for the job of an accountant, find out what an/the accountant does in the organization.

c. Find out what are the organization’s goals and strategy. Are they thinking of doubling their profit? How can you contribute to that? Are they thinking of reducing impact on the environment? What knowledge, skill or experience do you have to help them with that? Do not forget to highlight how you can contribute in your cover letter.

d. Find out what they want. Do they want a 1 page CV or a detailed CV? This would form the basis for the type of CV you would write. Do not use generic CVs – 1 CV for all job applications. Prepare different CVs for different job positions.

2. While writing the CV and Cover Letter...
a. Use clear simple language.

b. Go straight to the point. They have other people’s CVs to read.

c. Use templates if you cannot be creative. Templates help you put the information in chronology and points out the headings that should be captured in the CV.

d. Sell yourself. I repeat Sell yourself. There is nothing to be shy or modest about. A lot of people are applying for jobs everyday. The CV is a very important criterion to determine whether you will be called or not. If requested, expound on your relevant education and experience. For instance, if you are applying for the job of a webmaster, your 10 year experience as a truck driver would not be relevant. It can be mentioned. Expand on what trainings, experiences, jobs and skills you have (no matter how little) with regards the job as webmaster.
What are your strengths? Are you a team player, are you a leader, and are you creative? What situations have you employed these strengths? How is it relevant to the job application?

e. Other information. Your hobbies, interests, awards and publications might just be a trigger to call you for an interview. Probably you once were a football captain in secondary school. You never know if this organization you are applying to also needs someone that would be part of their Youth Development Program on football training. So rather than stating “Hobbies – football” say “Hobbies – I enjoy football. I was a football captain during XXX to YYY and led my team to 2 victories at the ZZZ Tournament”.

For more information about successful CVs, please visit HERE

3. Editing is important.
Typographical errors and wrong spellings can put off the reader of your CV. He would probably draw some conclusions like “does not pay attention to details hence not fit to work for us.” Proofread, edit and also ask someone else to go through it.

4. Pray over your application.
Your CV is like a seed you are sowing in different places. Pray that your CV yields fruit. The word of God reminds us that the king’s heart is in the hand of God and as the rivers of water, He turns it wherever He pleases [2]. Let those that read your CV love it, have their heart on you and accept you even before the interview.

My advice to fresh graduates with little experience:
1. Do not worry about relevant experience. Some organizations are looking for fresh graduates that they would train. An employer cannot expect so much from a fresh graduate. Things like your internship and vacation job experiences will count though.
2. Focus on your strengths.

HE gives us the ability to make wealth [3].

Remain blessed. May opportunities come your way and may you know they are opportunities. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Related Post: Choosing a career

Bible References:
[1]Hosea 4:6
[2]Proverbs 21:1
[3]Deuteronomy 8:18


poeticallytinted said...

Great Job. Done like a professional. My first job was as a recruitment consultant. I used to go through about 1000 cvs in a day. At the first sign of nonsense I would just quickly click on the delete key, no kidding. Even the cover letter was usually an indication you may not want to short list the candidate.

Thanks for sharing.

poeticallytinted said...

Btw FIRRST! lol

Dabizniz said...

It depends on the industry and if you are going through a company HR or an agency. But in general you are spot on

Writefreak said...

Very nice and helpful post Rita. How're you doing?

Lindah said...

Thanks for the Great tips. How you been?

Uzezi said...

good one. really needed.

Caelestis Angelus! said...

You can say that again. My current job was the power of my CV first then of course i dazzled them at the interview. But if your CV isnt impresive, how do you then get to the interview stage? Good work rita, weldone

Kafo said...

good info
and have a blessed week

Naijalines said...

This is good Rita. Well done.

Geebee said...

This was so good and what made it all the more wonderful was the fact that it was FREE OF CHARGE. FOC. Thanks a million for this, Rita. You might not know but you have blessed a lot of people who’re gonna read this. Yes indeed, even the best of applicants don’t get employed because of poor profiling of their CVs or cover letters. Requesting permission to forward to a few friends? I won’t forward until you grant permission. Lol.

Afrobabe said...

Wow, this write up is sooooo good and should open an online cv writing will be shocked at how many people actually need help with it...

Olufunke said...

Very good one, thanks for taking your time to do this.You are right, your CV is the opportunity o sell yourself, you can sell yourself short or sell big!

I like the pray on your CV part, You wont believe it,just before readign ur post I did the praying part on my resume just today ( dont remember ever doing that).....Would share the testimony soon by God's grace.

fantasy queen said...

my sister has a book on cv writing which says as much, only, it doesnt tell us the most vital bit that helps seal the deal,praying over

seye said...

I have not updated my CV in years, I have never even submitted it anywhere...but I know this post will come in handy

I am going to leave your page open, get to the mall, come back home, come back on my pc, read the post 2times or add another to make three then....I HAVE IT UPSTAIRS.

VERY VERY VERY VERY INSIGHTFUL. I hope every Nigerian would learn these lessons. Someone sent me his CV hoping to work wiith me and I was so disgusted by the whole presentation.
Post this on a newspaper or something.Let them EAT KNOWLEDGE

Tigeress said...

I try my best to avoid cover letter- dont like them.

But this has been informative! Cheers!

Sexkitten said...

Great post. Great tips. A LOT of people don't realize that this is the most important part of the process. It is after all "the first impression"

Anonymous said...

Wow. Goodone. I am actually cleaning up my resume for summer internship. So your tips will help. have a great week SIS.

~Sirius~ said...

aaah, The power of a well written CV.
I've come to realize that it is actually their 1st impression about you....
Thanks for the tips.

StandTall-The Activist said...

Hmmmm, great winning insights!

Rita said...

@Poeticallytinted: - Thank you. I am so glad you shared your experience as a recruitment consultant.

@Dabizniz: - Thanks. Now that you’ve pointed it out, I think one needs to know the differences if going through a company HR or an agency. Do you have any thoughts to share with us on that?

@Writefreak: - Thank you. I am fine my dear.

@Lindah:- You’re welcome. ‘Been doing great and currently on a few days off work.

@Uzezi:- Thank you.

@Caelestis Angelus!:- Thank you…my dear the CV really has to be impressive. Can I have that your CV? :-)

@Kafo: Thank you and same to you.

@Naijalines: Thank you. You sound like my big sister when I do something good :-)

@Geebee: - Free thing dey purge oh! Feel free to forward to others…

@Afrobabe: - Hmmm Afrobabe, you have just given me idea of one business…if I make money I will give you percentage…Thank you.

Rita said...

@Olufunke: - I look forward to your testimony…

@Fantasy Queen: - LOL @ “the most vital bit that helps seal the deal” – sure praying over it matters oh...Thank you.

@Seye: - It’s good to be on the other side, ie seeing people’s CVs. I’m sure based on your experience you’d know what constitutes a good CV.
You know how I can get this posted on a newspaper?

@Tigeress: - You’re welcome. Glad to be of help…

@Sexkitten:- I guess that’s the word I am looking for “The First Impression” and that is what lasts as the saying goes…

@Temite: - Thanks a lot dear…

@~Sirius~: - You’re welcome…

@StandTall-The Activist: Welcome back…it’s like you are back in full swing…Thank you.

Lobebe said...

Good job, a little mistake can cause one a lot.

yankeenaijababe said...

Update, update...we are waiting for updates