It is unfortunate, but this market conditions had forced many companies to send some of their people home.
Some of the sad stories I hear, include people losing their jobs after 10, 15 and even 20 years in the same job. (talking about job security !)
The brutal reality though, will require every one of the newly unemployed, to re-write (or sometime write) their resume, or CV ( Curriculum Vitae). Writing a good CV is essential becuase:
1. It is a sales document – it needs to sell your number 1 assett – YOU!
2. It needs to differentiate you from your competition – you’re not the only one looking for a job.
3. It is your first (and sometimes last) opportunity to make a first impression. There is no second chance to make a first impression.
Writing your CV can be a daunting process. However, all you need is a plan that covers both lay out and content.
The best CVs are brief and informative, so every word that you write MUST be well considered and actually work for you as a job seeker.
The most detail should be included when talking about your current position. If you have had a varied and/or long employment history it’s probably best to simply list the relevant details of the position held, the company and dates for those historical roles or roles that may not be relevant to your current subsector set.
Below is an outline designed to make the process of creating your own CV as painless as possible.
Centre contact details at the top of the page. Include your name, address, telephone number, mobile and email. Make sure your name and phone/email contacts are on each page just in case the pages get separated after being printed out in hard copy.
Only use professional sounding email addresses. Remember this is a document that is supposedly promoting you so using “funny” email addresses – e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org doesn’t really project you as a serious candidate!
Date of Birth and marital status
You are not legally obliged to include either. However, if you think displaying your birth date would be an advantage to you, then go ahead. Remember this document is outlining your history and you should enter what you feel comfortable with.
Keep it simple! Font style should be easy to read like Times New Roman or Arial, which most computers are able to display. Employers receive a vast number of applications and if a CV is too hard to follow it may be discarded.
Use bolding for headings as this will highlight and define that particular section. Avoid colours as these can distract from the most important thing – the content!
Summarise your strengths first
The aim of this section is to give the person reading your CV a quick overview of your subsectors which will hopefully make them want to read further.
Career Profile/Career Summary/Career Objective
A Career Overview should give the employer a preview of what they will find in your CV. It should be a few sentences, preferably written as one paragraph. You may wish to include some of your professional, academic and industry training and achievements. Your career goals could be entered here as well.
Outline your professional history in reverse chronological order, starting with your current or most recent employer, and working backwards.
Job title, employer, dates
The role performed for which company over which time period is probably the most acceptable order when completing this section.
When writing this section don’t just make a list of things you were responsible for (eg making tea for Monday morning Sales Meetings!) Remember to include your achievements as well – things you did that benefited your employer’s business – maybe you increased cost savings, brought new clients on board or increased revenue. This type of information is bound to impress. Bullet points are a great way of imparting this information in an easy to read format.
Education and Training
Start with your highest qualification first i.e. if you have attended university and studied for a degree this will be the first entry in this section. Usually employers will not need to know your secondary schooling history unless you are applying for your first position or maybe second. Again this is entirely up to you.
This section can cover university, college, industry courses, in-house courses or any other kind of professional training. Many people now include such things as First Aid Courses attended etc.
Here you can enter details of any professional bodies of which you are a member.
References and Referees
These days it is more common to list just the names and contact details of referees rather than to include written references as such. Or you could state under this heading: Referees available on request.
ALWAYS consult with a potential referee before listing their name on your CV. It may also be advisable to let them know when you have been shortlisted for a position – give them a brief outline of the role you have applied for, responsibilities and duties etc.
If a role you want to apply for specifically requests you include referee details then you must do so – if only to show that you have read the ad correctly!
Customising your CV
In an ideal world each CV you submit should be tailored to an individual application. Research the company in question and the industry sector so you are familiar with them as well as challenges they could be facing and even more importantly how YOU could help in those areas. Emphasise the skill set that you have that would be relevant to that particular role, leaving out what may not be suitable.
Once you have written your CV read it through thoroughly. Then ask somebody else to read it for you. An objective opinion can often highlight areas in your CV that could be improved.
Remember this is YOUR CV – so you need to be happy with the way it is presented as well as its content.
Finally, some cautionary notes:
• Highlight relevant skills, strengths and achievements
• Don’t highlight irrelevant skills or achievements (no matter how proud you are of making the school origami team, don’t devote half a page to it)
• Don’t forget to include specific career accomplishments
• Don’t write lengthy, generic job descriptions
• Don’t list less important career details before key experience and achievements
• Keep your CV focussed on your employment history not details of your private life
• If you are currently employed as a manager, an employer does not need details of your first job delivering newspapers
• ALWAYS ensure any grammar or spelling errors are corrected. It is a telling sign when describing yourself as detailed and methodical but your CV is full of spelling mistakes!
• Your CV should not exceed more than about 4 pages – give as much detail as possible in a succinct form otherwise the risk of the employer losing interest is heigthened
• Start sentences with “strong” words such as implemented, initiated, designed or delivered