By Perminus Wainaina
In any given day I normally review a minimum of 200 CVs. This happens in two ways; in the first instance I have to go through your job application to decide whether you meet the requirements as advertised. If you meet the criteria you will be invited for an interview at our office. During our one –on- one session, I have to go through your CV again to make sure you can perform the duties you’ve indicated that are required by our client, who is a potential employer. If you convince me the duties you’ve outlined are something you can perform then I’ll forward your CV to our client for a second interview.
Whether you are being interviewed by a recruiter like Corporate Staffing or an employer, the process is the same. Someone has to go through your CV to decide whether they should invite you for an interview.
In this article, I will be sharing my expertise on what employers look for in a CV.
1. Consider Relevant Work Experience
The first thing that will be of an interest to an employer or a recruiter is relevant work experience. An employer will be curious to see whether your current or past work experience matches their requirement. Relevant experience refers to any hands on experience similar to what you are applying. If it is a retail job, do you have people skills, cash handling experience? What personal or professional attributes do you have that relates to the job you are applying for. The majority of people that do not have actual experience in a certain field they are applying for and get hired is because of how well the impressed the interviewer. Research the company you are applying with and what they do and compare what they do to what you have done.
Majority of employers prefer hiring candidates with proven experience for the simple reason that it saves them time and money hence this is the most popular section of your CV. For example, an NGO looking to hire an accountant will be interested in interviewing candidates with an NGO background. A company selling drinking soda or other FMCG products will equally be interested with sales and marketing professionals from the FMCG industry. There’s always an exception to this rule and the job description should act as a guide. As a rule, if you do not meet 70% of the requirements, do not bother applying.
2, How Long Have You Worked In Your Present Job
The duration of employment with current and previous employers is a determinant on whether you will get an interview. Majority of employers will not touch you if you have worked for less than a year with your current employer. For those with less than three years experience, it is expected that you’ll have changed employers as you try to settle after college. If you have more than five years experience, you better have a good reason why you keep changing jobs every so often.
These days, employers consider three years as an ideal minimum time to work for an organization. Although it’s not always the case, employers perceive job seekers who’ve stayed longer with a company as being loyal. With experience, employers are also interested with the level. You shouldn’t be over or under experienced. Have you ever had tea that has too much or little sugar? Think about that when assessing your experience and how it fits an employer.
Having confirmed that you have the relevant experience and that you don’t change jobs as often, the next step is to evaluate your academic and professional qualifications. If you have the skills and can do the job, an employer will be checking whether you meet the minimum education and professional qualifications. If I am recruiting an Office Admin and I have three candidates who can do the job but one has a diploma, the second one a Bachelor’s and the third one has a Master’s. There’s a high chance that I will either choose the diploma or bachelors holder. Sometimes your level of education can knock you off the list. Just like those who are over or under experienced, too many certificates or lack off can deny you an opportunity. Could it be the reason why some of you with masters, MBA or any other graduate degree conveniently forget to indicate the same on your CV?
3. Who Do You Work For?
At times, it matters where you work. We all want to work with famous companies, the likes of Safaricom, UN, Citibank, Nation Media, PwC and other leading organizations. Employers especially SME’s are always fascinated with employees from known brands and will always invite you for an interview. Although later on they will start badmouthing you saying that you are pampered and spoon-fed. If they are to admit, those who work for multinationals, big brands and well known companies will tell you that all the glitters is not gold. But such is life.
Unlike majority of small firms that don’t have a business strategy and are not clear on their staffing expectations, big firms are open to hiring anyone so long as you’ll help them meet their objectives. If they want to maintain the status quo they will prefer candidates from an equal competitor. If they want someone hungry to prove themselves then someone from an SME fits the bill.
If an employer is satisfied with the above he or she will start getting into details. Most likely the person short listing will not reject your application at this stage but will form a negative opinion if your CV has some shortcomings. For example if your CV is not well organized and is full of typos or has irrelevant information like your ID number, tribe and driving license number (unless it’s a requirement). When it comes to your CV you only have one chance to make a positive impression. Your CV should make me have confidence not only in your ability to perform the tasks but also paint a good picture of you.
At this stage additional information on your CV like having achievements can propel you to the next stage much faster. Other details including evidence of leadership skills or other soft skills relevant for the job will always make the person short listing eager to meet you.
The above advice is applicable whenever you are applying for competitive posts. The good thing is, whatever I have pointed out is within your power so start editing your CV now if your job application is to be a success.
Perminus Wainaina is the Managing Partner & Head of Recruitment at Corporate Staffing Services Ltd. Email. Perminus@corporatestaffing.co.ke.N.B: 1.Dont Miss Out On Your Next Job. Register Your CV With Us. Click Here To Upload Your CV.. It's Free. NB: 2. How Can I Advance In My Career? The Secret Is To Learn New Skills. Click Here For Best Short Courses & Trainings.