We are at a time when there are no many job opportunities in Kenya. If I was to reference the Job Outlook Survey we conducted earlier this year, employers are not planning to hire in new positions. This means that most of the job opening expected are in replacement positions, which require candidates to have experience.
In short, you will be trying to find a new job in a market that is not ready to hire you. If you are already experiencing a frustrating job search, chances are it is only going to get worse. So what can you do to stand out and get selected for the few positions available? You can start by having a professional CV.
And I don’t mean paying someone to list all your information on the CV, no. I mean making sure that your CV only includes the most important and right information. To start you off, here are 7 things you should not have on your CV.
The 7 Things Not to Have on Your CV
1. The Words “Curriculum Vitae”
I have seen numerous CVs with this term bolded, capitalized and centred at the very top of the document. It is unnecessary and only works to take up more space that you could have used selling yourself to recruiters. Everyone knows that the document is a CV and you don’t need to include it.
If the first thing on your CV is the bolded and capitalized Curriculum Vitae, a change is needed.
2. Your National ID, Religion, Marital status & other Private Details
Unless the job you are applying for specified that you include this particular information, it is not relevant. Nobody cares about your national ID at the selection stage. Your ID will only come up when you are offered the job for the purpose of keeping records and confirmation that you are who you say you are. And at that point, the employer will need a copy of the ID.
Including marital status and religion could work against you in the interview selection stage. While it is illegal to discriminate against religion or marital status, an employer or recruiter can be biased without your knowledge. So unless this information is required, leave it out.
3. Unrelated Work Experience
Please pay attention to this. Your work experience is the most important part of your CV. You can have a Degree, Masters and PhD but still, fail if you do not have the experience required.
Look at the particulars of the job. How many years of experience are required? Are there specifications on the type of work experience to have? Does the job ask for industrial experience? Then make sure that all this information is clear.
Don’t just list your previous jobs because they are there. List the jobs that will help make your case.
4. Irrelevant Hobbies & Interests
Just because a CV usually have a section for Interests and Hobbies does not mean they are a MUST. Only include hobbies that are relevant to your career. You know why? No one cares anymore about your hobbies. Especially not in the interview selection process.
They are good to look at and interesting to know, but they will not add any value to your job application. However, this rule is exempted for people whose hobbies and interests add value to the position. For instance, if your hobby is cooking and you are applying for a hotel job, then, by all means, include it.
5. Wrong Information
If you haven’t completed your Degree or CPA studies, don’t lie that you have. If you don’t have experience with a particular software as required by the job, don’t say that you do. Unless of course, you are willing to learn how to use it before the job interview.
This is because it will come up during the interview and you will get caught, which will in turn work against you in future applications. So in short, don’t lie on your CV.
6. An Unprofessional Email Address
I don’t know how many times this requires to be said, repeated and shouted for most job seekers to understand. Your email address could be the one reason you don’t get invited to a job interview.
Think about it. You are competing against hundreds or even thousands of equally qualified candidates and recruiters are looking for only 15 people to interview. Sometimes even less. This means that a simple mistake could cost you the interview. So why chance it with an unprofessional email address?
Opening an email account is free. If you don’t want to close your current one, remember you can have as many as you want.
7. Grammatical Errors
In this tough job market, you cannot afford grammatical errors on your CV. Why? Grammatical errors in a CV make a recruiter or employer judge you negatively without even meeting you. They assume you are not keen on details and don’t really care about your job applications.
Yes, man is to error and a few grammatical mistakes may not deny you the job interview. But with such initial judgement, if you make it to the interview, the hiring manager will already expect to be disappointed. And believe me, you don’t want your interview to begin on the negative.
In the End…
Is your CV professionally done and job market ready? Remember that unless a recruiter or potential employer knows you first hand or through recommendation, your CV is the only thing representing you. For this reason, you cannot afford to have unnecessary information.
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