By Perminus Wainaina – Head of Recruitment, Corporate Staffing Services
Sometimes back I was interviewed by K-24 TV on why jobseekers in Kenya apply for jobs but don’t get interviews. One of the reasons why you might be missing out on interviews is because of your CV. Simply put, employers are receiving your CV but the CV is not selling you.
You can watch the interview below as we discussed much more during the show.
How can you tell that your CV that is a problem? It’s when you apply for jobs that you qualify but don’t get interviews. You know you can do the job or the job is a perfect fit but no one is inviting you for an interview.
Have you been applying for jobs without feedback?
An employer can receive hundreds if not thousands of applications for any single job vacancy. If you want to stand out amongst the crowd, your CV has to work hard for you.
The truth is, many CVs are headed straight for rejection. Why? Simply put, the CV fails to make a case for why you are the right candidate for the job. Many Kenyans don’t even realize their CV is the problem, and so keep sending out the same document, in the same way, wondering why they aren’t getting results.
Avoiding the following common CV writing mistakes will help you get a much better outcome from your job search.
Mistake Number One. You Don’t Customize the CV For The Job.
Do you only have one CV that you use to apply for all jobs i.e. a standard CV? When was the last time you updated your CV?
When it comes to CV’s, the majority of us do not edit our CV to match what an employer is looking for.
While your CV will generally contain standard information about your career, it is important that you edit it to suit a position before sending.
Always customize the CV for the position. Why? Most employers focus on keywords on the CV during the selection process and if yours does not have any that relate to what they want, it could be passed on.
Focus on how your responsibilities read and how the ones in the job description or advert are. Then make a point of including as many keywords/skills in your CV and cover letter.
Obviously, It shouldn’t be copy and paste, but rather, it should give the reader i.e. the employer, the confidence that you are worth an interview.
Mistake Number Two. Your CV is not professional.
Another mistake Kenyans make is when they hurriedly write a CV and it doesn’t bring out their skills well i.e. the CV is not professional. It sounds generic. Consider the career summary below for a customer service manager that a friend shared for my feedback.
“I am a hardworking, dedicated, and goal-oriented customer service professional with 6 years of experience looking to secure a challenging position in a reputable organization to expand my learning, knowledge, and skills. Am looking to secure a responsible career opportunity to fully utilize my training and skills, while making a significant contribution to the success of the company”
Does your CV profile read like this or something similar? It’s general, vague and doesn’t talk about your key skills and competencies. This could be ruining your chances of getting an interview.
Now, consider a more professional and polished career summary for the same customer service manager that has been provided to me by our professional CV writing team.
‘I’m an experienced customer service manager with over 6 years experience in the telecommunication industry. I have a proven track record in resolving and reducing customer complaints and exceeding customer service level expectations. I am seeking a position in Customer Service management where my extensive experience will be further developed and utilized in accomplishing the ultimate goals of the organization which is to acquire, retain and grow the customer base.”
Another example for an accountant from our team
I am an accomplished accounting professional with a Bachelors degree in accounting option from XYZ University and CPA(K). I have gained knowledge in preparing financial reports, establishing internal controls, preparing accurate and timely statutory filings, VAT, and general ledger operations among other accounting duties including payables and receivables. I am now looking for a senior accounting role to develop my leadership and supervisory skills.
I have just highlighted the career summary/objective, but in my experience, there are many other CV sections that Kenyans make mistakes when writing their CVs.
At Corporate Staffing, We have assisted experienced professionals with our professional CV writing service and many are delighted when we send them the new CV.
By choosing carefully the wording, and rewriting the skills as highlighted above, we make a dull CV look professional therefore making you more attractive to employers.
Have a look at your CV and ask yourself whether it’s highlighting your skills in a professional way. The reality is, for every job advertised; employers receive between 400 and 5000 CVs.
Other common CV mistakes
- Responsibilities without achievements
- Lengthy CV’s without relevant information
- Personal details i.e. age, tribe, ID number, photos etc
- Unexplained gaps
- Poor format
- Using clichés
Is your CV failing you? Get A Free CV Review
For a limited time, we are offering free professional CV review to anyone with over two years of experience. Let our CV writing team review your CV and advice you on whether your CV is professional.
All you need to do is to email your current CV to Rebecca at email@example.com and copy firstname.lastname@example.org, and email@example.com.
After receiving your CV the team will review your CV against our 13 point checklist and give you feedback. We want you to succeed. You can then make the changes yourself or request the team to assist. This offer is for a limited time.
Remember, we judge others by their first appearance and it’s not any different when it comes to your CV. Your CV is the only document that a potential employer has to make a judgment on you. Strive to make it as great as possible.
I know it’s competitive to get a job in Kenya more so when there are thousands who are competing with you for the same position.
However, before you blame the tough competition, the economy, tribalism or other factors that are beyond your control, sit back and strategize how you can make the situation better for yourself.
And the only way is by first ensuring that you have a professional CV and that you are applying for jobs that you qualify and are suitable for. If you follow my advice, I guarantee that you will notice a big difference whenever you apply for jobs.
Stand out. Don’t make the mistakes everyone is making. Be unique. I wish you the very best in your career.