Six Career Mistakes You Need to be on the Lookout for;

“A step backward, after making a wrong turn, is a step in the right direction.”- Kurt Vonnegut

career_mistakeAnyone seeking to grow in his or her career will make mistakes along the way. Some of the mistakes made as one seeks to grow career wise will be costly. Some of them will hardly be noticeable. Regardless of the mistakes you have made in your career, there are valuable lessons that can be learned by reflecting on the mistakes, owning them and learning from them. If you are just starting out career-wise, here are some of the mistakes you need to look out for and avoid:

#1:  Pursuing Status at The Expense of the Growth of Skills

In a world that is increasingly becoming image oriented, many people get lost in the pursuit of success. We interview candidates who want to look the part but do not want to do the hard work. In the process, they lie, put in very little or no effort yet they desire to be applauded for barely showing up. The problem with this approach is that it keeps you from taking advantage of some useful career opportunities that do not necessarily come with a high status. It is often said that opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed as work. That entry-level marketing job might be an opportunity to develop meaningful networks that will help you grow two or three years down the line. The drab accounting job could be an opportunity to hone skills that will help you become an auditor.

Pursue the skills that matter, the status will come. Pursue the status, you will never develop the skills you need to succeed in your field.

# 2: Staying in the Comfort Zone

It is easy to get comfortable in one’s current position. You rarely take any risks in your comfort zone. The environment is predictable. There is a certain way of doing things which ensures that you get the expected outcome hence uncertainty is greatly reduced. Successful people are not necessarily the people who take big risks. They take small risks every day which prepare them for the big leaps that they need to take in their careers.

#3: Not Asking People for Help

You cannot get the help you need unless you ask for it. It is often assumed that the most successful people have it all figured out so they do not ask for help. This could not be further from the truth. The quickest way to avoid mistakes that would waste your time and effort is by asking those who have gone ahead of you in your field for advice. You just need to ask in the right way and you will get the help you need.

#4: Getting Distracted by the “Shiny Object Syndrome

There will always be a position that seems more attractive than your current position. This position might be in your organization or outside your current organization. Because it is often said that all that glitters is not gold, the allure of a certain office or position can become a trap. Countless hours that should be spent being the best you can be in your current position can be wasted as you try and reach out for the elusive position. In addition to this, the “shiny object” might not necessarily be as attractive as you think it is. A higher position with better pay requires a certain level of dedication, skill, experience and commitment. You can only develop this by giving your best in your current position.

# 5: Assuming that Your Career Should Be Linear

The current job market is characterized by rapid technological changes as well as nonlinear career trajectories. Most successful people in this age did not just “move up the ladder.” Some of them have to “jump” in order to advance to the next level. The “leap” is different for everyone and can only be made based on a high level of self-awareness and personal drive. Successful people do not wait for their experiences to fit into a linear career trajectory. They seek opportunities to grow their skills and make the leap once the right opportunity comes along.

#6: Assuming That What You Have at Level 1 Is Sufficient to Keep You Going at Level 2

Most people assume that being good at their craft is enough to get them noticed. While it is important to grow one’s skills, it is equally important to go the extra mile. You need to be emotionally intelligent in order to grow. You need to learn how to identify gaps in your company and provide solutions. You need to learn how to work with people. You need to an avid reader who can tell where your industry will be in the next couple of years based on an in-depth understanding of current trends.

If you are ready for a career change, then reach out to us, as Crystal Recruitment is a Leading Recruitment Agency that connects top talents to top brands every single day.

Five Things that Many Candidates Miss in Job Postings

images WE ARE HIRINGThe information age has resulted in the bombardment of consumers with too much information. As a result of this, it has been reported that attention spans are increasingly becoming shorter. Most of us have lost the art of reading. Instead, we have adopted the habit of scrolling through information in search of what we consider important. This often happens when candidates are going through a job posting. Based on the applications and resumes we have received over the years, it is not hard to see that most candidates spend less than a minute reading through a job posting before hitting the “ Apply” button. As a result of this approach, most candidates miss out on opportunities that they are qualified for.

What should you be on the lookout for in a job posting? Here are some of the key elements of a job posting that you should be on the lookout for;

The Job Title

It sounds obvious, right? It is right there in front of you. It is in bold font. Most candidates still miss out on it. If you are applying for a job via email, make the job title the subject of your email. Make it the filename of your resume before you send your resume. At any given moment, recruiters have to sift through hundreds of resumes as they seek candidates for various jobs. Make your application and your resume stand out of the crowd by demonstrating that you know the position you are seeking.

The Recruiter’s Name

Should the job application you are about to send be addressed to a recruiter or human resource manager at a particular organization? Knowing the recruiter’s name is important as it will help you customize your application appropriately. In some job postings, the title of the person you will be reporting to will be included in the job description. For instance, a marketing manager may be reporting directly to the chief operations officer. Before you send your application, try and find out some information about the person you will be reporting to through professional networks.

If you are applying via email, can you learn anything from the address? It is not uncommon for con artists seeking to fleece desperate job seekers to create dummy accounts using Gmail or Yahoo so be on the lookout for such email addresses. A legit job posting from a credible organization will not mention the name of the person you will be reporting to. It will also include the name of the organization. For instance, if you are applying for the position of an intern at XYZ fashion, the job posting will state that all applications should be addressed to: recruitment@xyzfashion.com.

Instructions on How to Apply

Job postings will include instructions on how to apply for a particular position. If an organization is seeking a photographer who must include a sample of his work, ignoring these instructions will dim your chances. In some job postings, candidates may be required to include the job title and a reference number in the subject line. Adhering to such instructions gives you an edge over the other candidates. It also shows that you pay attention to details and you can follow instructions.

Keywords to Use in Your Application

Read and re-read the job description very carefully. Ask yourself the following questions:wood-cube-abc-cube-letters-48898

  • What are the skills that are required for the job?
  • What are the academic qualifications required for the job?
  • What are the roles and responsibilities you will be required to carry out as part of your job?

Your answers to these questions should shape your application. Most recruiters use software that sifts through applications based on relevance. The relevance is based on specific keywords that the employer wants to see in your application.

When writing your resume, avoid making it too long even if you have the professional experience and academic qualifications that would make it long. Most recruiters do not have the time to read through a novel. Instead, make it about two pages long with key highlights.

Qualifications Required

Most organizations will clearly spell out the qualifications that are required for a particular job and the skills that are relevant to that role. Do not worry if you do not have some of the skills. For instance, a job may require a candidate with five years of experience yet you only have three years of experience in a similar role. Highlight your achievements in those three years. Demonstrating that you have the ability to deliver results could actually make you stand out.

As a candidate, you need to spend a little more time reading the job posting before sending your application. The clues you need are often tailored into the job posting. All the best in your search!

We at Crystal Recruitment work with candidates by connecting them to great career opportunities with Potential Employers. Reach out to us via Email and let us talk about your next career move.

Five Untruths You Need to Address Before Engaging an Offshore Recruitment Partner

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As the world increasingly shrinks and becomes a global village, most organizations find themselves grappling with the need for offshore talent. For most organizations, it is better to partner with an offshore recruitment partner than to rely on internal recruitment networks which take time to set up and manage. Making the most informed decision about offshore recruitment can be difficult because there are certain misconceptions that are associated with offshore recruitment partnerships.  Surveys that have been carried out across the globe indicate that most hiring managers are unsure as to whether they are working with the most suitable recruitment agency. This uncertainty particularly applies to offshore recruitment partnerships where the financial implications of recruitment errors are much higher. While the fears are based on valid reasons, there are certain untruths that also prevent organizations from engaging offshore recruitment partners:

Untruth #1: Offshore Recruitment Partners in Low-Cost Destinations Have Poor Infrastructure

What comes to mind when you think of an offshore recruitment partner? Offshore recruitment firms are often judged by their physical addresses. A fancy address does not always mean that an offshore recruitment firm is competent, techno-savvy and customer focused. A startup offshore recruitment firm might be the best offshore recruitment partner because of high levels of employee morale, dedication to its customers, investment in the best technological tools and data-driven decision making. For these reasons, an organization seeking an offshore recruitment partner should evaluate offshore recruitment partners based on their track record, competence and ability to make sound recruitment decisions that are backed by data.

Untruth # 2: Offshore Recruitment Firms are Not Dedicated to A Single Business Entity

Some organizations avoid engaging offshore recruitment firms because of the fear they have about the team structure. This is based on the belief that all of the firm’s employees are not dedicated to a single client hence they end up submitting the same candidates to a number of competing clients. Some organizations consider this threatening because it slows down the hiring process as a result of a low submittal-hiring ratio. While this may happen in some instances, not all offshore recruitment agencies are willing to compromise on their results and ability to deliver. Competent offshore recruitment agencies understand the organization’s culture and best practices hence they are dedicated to proper offshore candidate sourcing and screening practices.

Untruth #3: The Metrics of Offshore Recruitment Firms are Difficult to Determine

This misconception not only applies to offshore recruitment firms but it also applies to onshore recruitment firms. It is a byproduct of years of having incompetent recruitment firms that fail to develop metrics that are significant to their customers. This problem is further compounded by lack of transparency and accountability in the process of offshore recruitment. Prior to engaging an offshore recruitment firm, it is important to work with your preferred offshore recruitment partner to fine tune the metrics and align the recruitment services being offered with the objectives of your organization.

Untruth #4: Offshore Recruitment Makes an Organization Lose Control of Its Recruitment Process

Having an offshore recruitment partner can make one lose control of their recruitment process especially if the metrics are unclear. To avoid this, an organization should work closely with the offshore recruitment partner in order to give its input as the process of recruitment is going on. Unlike internal recruitment networks, offshore recruitment partners can provide an objective look into your organization’s talent needs and give a much needed fresh perspective.

Untruth #5: Offshore Recruitment Partners are Expensive

This misconception is often guided by a one-sided look at the recruitment process. Some organizations only look at the cost of engaging a recruitment partner but fail to consider the return on investment. A good offshore recruitment partner not only performs well but also provides a return on your investment as an organization. Some of the ways of evaluating an offshore recruitment partner’s ROI are:

  • Satisfaction ratings: Previously conducted surveys can give an indication of whether the firm’s offshore clients are satisfied with the services that they have been provided with.
  • Placement per recruiter: An effective offshore recruitment partnership should be measured by its effectiveness in placing candidates per recruiter.

In evaluating the cost of engaging an offshore recruitment firm, the organization should determine whether it wants to engage the firm on a permanent or on a temporary basis. It is advisable to have this in writing in the terms and conditions prior to any engagement. Your organization should also leverage the nature of the relationship it wants to engage in with the firm when negotiating the price.

To maximize on the ROI, an organization should ensure that its offshore recruitment partner provides some form of guarantee. For instance, it can offer a free replacement for a candidate who fails within the probationary period. The terms and conditions should also cover any eventualities such as waiting period for work permit approval.

At Crystal Recruitment, we make it our business to find the right talent for your company as we are a leading Recruitment Agency in Kenya. We have recently started engaging candidates who would like to work abroad in Dubai.

Talk to us today and let us help you find the right talent in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Zanzibar and for your offshore Needs in Dubai!

5 Reasons Why the Best Employees Leave Organizations

pexels-photo-1563355.jpegEvery organization takes pride in having an employee who is passionate, disciplined, industrious and keen on going the extra mile. Most organizations would want to keep such an employee for life because their performance at work is guaranteed. It often comes as a surprise when one of your best employees decides to leave the organization. While most bosses will not admit it, a notice from such an employee can be devastating news. It is common for managers to blame everything and everyone under the sun whenever a good employee leaves. A manager who is keen on learning from such an experience will take time to critically examine the reasons why his or her best employee is leaving.

If your organization is struggling to retain its best employees, here are some of the most common reasons why this might be the case:

Lack of work-rest balance

We call it work-rest balance because referring to it as work-life balance would be an indication that work is not part of life. In a quest to maintain healthy bottom lines, some organizations push their employees out of their jobs. They demand more than is humanly possible within unrealistic timelines. Even the best employees struggle to keep up with the workload as the managers demand more and more from them. A job that is supposed to be done from 8am -5pm with breaks for lunch and tea ends up becoming a twelve-hour job with no breaks. The employees barely have time to eat, interact as normal human beings or even take breaks that would enable them to acquire a new perspective on the tasks that they are handling. The overall effect of this becomes visible in their physical, social and mental well-being. An organization that treats its employees as mere “resources” without taking their well-being into account will end up losing its best employees.

Overworking employees is counterproductive. A research study carried out by Stanford University showed that the productivity of an employee decreases sharply as the working hours per week exceed 50 hours. It is important for all the leaders in an organization to create a realistic workflow that will help the organization meet its goals while ensuring that the workers are not overworked. It is equally important for line managers to learn how to respect the personal boundaries of the employees they work with. An employee does not have to be on call on weekends, holidays and after working hours unless it is utterly necessary. Organizations seeking to maintain the productivity of their employees should insist on creating a culture in which working late is not considered an indicator of good performance. This will ensure that all employees manage the tasks for the day effectively hence maintaining a healthy work-rest balance.

Failure to Tailor the Talent to the Tasks

going.pngSome of the most talented employees in organizations end up using only 10% of their potential because their talent has not been matched to their jobs. As a result of this, the best employees gradually become discontented and begin to seek other avenues where they will realize their full potential. The mismatch between an employee’s tasks and talent happens as a result of “straight line” mentality. This mentality believes that an employee who is employed in one department should stay in that department. It fails to have a comprehensive view of what the employee is good at and finding ways of providing an opportunity to make use an employee’s talent.

Lies, Lies, Lies

There are organizations that have perfected the art of dangling carrots in front of their employees. For instance, employees can be told by their manager that they will receive a bonus once a certain project has been completed or if they meet their sales target. Employees strive to attain the goal but once they do, the goal post is shifted. Then, the management of the organization provides a long, winding explanation as to why it cannot keep its promise. There are organizations that give their employees contracts that enumerate several benefits but once the employees start working for the organization, the benefits mysteriously fail to show up. Whenever an employee tries to find out why he or she is not getting the benefits as promised, the explanation that is provided is barely sufficient. An organization that lies to its employees loses credibility among its employees. This eventually demotivates the best talent and makes them leave the organization.

Unaddressed Concerns

Addressing the concerns raised by employees is an essential aspect of ensuring that the employees can trust their organization to look out for their best interests. In some organizations, leaders have created a culture in which they remain detached and unapproachable. Issues such as discrimination, unethical practices and sexual harassment can remain unaddressed in such an environment. This leads to widespread fear among the employees. Eventually, leaving the organization becomes the best option.

Poor Pay and Benefits

employee leavingAn organization does not have to offer an employee a bucket load of money in order to retain the employee. An organization just needs to work towards offering fair compensation in line with market rates for a particular type of job. Additional benefits such as flexible working hours for young mothers help in retaining an organization’s top talent. An organization that does not pay its employees on time or fails to pay after several promises is setting itself up for failure because it will eventually suffer from talent drain. It may be easy for an organization to get away with failing to compensate its employees as expected but in the long run, it ruins the organization’s reputation and has an effect on its bottom line. Employees need to know that their financial well-being is not secondary to the company’s profit. They need to see the results of their productive days become tangible benefits.

Do you need help with identifying and retaining talent in your organization? Talk to us at Crystal Recruitment, a leading talent solutions provider in Kenya.

7 Intelligent Steps Towards Gracefully Quitting Your Job

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For every story about a successful transition from one job to another or a business opportunity, there is another story about a stressful job transition. Contrary to popular belief, quitting your job is not as easy as the movies make it look. It can be terrifying, exhilarating, uncertain or all of these at the same time. Sometimes it is the product of days, months and years of agonizing over whether the decision to quit is the right decision. For other people, it can be the product of a whim, a gut feeling that the grass is greener on the other side. There is no right or wrong way to arrive at that decision but there are intelligent steps you can take as you work towards your transition. The key thing is, that once you make up your mind to leave the job, have the courage to follow through with your decision.

Find your “why” before you leave

Difficult bosses have been known to be among the leading reason as to why people quit their jobs. While it is true that there are bosses that are impossible to work with, there is another side of the coin. Some employees place unreasonable expectations on their bosses making the work environment stressful. Before you leave your current position, you need to ask yourself the hard questions:

  • Why do you want to leave your job?
  • Are your reasons detached from any pending emotional matters that you have not dealt with?
  • If there are steps you could take towards improving your experience at your current position, would you take them and evaluate the outcome before making your decision?

Draft a transition plan

I have met candidates with noticeable gaps in their CV’s which is often as a result of leaving a job without having a proper transition plan in place. A typical transition plan answers the following questions:

  • Are there any pending projects/ tasks you need to complete before your final day at your job?
  • When will each of these projects or tasks be handed over to your successor?
  • What are opportunities are you eyeing after you leave?
  • Do you have a proper plan with clear objectives and set timelines to help you pursue other opportunities?
  • Do you have a financial plan in place to cater for your pursuit of other opportunities?

You may not be able to cover all the bases but you can anticipate as much as you can and plan ahead. If you have a mentor, let him or her help you with this process.

pexels-photo-796602Give notice to your employer

If you have a contract with your employer, go through it and find out if you are supposed to give a certain amount of notice before you quit your job. In some organizations, failure to serve sufficient notice can have a direct impact on your terminal benefits. It is important to serve notice as it allows your employer to have sufficient time to find a replacement. If there are specific skills you acquired through experience, the notice period allows you to transfer those skills to your successor.

Hand in your resignation letter

Forget about those cheesy videos of employees who made emotional videos and sent them to their bosses as a resignation letter. They only work if you are out to become an internet celebrity after you quit job. Your resignation letter should be a precisely drafted legal document that informs your employer that you will no longer be offering your services to the organization after a certain date. You do not have to delve into the details as to why you quit your job. Keep it short, polite and formal. Outline any transition plan you are willing to make and implement. Express your gratitude to your boss for the opportunity.

Schedule a meeting with your boss about your exit

This may be the most difficult part of exiting from your current position but it is necessary. Have a short meeting with your boss and inform him/her that you will no longer be working for the organization. Future employers may seek a recommendation from your former boss so it is important to leave in good terms.

Handle pending administrative matters

If your organization has a well-established HR department, you may be required to attend an exit interview. Attend the interview and keep your criticism concise and constructive. Fill in the paperwork that you may be required to fill in to cater for things such as your retirement benefits and your health insurance. Clear with all the departments you need to clear with. Let your colleagues, particularly your successor, know that you are leaving. You may not have a good experience at the organization but that does not mean you cannot positively influence those who still work for the organization. Share the lessons you have learned from your job with your colleagues.

pexels-photo-704767Forge ahead!

The only way to move forward is to step forward. Once you have left your job, embrace what’s ahead of you. It will be terrifying at times. It will be heartbreaking and exciting at other times. It may not work out after the first, second and third attempts. However, it pans out, embrace it, learn from it and go for it. There is no loss in trying and failing but failure to try due to fear of loss is the biggest loss.

Good luck with your exit!

Do you mind taking a short survey about your previous exit from your job? It would mean so much to us. Click the link below and answer the questions.

Survey on Leaving Your Job

If you are on verge of changing careers, do check out our website, Crystal Recruitment a leading recruitment agency in Kenya for opportunities that we have and apply today!

Top six questions you need to ask an employer during an interview

pexels-photo-355952.jpeg“Do you have a question for us?”

This is a common phrase from interviewers during interviews and the expectation is that the candidates will have prepared several questions for them. Asking questions in an interview is an indication that you did your research and are well prepared.

Most candidates have great answers to the questions posed by interviewers. Some of them have great CV’s and a track record that cannot be ignored. However, they go under the seat when their turn to ask questions comes at the end of the interview. From my interactions with candidates, many of them confuse this with an opportunity to sell themselves to the hiring team. Others do not ask questions because they do not know whether their questions are appropriate. This boils down to anxiety, lack of confidence and poor preparation. Fortunately, we have done interviews for so long that we have developed a cheat sheet for you( do not tell anyone about it).

Here are our top six  questions you need to pose to interviewers during an interview:

1. What would I be expected to do on a typical day/week/month if I was hired for this position?

It may seem like an obvious question but it is absolutely important to find out what your interviewer expects from you. Having an employer lay out what you are expected to do ensures that there are no nasty surprises once you get hired. A candidate who successfully applied for a position as a personal assistant quit her job after a week after being told by her boss that she was supposed to pick up his laundry and supervise his children as they did their homework in the office. Upon further inquiry, she was told that the previous personal assistant used to perform those duties in addition to her daily duties. Having expectations laid out for you during the interview process helps you decide whether you would like to take up the job or not.

images (23)2. Would I be undergoing any form of training after getting the job?

An ambitious candidate not only applies for jobs because he or she meets the criteria but also because he or she wants to grow career wise. If you lack some of the skills that one is required to have in order to perform well, this question helps you determine whether there is an opportunity to acquire those skills before embarking on the job. It also helps you gauge whether your potential employer has opportunities for you to develop professionally. Some companies have an initial training period of up to three months. If you have another job and you require to serve a notice of a similar amount of time, it may be wise to state so during the interview as you pose this question.

3. What are the performance expectations for this position?

It may seem obvious that anyone who gets the position has to perform but the performance expectations may not be that obvious. Posing this question helps you set your mind and attitude towards the attainment of targets as per your position. If the performance expectations are not commiserate to the resources provided by the company, then this question would help you determine whether you still want to take up the job. Moreover, this question will help determine what sort of salary you should accept  should they extend an offer if successful through the selection stages.

4. What are the next steps after the interview process?

No one wants to wait to hear from an employer forever. This questions helps you to have realistic timelines in mind as you await to hear from your employer. This question helps you know what to expect and when to expect it. It is also a way of getting some reassurance from your employer after the interview. You can also check with them what sort of medium will they use to provide feedback.

pexels-photo-66134.jpeg5. Will I be working with a team? If I am, could you tell me a little about the team?

Everyone indicates that he or she is a team player in their CV’s. The true test of this attribute is when you are actually introduced to the team. Candidates have been known to quit their jobs after a short time because of teams that were impossible to work with. Find out who you will be reporting to. Find out whether there are any challenges that the team has been dealing with. Find out how the organization has been building the capacity of the team and promoting team work within the organization. Find out about the work culture among the teams in the organizations.

6. What sort of advancements can I work towards while working in this department?

This question will give you a glimpse into opportunities for mobility within the company. The last thing you want as a candidate is a dead end job that leads you nowhere. Your ultimate goal as a candidate should be to grow in your career path. Advancement may in form of training opportunities, promotion and mentorship opportunities.

Do you want to change careers? Crystal Recruitment, a leading Recruitment Agency in Kenya works with Employers and we may have your next career on our Job Board. Be sure to check it out.

Is your CV selling you? Try These Tips!

First, the basics – Correct Contact Details.

Your contact details must be up to date, and correctly spelt. Remember that errors can cost you  a Job?

It is not uncommon to get CVs of candidates whose contact details are incorrect or the emails are miss pelt hence bounces. That is a straight ticket to missing out on an interview.

Furthermore, when job hunting and you get a missed call of an unknown number, please do call back. Sometimes, when there are so many job applicants, the recruiter moves on to available candidates. A call back also means you can make follow ups which is a plus in itself.

 

Second: Read the Job Specification then respond like for like

Are they looking for a Customer Service Executive? Do you have have similar skills? Any achievement around retaining a client or up-selling through your outstanding customer service? Highlight that.

Use keywords specific to that job you are applying for.

That means if you were to apply for an Account Manager position, then you would rewrite your CV to capture your Client relationship skills.

Basically, one CV is not one fit for all jobs. And if it is not an entry Level position, then be selective in putting your energies in positions that you are confident if hired, your would excel. What we mean is, if you are sending out your CV to 5 different jobs with different job titles and you have the right skill set thus are sure you can do either of the job, then you will be writing 5 cover letters and 5 CVs highlighting why you are best suited for the different roles.

 

Third: Beauty lies in the Eyes of the Beholder

This is all about formatting, spacing, fonts, layout and length. We did share a few fonts that are most attractive in the last article.

Your CV body font should be between 10 and 12 points and the headings to be 14 and 18 points. When it comes to margins, a 2.5 cm is decent enough. The right spacing does bring out clarity and professionalism.

We have seen CVs that are 16 pages long. The common rule of the thumb is that your CV should be at a maximum of 2 pages . If possible one page.

What is the length of your current CV?

To let you in on a secret, a CV gets on average a 90 seconds view and from there it is either, “Trash, Consider Later or Good to Shortlist” . So next time you are writing your CV, try picture where you want your CV to land and what you can do about that

It is advised to save your CV in a PDF format unless advised otherwise. This is because a PDF document will maintain its formatting no matter the device used to open it.

Furthermore, another reason to save your CV in PDF format is that most PDF files can be easily opened online thus you get a faster view visa-a-vi a word document file that must first be downloaded before viewing. When recruiters are working against time and they get great pool of applicants from those already viewed online as their CVs are in PDF files, the rest may have to wait for another day.

 

Fourth: The Content

This is where the rubber meets the road. The meaty stuff in your CV will get you the well deserved interview.

Your CV should be written chronologically including both years of graduations and work experiences.

If you have been out of school for 5 years and less, then you start with your education then go to experience.

If you have been working longer, then the experience takes precedence and later include your education details.

Do not exaggerate or falsify information for either the work experience or education. The best of recruiters will sniff you out once they do their reference and background checks.

Do highlight your honors and key achievement.

Focus on your wins. Think through your career as you write your CV and do put effort into demonstrating your most significant achievements that could have led to getting awards, recognition, rewards etc.

Avoid too many bullet points and listing “your previous job description word for word”.

When talking of your work experience, try to think numbers and metrics. Be clear on the measurable and the quantifiable e.g, Instead of saying you were a Regional Manager at Company Y,  you could say you were Regional manager implementing new systems across 3 countries while managing 6 cross-cultural teams.

As for extracurricular activities, do focus on those that are most relevant to the job, in that they will add a special touch to show you can indeed do the job. It is a nice to demonstrate that you can manage a team as you hold office in a Not for Profit Community Organization and you have been instrumental in implementing the organization’s mandate even if you may not be in a managerial role in your current employment.

 

Final: References

Unless asked to include, you can always write a line, “To be Availed Upon Request” or remove the line altogether if you no longer have space.

Bonus Tip;

When submitting your application via an email address, please remember the following:

  • The Subject Line should be the Title of the Job you are applying for.
  • Do not send blank emails – share a little bit more about your suitability for the role on the body of the email
  • Follow instructions – if told to include a cover letter, do include a cover letter.

If you are working with a Leading Recruitment Agency, do ask questions about the potential employer and their expectation of interested candidates.

CV Writing? The Absolute DONT’s

“Have a better CV”.

“Change the titles”. 

“Make it shorter”.

“Use an attractive font”. 

These are common phrases I use in my day to day work as a Recruiter after speaking with a candidate who has great potential but sometimes, not such a good CV. The advantage they would have is that the Hiring Manager would listen to me since I have done the initial screening. However, were we to base our decision on the CV alone, the candidate wouldn’t stand a chance.

The reality is that not all companies use Recruitment Agencies and sometimes candidates must follow the application procedure set down by the Hiring Companies, meaning their CV will either be the tool to give them an interviewing opportunity or not.

So what are these mistakes that could be your downfall in a job search?

Typographical Errors (Typos, grammatical errors)

Spelling

I think this tops the list of the No-Nos when it comes to your CV. Such a mistake will take your application to the trash/reject folder faster than it landed in the inbox folder. Some of the things to do to avoid this deadly mistake include;

  • Proof read the CV.
  • Print out and check again.
  • Have a friend check for you because, let us be honest, it can be hard identifying your own mistakes.
  • Use other tools like Grammarly.
  • You can create your own resume proof reading checklist, or you can use this one that I found pretty interesting. In simpler terms, there is no excuse for such an error.

Lack of Consistent Formatting

Once you have made sure you have no spelling or grammatical errors, then you need to check your formatting.

Have a  form of consistency. From the font used, sizes, headings etc. Let there be a sense of a flow.

When not sure, look for templates online. There are a thousand of them that you can customize. Let the Recruiter want to read through your CV at just a glance of the CV.

Some of my favorite fonts that I have used so far include;

  • Gill Sans
  • Cambria
  • Garamond
  • Calibri
  • Georgia

This goes to show you there are fonts that are not as attractive; rather they would dull your CV. Take time to research more and also remember that a Photographer’s CV would be very different from an Accountant’s CV.

Customize the format to your line of career and craft.

Gaps in your CV 

GAPSIt is encouraged that you write your CV in a chronological order including the years and months of the start and end of each employment.

Whether you took a sabbatical leave, time out to raise family, to venture into business, to do certain projects, take care of sick family member/relative etc, find ways to explain the same in your CV so that there are no gaps.

When you have gaps, it tends to leave an impression that you could be hiding something.

Irrelevant Information

It is advised that you do try as much as possible to keep your CV sweet and short yet giving a clear picture of who you really are.

Some of the things that are considered irrelevant:

  • Personal Information (Age, Marital Status, No. of Children, Gender, Religion etc).
  • Career Objective/Vision (Can only be useful if changing the industries completely hence a short summary why).
  • Copy pasting your current job description as tasks/responsibilities
  • Your Interests/hobbies (Unless it is in line with the position you are applying for).

Cliches and overused words

Instead, do find action words to use to display your competencies.

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Exaggerated information aka lies in your CV

Those who exaggerate or tell lies in their CV do somehow get caught.

My main question though is; why let a lie be the end of your career in the long term as your integrity comes into question?

Basically; what else have you/will you lie about??

There are other things to avoid such as listing too many jobs, too many bullet points, CV lacking sense of direction and progression of skills, qualifications not clear etc but I think they may not be as suicidal as those mentioned above.

A parting shot; when you get to the interview panel stage, make sure you can explain your CV in detail. Lack of doing so may just mean the end of the interview in that very moment. Master your CV, know it, every little detail and defend what you have written. 

For those in the job search, check our page for latest jobs and hopefully, with your great CV you get yourself an interview?

Do come back soon for the “Must to Do” for your CV to stand out.