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.

cv

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.

 

New Job Offer but Low Salary? NEGOTIATE!

We all get excited at the prospect of a new career and the benefits that come with it.

So, you go through the interview stages and finally they say they like you and want to make an offer. However, when you hear the offer your heart sinks as is not per your expectations.

What to do? Negotiate.

We negotiate on a daily basis whether we realize it or not and so you do not have to be a Master Negotiator to get the salary you desire or benefits package you hoped for.

Before turning the offer down or accepting the job offer to quickly, here are a few things to consider;

Your initial salary will determine your subsequent increments;

imagesnegotiateIt is commonly agreed that you would rather get a good package at the beginning than try to negotiate for a change half way. At the onset of making a hire, the Employer wants you on board and hence they are more flexible to your demands.

Most companies offer yearly salary increment based on performance and if you are to negotiate a better salary at the beginning of your employment, it would lead to increased earnings as you progress with your career and continue being a performer.

Look at the whole package

This is very crucial when it comes to jumping ship. Do not be too fixated on the base salary that you forget to put into consideration all other benefits such as medical cover, insurance for self and family, pension, allowances, bonuses etc.

There are also other nonfinancial aspects to think of when negotiating such as the work culture, flexi-working hours, the career growth prospects, training and development and company values in general.

You want to work in a company where you are excited to be in everyday being that we spend more of our time at the work place.

Project into the future

Put your imagination to use.

What will you gain having that company in your CV in let’s say 2-3 years time?

Does the opportunity provide a spring board to propel you further in your career?

Are there new skills that you will acquire in the new job?

What type of problems are you going to solve and how will this impact your career?

These are questions to generally ask when changing career so as not to make a plateaued kind of move where you find yourself stagnated, just a different location.

In essence, if the career benefits are overwhelming, and you accept the Job Offer,  you will have positioned yourself at a place that future employers fight for your kind of skill-set.

Watch out for ultimatums

Avoid giving the Employer ultimatums and also watch out when such is given.jumpship

Don’t be rushed into accepting a job offer because they said for example, “the offer expires in 1 day”. Ask for more time. And if they are not willing to give more time, then, in my opinion, they perhaps don’t deserve you?

The negotiation period should be a time where both parties are exploring best possible compromises and as much as time is of the essence, it shouldn’t be a ridiculous ultimatum.

Talk to Someone

As much as changing jobs is an individual decision, sometimes it does help talk to those who have gone before you. If possible, a mentor or a peer or a close friend who actually knows you well especially when it comes to your career.

You could use platforms like glassdoor and pay scale to gather intel but these alone can be misleading as could be an aggrieved employee writing negative material.

Have the Employer’s Needs in mind

Different companies have different pay scales and this is determined by several factors. Some could be at the start up phase, some are medium sized, others are restructuring etc. Hence is important to do your research to know the Employer’s current position when it comes to salaries and compensation and how that compares to their industry. This means then that you have to know the Employers needs and their priorities and if their priorities do fit with yours.

To note, a company can pay high salaries but their employees operate in a high pressured environment, or a company pays relatively average salaries but with a relaxed work environment.

I usually tell candidates that I work with that choosing an Employer is the kind of relationship that you want to be of value beyond monetary gains.

In conclusion, therefore, when evaluating what you are offered, visa-a-vi your current job, compare them from all possible angles before saying a quick Yes, or a regrettable No.

 

NB// We at Crystal Recruit 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.

Fear not, Resign Already!!!

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One of the hardest hurdles of a Recruiter’s life is when a candidate has accepted a new job offer but then accepts a counter offer from their current employer. And that takes you back to the drawing board if you did not have a back up plan. Anyway, I am digressing. So back to my main issue today, what do you do when you decide it is time to resign yet it becomes an insurmountable task and you are filled with doubt, or after you have handed in the resignation you contemplate on the counter offer given?

I do understand from personal experience that handing in a resignation, not to mention drafting one has never been an easy task (unless of course the Employer is terrible and you cannot wait to get them off your hair).

The focus of this article is however resigning from a great Employer; a job that you actually enjoy but then time has come to move on to something else, or just a break, whatever the reason is, you simply need to leave your Employer.

You think long and hard of the aftermath.

Others feel it is betrayal of sorts especially if the company was their first employer.

The first question to ask, “Will the company be just fine if something were to happen to you”? and the answer, a resounding YES.

We are all dispensable.

Having that simple knowledge gives you some morale to pick the pen and paper or just type your letter with intent to give notice. Knowing that there are actually people out there who can do your job way much better and probably cheaply should be more than enough to accept that your time is up and something greater awaits.

A major impediment to resigning is fear of the unknown for the new opportunity is an unfamiliar territory, new process and policies, new products, new colleagues, probably even in a  new country/location.

We as human beings are conditioned to resist change, we prefer the comfort zone, the predictable. And therefore, some rationalize, “why take on the new job with all the uncertainty, read ‘excitement’ yet can stay in the old with a better salary than before”?

I will be quick to point out that it is true some use the new job offer to negotiate for a better salary. (story for another day).

If you are in a such a place, ask yourself why you accepted the new job offer in the first place, or the journey you had to take to decide it is time to move on. Write down a comparative list on what you are gaining and losing by pursuing the new opportunity and what that means if you were to stay.

At the end of the day, resigning is an individual decision regardless of your ‘love’ towards your employer as reality has it; if the company shuts down , you equally lose that job, or if it downsizes and you are affected, you still lose job.

So in essence, work with facts, have the future and the bigger picture in mind and for a moment, put your emotions aside.

That should help you resign and if you are still not sure how to go about it, feel free to contact us  or through our social media page for further advice and support for Crystal Recruit is Kenya’s best Staffing and Recruiting Services.