Emphasis is on the Please. I used to have a not-great CV. Taking Udacity’s Nanodegree Course, in which a section was dedicated to writing good enough CVs, I realized how many things I was doing wrong.
I’ve seen CVs of many friends, and with the little I learned from the Nanodegree course, I realize things could be better.
Not many tertiary institutions may have career-related short extra curricula course teaching students how to prepare a good CV (should they?) Students can find many resources online which touches on getting the best CV out there, so perhaps students could research.
If you are a national service personnel putting together your CV or done with National Service and in search of a job in the REAL world, you may find the hints in this article useful.
Although having a good enough CV won’t necessarily get you a job, it sure will make your application stand out, in a multitude of ‘horrible-looking’ CVs. And your CV standing out is definitely an extra benefit you would wanna have.
I’m no CV expert, but I don’t have to be an HR person or recruiter or employer to appreciate good CVs.
Without much ado, here are a few Dos I’ve seen from the CVs I’ve come across that should actually be Donts
Here We Go
Below are a few points to NOT include on your CV. You can and in fact, many do, but honestly, it is just useless and adds NO value nor any EXTRA value to your CV.
Marital Status: No, don’t add it. Please!
The topic of marital status would likely come into interview questions, if and when relocation discussion is on the table, since how easy or difficult to relocate would involve a lot more compared to being single. Or it can be any matter which would involve more than you just making the decision.
However, in general, your marital status – single, married, complicated, courting – are all nonsense. Your marital status won’t give your CV more marks.
Unless your job application is related to marriage counseling in which experience in marriage or not matters, no one cares if you’re married or not.
Just ignore the Marital Status.
You have a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Havard. Why list your BECE Certificate?
This blows my mind most of the time. As in, what is the problem? Schooling is a channel. Or a form of building blocks. Moving from low to high.
Common Sense indicates a BECE certificate is ‘heavier’ than whatever toilet roll was given you at the end of Grade 6 or Primary 6.
Likewise, a WASHSCE is higher than BECE.
So why list your BECE on your CV, taking very precious space, when you’ve got a Ph.D.? Your BECE certificate is 100% useless in this context!
If you were applying for a job where the highest requirement is a BECE certificate, then fine. But you wanna show your next job you’re the best possible candidate. Therefore, you throw your best-acquired education level cards on the table. That doesn’t include your lowest certificate, does it?
Or telling your potential employer you went to high school or primary school is any important?
Fitting a CV on a one-page document is crucial (more on that later), so please take away the BECE certificate to save space.
You are applying to Tullow as an Oil Engineer. You have Ph.D. in Something Oil-related, then you did maybe a Second degree in Oil-related thing too in another university. Have taken one or two professional courses on something oil-related from another university.
Good! Now you list something like this:
So-so-and-so University, PhD Something Oil related, 2017
This-and-that University, BSc Oil something, 2015
Duh College, Something Professional, Oil something, 2014
Now that you’re talking! Your application will catch the recruiter’s eyes. He or she will realize, your application as Oil Engineer is heavy and worth considering.
But you’ve listed the above, and include your BECE, WASHSCE, TOEFL, GCSE, NOV-DEC, and so on.
My breda, why all these distin?
So you’re fluent in Twi. But who said there’s an official language on earth called Twi?
Unless you’re applying to be a linguist or work in a language-related environment, where your language skills and variety there is matters. But you’re applying to be a Web Developer at a startup or a network engineer or an English or Mathematics or Economics Teacher in a Secondary School.
And you list languages and include Twi. What?
In the first place, any of the roles listed above defaults to the English language, which is our Official language (Thank God!)
So saying you can speak, write and understand Twi properly, how does it help with writing code as a Web Developer? How does that make you a better network engineer when traffic isn’t going through routers?
Will you be teaching Twi in Mathematics to the High School students?
Secondly, there is NO official language in the world called Twi or Akan. Or Ewe or Ga or anything for that matter.
Unlike a Russian or Zuluan (?) would go to an English land and speak their own language to be translated into English, any of the above Ghanaian languages don’t qualify, because even we ourselves don’t consider it an official language.
The point is unless the languages(s) you speak matters in your job application, and probably was stated on the job requirements posting, don’t include the languages you speak.
Sex – Not like having sex, but as in, your sex, whether male or female. Need to clarify the distin.
I’m a Male. I’m a Female. And so what?
Are you going to do the job with your ‘Sex’ or your mental capabilities? Ever heard the word, Ingratiation? Won’t your listing of your Sex create such an ingratiation attempt?
It is an offense generally for an organization to be gender/sex bias in their job seeking endeavors these days. Your sex is something if an employer is interested in the skills you potentially present, will find out on the day of the interview.
If you show up in a skirt, a nice ponytail hair, simple yet beautiful earrings, a modest high-heel shoe, a professional looking lipgloss, and a moderate facial makeup and yet the employer can’t figure out your sex, then… oh well!
If you’re in a tie for your interview, and your soothing bass-voice doesn’t help the interviewer to determine your sex, then I guess you’re in for a ride!
Don’t present your sex upfront on your CV. Let your skills and experience and educational background get you the recruiter’s attention, and you can show him/her your sex eventually in person, which isn’t as awkward as saying your sex on a paper!
Don’t add your Sex.
“Date of Birth: 1901 (Age 116 years old)”
Oh yeah, you’re this old? Nice. And so? How does your age make you the best candidate for the role or not? Because you’re 116 years old, you could securely network the company or you’ve got the best coding skills?
Just don’t beef up your CV with unnecessary details. Your age has nothing to do with the skills and experience you present to the company.
If you said, “Years of Experience: 1901 (for 116 years old)”, that would e a much more compelling story than telling the employer your age on your CV.
You CV is meant to carry weight, weight in the form of getting you closer to impressing the recruiter what your skills are and why you stand to be the highest fit for the company (at least in your eyes).
Don’t waste this opportunity telling employers your date of birth.
Will continue expanding this list. The points above are nothing new. Except it can be easy to do these basic yet seemingly grave mistakes on our CVs.
In time past, I have done all the Donts above – I put them on my CV. But now I don’t anymore, because of what I’ve been taught.