5 Ways to improve your Resume

By IRISHA LUHANGA

As a search firm we are constantly looking and assessing CV’s when we recruit candidates.  I thought I would share some insights into what I look for, what makes candidate’s stand out and a few tips on how you can get organised during lockdown. Your CV is your first impression, so put in the effort to make it great.

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When I am given a CV, the first thing I do is look at is:

  1. A profile of yourself which explains to a potential employer what they get if they hire ‘you’. If you are clear about what type of job you are looking for, you can include it in your profile. Start with a good cover letter. Your cover letter may be the first thing a potential employer reads. Make sure you give a clear answer to the question “Why am I the right person for this job”. Your answer should be clear and concise and excite the reader to want to learn more about you.

  2. Work history with no unexplained gaps. A successful CV is a truthful one. Avoid the temptation to exaggerate your previous experience.

  3. Your achievements and significant responsibilities in chorological order. These should demonstrate the points you have put in the profile. Your CV should highlight your most impressive and important career moves. There is no need to list absolutely everything you have done or achieved; you can mention these things in your interview or hint at them in your cover letter. Ask yourself: What are the achievements most applicable for this particular job? The things that make you stand out from other candidates are your achievements – not the job titles, not the projects you have been involved in but what difference you have made. What were the beneficial results of what you did – you engaged stakeholders, but did you see an increase in their level of participation? Did you see a decrease in the number of negative rumours building up about your project?

  4. Important Qualifications and Professional memberships – if relevant and significant to the job you are applying for.

  5. I then google the name – the first couple of spots on google are usually taken by LinkedIn (if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, please create a profile).
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So I click on your profile and start to read. I look at your photo and then quickly scan the job titles you have had and look to see if you have put your achievements next to these. I look for your list of qualifications and whether they are in alignment with your jobs and especially the things you are telling me you are an expert at and/or are passionate about.

One Last Tip: Save your CV as a PDF so that any formatting won’t be corrupted and will appear to the hiring manager in the manner you intended. Finally, please proof reading your CV. Once you’ve read your CV out loud, reread it, word by word, starting at the bottom of the document and working your way back up. This technique works well when you’re trying to catch spelling mistakes that spell check didn’t pick up. Also have a friend or two read through your application and check for mistakes. Your CV is essentially a piece of marketing material – you are the product, the customer and your CV is the sales pitch. To sell the ‘product’ clearly and persuasively and presentation is important.

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