January 14, 2012

ILLUSTRATION: Creating a More Effective CV (Part 1)

So it's the weekend... *yay*

I know for most job seekers, it's the best of days to do the job hunt. Hence, I've decided to give picture illustrations of achieving an effective CV.  

Effective CV= Effective Job hunting!

I have used a CV I reviewed recently, making some changes to personal information for privacy reasons.

The first image is the original CV that was sent to me for review and the second CV is the reviewed one. Can you notice any differences?

Now this is the CV that was sent in....

Notice how the CV above is packed full will TOO MUCH information. The owner of this CV used all the tricks in the book to make this CV fit into 2 pages - reduced fonts, adjusted margins and little spacing between different sections (Perhaps he did this to remain compliant with the so-called "2 Page CV" rule. I'll do a post on this soon)

The message he sent with this CV was "I was told no HR can read it because it's too comprehensive"

I'm beginning to see that the keyword with CVs is CLARITY, CLARITY, CLARITY!

For a start, I removed unnecessary information - of which this CV (above) had ALLOT. The next image shows the reviewed CV. Continue reading to see my notes on what was changed and why.

This is the CV after I reviewed it...

Take a look at the "Competences" Section of the original CV (first image). On the post "How to Show off Your Skills on Your CV" (to be uploaded soon), I talked about the most effective ways of conveying information about your skills to recruiters. I advised to avoid using vague statements to describe your skills. Such statements include:
- Superb in results-oriented, self-motivated, decision-making, planning and organizing skills
- Understanding and approacthing techincal isses coupled with an enthusiasm for technical challenge
- Superb in ading value, pro-active, hard working, dynamic, critical thinking and problem solving skills
- Good in basic Mechanical Engineering Services and good in making researches on critical/difficult issues
- Commitment to safe working practices desire for continuos learning, strength of character and stress tolerance

This CV had about 14 of such statements. I don't think any recruiter out there will sit down to read all these. Hidden somewhere in the middle of these 14 items, important information on IT Skills had been hidden:
- Superb in Corel Draw, PDMS and AutoCAD for design
- Knowledge of Microsoft suites such as Ms Word, Ms Excel, Power Point and internet (I have highlighted the "internet" in red because I really don't see that as a skill a recruiter will look out for in a CV)

I moved these IT Skills away to a new section "Computer / IT Skills" and deleted the remaining 12 items.

After the "Competencies" Section, there was another section with yet another listing of skills in a rather ineffective manner. The "Qualities and Skills" Section.
This section listed about 12 items in the same ineffective manner described above.  Listed items included:
- Ability to recognize problems in some engines and communicate ideas
- Ability to work with little, without direct supervision and work under pressure
- Ability to follow instructions accurately and ability to evaluate jobs periodically
- Abiluty to schedule tasks and events and ability to monitor project programmes
- Ability to carry out quality inspections and ability to oversee zero break-down engines
- Ability to monitor the functioning of all engines and quick response to engines breakdown

If you look at these items properly they appear to be the fall out of duties on a job. These skills are better reflected through the entries in your work experience section. When you list skills in this manner, it looks like tales which anyone can cut and paste BUT when you reflect these skills through your duties ona job, a recruiter can immediately picture your ability to do these things.
I deleted this section.
Moving on to the "Employment and Work Experience" Section, notice that duties have been listed. However, some of the listed duties are irrelevant and were deleted from the reviewed CV.

I have noticed that some people hide the "Personal Information" and "Education" Sections of their CVs at the bottom of the CV.

I really don't see  any reason why Personal Information should be hidden at the bottom of the CV.
As for the "Education" Section, I've noticed that the practice of keeping this section at the bottom of the CV is much more common among people with advanced career history who perhaps have a  Career Path that is different from their Education.
At entry level (which the owner of this CV is at) I advise you keep your "Education" Section a the top of your CV. Most jobs requirements at entry level insist on certain Education/Academic requirements and recruiters in such cases will need to see this foremost when they look at your CV.

The final section of the CV under review - "Reference". I am not a fan of detailed Reference on CVs mainly for the sake of confidentiality. It really is not good sending someone's contact information all over the place. Recruiters will usually contact your Referee after some test and interview stages. They will ask of it when they need it. For the CVs I've reviewed so far I have removed from some and other times I haven't. This really has no real effect on whether or not you get a job. I advise you remove it from your CV unless a recruiter states that it should be included. The "Available on request" signoff is good enough.

I highlighted the "Career Objective" Section in red because it is a poorly written Career Objective. I usually use red highlights on CVs to note things I need a CV owner to work on.
Please refer to my post on Career Objectives under the title "CV Review Note (Part 1)".

I advise you do some initial work on your CV before sending it in for review. I'm sure if you work with this example and the ones o come, you should be able to achieve very good improvement on your CV.

Happy weekend!


 Creating a CV: An Additional Guide
Illustration - Creating a More Effective CV (Part 3)
Illustration - Creating a More Effective CV (Part 2) 

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