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RESUME/CV: ELEVEN THINGS THA MAY BE WRONG Resume, commonly referred to in our clime as Curriculum Vitae, CV occupies a larger than life position in the mind of every job seeker. And you can’t blame them. Most vacancy announcements invariably require a Resume/CV as the first point of contact for evaluation/screening purposes. Whenever you inform a contact you are looking for a job, the next question is “can you let me have your CV?” Without it, nothing can be done apologies, to Sir Shina Peters Really, I cannot take away anything from that reality. A good Resume is pivotal to an effective job search. Then it is no wonder that the road to a good job will bumpy and may be barren if your Resume is not good enough. Unfortunately not less than 60% of documents brandied about as Resumes are really of any use. Another 20% are barely passable, and cannot survive fierce competition in the Nigerian job market. In fact less than 10% are perfect or near perfect. So what are the fatal errors? i) ill- defined and Undefined job target/objective. Though it may not necessarily be on the resume, having a clearly defined job target/ objective is sine qua none for the development of a good Resume. It is indeed necessary for an effective job search. It provides the focus of the Resume. Unfortunately most job objectives are not clearly stated and clarified, while some job candidates don’t even have a job objective. “I don’t mind any job, just anything”, is a usual response to the question, “what kind of job are you looking for?” The job target/ objective should maser the question is “what would you like to do, given your skills, aptitude and experience? Where do you want to work? What are important to you?” You need to get all these clear in your mind, or better still, produced in a written form as your objective. (Whether you will eventually put it on your resume is another thing)ii) Poor understanding of the purpose for a Resume. You must understand this: your resume on its own is not meant to get you a job. This misguided reasoning is why you have resumes that are more or less a detailed life history of the candidate, sometimes, in flowery prose or crammed bullet power points. Irrespective of whether you are you are qualified for the job or not, if your resume did not say you are qualified or better still that you worth talking to, your resume won’t give you the desired response. iii) Inclusion of irrelevant information and exclusion of useful information. The errors of including information that have no bearing on the vacant position/job search are fairly common, and often due to ignorance or the need to ‘bulk-up’ the Resume/CV. The other variant is provision of incomplete information is but in this case, it is usually due to carelessness. I have seen Resume/CV without a contact address. The usual destination for such document is the bin. It is should contain information that is relevant to providing prima facie evidence that you are worthy of consideration for the job, if not better than the other applicants. iv). Inconsistency and obvious lack of integrity. Your resume must be internally consistent, and must show integrity. You must be ready and adequately able to defend the claims, facts and figures reflected in your Résumé. For example, when a 40-year old claims to have started primary school at 4, he needs a solid defence. Most children started school at 7-8 yrs in the 60/70’s. Can your educational and work history hold together? Another critical and immutable rule is that you should not lie in your CV. O yes, you are allowed to avoid putting negative things about yourself (even if they actually exist), and to stretch and slant the truth as much as you can. In fact you are expected to present yourself in the best possible light. v). Poor visual impact. People in marketing know the importance of physical attractiveness of product packaging- it is a key selling element. When your Resume is poorly laid out, crammed, haphazardly arranged, full of variations of fonts style, size etc, it is a sure put off. Some Resume are have be photocopied so many times (using bad photocopiers) that it requires great effort to decipher what was there.A piece of Resume/CV, likes sales literature has only 2-3 seconds to attract the reader’s attention, even before it is read. Never, ever handwrite your Resume/CV (I have seen this!) vi). Wrong or Inappropriate language. Resumes have their own language. For a start, it must be accomplishments/skill- based. Now there are many way of presenting these. What you say is important, but how you say it is just as important. For example, in writing your resume, the rules of grammar are modified from formal writing. It is not good to use “I” and to write long narratives. Ask yourself, “Can someone reading this Resume/CV easily understand what my skills and accomplishments are? Is the content “ tailored” to the job at hand?”vii) Typos, grammatical and unforgivable errors. The employer believes that the way you conduct your job search is the way you do your work. It is easy to infer that a candidate has poor mastery of English Language if his Resume is riddled with typographical and/ or grammatical errors. The other possible conclusion is that he is a careless person. Neither reason / conclusion are helpful in a job search. And there is really no way to differentiates between genuine error or carelessness/ incompetence. They are absolutely unacceptable to most employers; and may lead your document to the shredder/reject pile. Correcting such errors using handwriting is also a no, no, no. viii) Resume/CVs without “sell”. As already said elsewhere, your Resume/CV is an important self – marketing tool. In the job market, the “article” for sale is your candidature, and you happen to be the salesperson. Your Resume/CV is your sales brochure/literature. So its content, packaging and presentation must have “sell”. Unfortunately, most Resume/CVs are full of duties and duties. What they do not understand is that every position have duties and responsibilities, But not all occupiers of that position are able and successful. Employers are looking for occupiers that have abilities and are successful –often stated as a track record. So if your Resume/CV fails to identify and communicate your skills and accomplishments, then it will understandably be very ineffective. Another part of “sell” is employing key-words, the relevant statement of skills and abilities in the language understood and used in the field or occupation you are targeting. And you should not de-market yourself by excluding information and skills that are relevant to your job search- it doesn’t matter whether is work acquired or not.ix) Wrong Usage and Distribution Strategies. Even if you have a perfect resume/, deploying it wrongly may render it completely ineffective .It is akin to shooting at a target inaccurately (Sure, employers with advertised job opening, or those without current openings but hopes to have in future and recruitment agencies need to have your resume in their bank. But there are others good opportunities to use your CV/Resume. At any rate observe these in deploying your perfect Resume:• Do not send resume to a job title such as “production manager “If you can help it, do the extra work required to uncover the actual title and real names of the manager in question. • Don’t send your resume to the personnel human resources department alone: get it to the person with – the –power-to hire, most likely the head of department where you want to work • do not send your resume without a proper and effective cover letter • Mass- mailing your Resume to uncountable employers is not effective • Always bring extra copies of your Resume to an interview • Always have your Resume with you or at hand. You never can tell where and when you will need it. x) One Resume for all is obsolete. We all have an array of skills; we hardly can use or need all of them to perform in a job situation. Besides, no two jobs are exactly the same, just as no two employers are exactly the same either. And some people have more than one job targets/ objectives. In view of these, it is clear that it may be difficult to have only one Resume that will be appropriate and relevant to all job positions. So it is advised, especially for candidate will long work history, to target their CV. Ideally, all Resume should target the needs of a particular employer and a specific job position. This approach targets the needs of an employer and a specific job. However, it requires careful research of the industry, the employer, and the job position. This is a very powerful Resume strategy that can set you apart and capture an employer’s interest.xi) Inappropriate format. Your contents per se may be good and adequate. But it is possible that you have used the wrong, or better still the inappropriate format to present them.Basically, there are two formats chronological and functional Resume. The third type combines the elements of the first two. Chronological format emphasizes a chorological listing of employment and employment- related experiences. The functional Resume highlights skills, experiences and achievements without identifying specific dates, names and places. These basic formats do have variations. Whichever format you use depends on your work experience, growth pattern continuity of work experience, the dictates of the position, the specific information requirement of the employer, etc. It must be mentioned here that your Resume is not expected to be more than 2-3 pages. It is not expected to be a ‘long hand history of your working and non-working life.Sales people know that to succeed, you must be able to present your product in 2-3 minutes; otherwise the prospect may lose interest. The same principle applies here. I believe that whatever is key to your job search can be put in 2-3 pages. If you have something longer than this visit it with a well-sharpened machete, cut it out ruthlessly. You will be better of for it: these days when hundreds of applications are received for less than 10 positions, the employee won’t have the time reading all to determine what is important in your Resume, and what is not. You will probably achieve more if you use power point bullet presentation instead of flowing prose. You need to be simple, sharp and concise, using the smallest member of words to say what you want to say. So what is the focus of a strong resume? It is expected to achieve the following: (1) show that you can contribute positively to any job you take, as you have evidently done so in you previous engagements (2) show, clearly, that you are goal-driven, organized and ambitious (3) overall, convey an image of you that says that person looking at your resume can not conclude/proceed with his selection process without talking to you. Your resume will or won’t, achieve these on the strength of hoe you present your work experience, on the tone and readability and on its overall aesthetic appeal. Unfortunately most Resume are ‘strong’ in only in one area but not in the others.
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Date: September 12/13 Stata (AA) and SPSS (AB) and Eviews (BB)
September 17/18, 2016--Session LOS on request
September 24/25--Session LOS on request
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