Some seven years ago, I was leading a team that was recruiting four engineers. I had noticed that most job adverts stated that they want three or five or even more years of experience. I told my team that we should split the four jobs into two lots. Two positions for those with three to five years of experience and the remaining two targeting fresh graduates.
For the two positions assigned to fresh graduates, we had a problem to shortlist. We received something like 20 or 30 applications from fresh graduates. Their CVs were nearly identical. We needed to shortlist a maximum of five candidates for this lot. It was difficult. They all listed their degree in electrical engineering plus the modules they covered in the first year at Poly, second year and all the way to the fifth year. Most of them did not add much more content than this standard ‘template’.
What we did then was to shortlist those whose degree was at least at credit grade or above – our reasoning was that those with credit and above are possibly hard-working people and fast at learning. Then, we looked at the remaining CVs and picked one or two who did not have a credit, but had done some leadership roles at college.
Even experienced professionals make the mistake of only including in the CV the basic job description. In that way, you place yourself at bare minimum level of consideration. You do not stand out that way. Instead of listing the job description, focus on your achievements under every job you have done previously. You can still briefly describe what your job entails, but more detail should be on what you achieved – the unique contribution that you made above the call of duty.
In fact, the CV is not written the day you take pen to paper. You write the CV as you work on a daily basis. That is why it is important that in every job, you should stretch yourself to perform outstandingly and beyond the average expectation. Your output must be outstanding. If you are a salesman, beat the target regularly and write in the CV that you always beat your targets. If you are customer service officer, show how customer satisfaction ratings improved since your joined your team and what you did to achieve that.
As you work, you need to have your CV in mind. Work to the best of your ability so that you can produce outstanding output that can make your CV shine when you write it. Do not wait for the day you take pen to paper before you can make a good CV. A good CV is made as you work. This means that your work should always be of high grade so that your CV can also be of high grade and stand out. From time to time, search for what you can do to stand out from the crowd. Look for things you can do that will have amazing impact on your department or section or the company. If you find good ideas, suggest to your boss or superiors so that you can initiate projects or activities that take your job to the next level, thereby making your CV outstanding.
Another way to make your CV outstanding is by doing some things outside the job. This could be works you do in the community or at church or even your hobby. May be you were a good footballer when you were younger, you could now be a volunteer coach for a community team and help them win big games and leagues. That would be a good hobby to include in your CV. That will show you are a winner and good at competitive strategy. It will demonstrate that you have the strength and will to win. Recruiters want winners and they don’t find them in abundance. You will already be standing out from the crowd this way.
Good luck as you work to make your CV shine – the way you work and the way you write your CV. This way, you will rise and shine! n