Things That Merely Occupy Space on Your CV  

If you are interested in having your CV pass the scanning test, this is for you. First, let us discuss some scenarios. Have you ever walked into a Company’s Reception or Front Office (pre-pandemic of course)? What first impression did it give you about the Company? 

I have walked into the Front Office of certain companies, and my first impression was ‘Wow, ‘these people are super organised’; for certain other companies, I was disappointed and felt there was ‘some disorganisation around here’.

Let me clarify, it was not about luxurious furniture (for either category), but in their attention to details, orderliness, near immaculate state of the decors and fittings; the professionalism and comportment of the Front Desk Officer/Receptionist, and an endearing work environment created by the first and ignored by the later.

You are wondering what a Front Office scenario has to do with the information on your CV. It is about the first impression.

Your CV gives a Recruiter the first impression of you. A very good reason, you must give great attention to details to the CV you push out there. From the content to layout, to the type and size of the font, to organisation and readability; your CV should give a good first impression about you.

Your CV provides a Recruiter a glimpse of you? Are you professional? Do you have attention to detail? My experience shows that my perception of candidates is usually not too far from the impression they provide on their CV.  

Information That Occupy Space On Your

In reviewing a candidate’s CV or resume for interview shortlisting purposes, one key interest is suitability or potential for the job role. So it is important to give enough space to sell yourself under the ‘Work Experience’ section of your CV and leave out information, such as those discussed below that merely take up space on your resume.

Age:  It is not in all cases that a recruiter is interested in a candidate’s age during the first screening/shortlisting stage. Only include this if the job advert specified certain age for the job. It would nevertheless be required for an online job application form or at a later interview stage where you would have the opportunity to specify.

Home Address: Apart from the fact that this occupies space, it puts you in a disadvantaged position if your home address is too far away from the job location, especially if you are certain you can conveniently work in that location if employed. This is because a Recruiter could be looking at location suitability (if an employer has emphasized this) in deciding during the shortlisting stage. In place of home address, include Email address, contact telephone number(s), and State as location. 

Nationality, Province, State of Origin, Town, Place of Birth, or Local Government:  Except for government or civil service jobs where any of such information may be required; or for an online job application where any of these could be required, this form of information is not necessary for your CV. In today’s ever-changing world of commerce with scarce human capital, employers are looking for problem solvers and those who will help their businesses, even if they come from the ‘moon’. Moreso, the diversity and inclusion advocacy and reality is making such information less pronounced in a recruitment process

Language:  If you are a national of a country with English as an official language, a language section where you specify fluency in English and your mother tongue for a local job is taking up space. Your language section will be more relevant if it is an international language – such as French, Chinese, Japanese, or Russian and for a job outside your home country. 

An exception is where there is a requirement for English fluency or local or mother tongue language in the job advert. An example, an international organisation could need local language skills for its operation in a country. Say a job advert in Nigeria that requires the successful candidate to be fluent in any of the local languages – Igbo, Efik, Hausa, or Yoruba; same for South Africa, India, or any other country with local mother tongues other than English or French.

However, if you are a national of a country with a language other than English as an official language, you may need to insert your language fluency including English to support your application. This also applies to persons residing in multi-racial environments such as the United States, United Kingdom and, Canada.

Photograph: There is no need to include a photograph on an already crowded CV page. It is more a distraction than an addition. Save this for when you are asked to upload a photograph. However, this can be relevant for beauty pageant applications or jobs specifically requesting an applicant’s photograph (in such a case, there are better options for upload and you can avoid having it pasted on your CV).

Lengthy List of Skills: I have seen CVs contain half a page on Skills candidates claim to have. Skills are subject to proof, and can only be proved at interviews (sometimes) and mostly on the job. Instead of using have a page listing your skills, use that space under your work experience to detail what you did on the jobs you have held and highlight some of your achievements on various jobs.

Your listed skills should include at least 3 – 4 technical skills relating to the job you apply for. An example, if you apply for the role of Microbiologist or a Quality Control Officer, you can include laboratory testing skills, research skills, numerical and analytical skills, use of computer and, any other non-technical skills (that you have). Your skills list should not be more than 6 or 12; this leaves enough space under work experience for what you have done (your experience); which invariably shows what you can do (your potentials).

Specific Country Requirements: Note that some of the categories of information addressed here may be key requirements in certain countries (for tax or immigration purposes). If you relocate to another country, it helps to download CV templates for that country and adapt your CV to fit the country’s recruitment specification; or engage an experienced Recruiter in that country to review your and adapt your CV.

Concluding, before you submit your CV for the next job opening, review it and ask yourself if:

– your CV contains the information the recruiter is looking for in the ideal candidate on your CV?  

– your CV is full of too much information not required at the first screening stage?

– if your CV can pass the few minutes scanning tests?

In the last couple of years, I have reviewed over 10000 CVs manually in the course of recruiting for our Clients, and I have seen job seekers provide too many details and most times miss out on relevant information needed at the screening stage.

This first-hand information is part of the reasons my team and I include CV reviews in our Online Career Coaching Sessions. If you will like to have your CV reviewed, click the contact button to sign-up for our online career coaching session.

I hope this has been helpful. If you like what you have read, do visit the Resources–Careers section of my website http://www.afomauchendu.com for more job search and career guides. And remember to click the share button to share this with your network, like, comment, or ask questions below. I will be glad to interact with you

Learn Cover Letter Essentials

Ever wondered or panicked about how to put together a cover letter or cover email to support your job application. No need to worry anymore. In this section, I will share in brief, what I have called ‘Cover Letter Essentials’. Within this context, they are things or items that should not be found missing in your job application cover letter or cover emails.

It is important to note that while some recruiters are moving towards online application (which require applicants to complete job applications in an online platform, sometimes without the need for a cover letter), a large percentage of recruiters or employers still use the not too old email job application approach. This article provides tips on what to include.

So here you are, you just found this exciting opportunity that you think is fit for you, before you click your send button, be careful to note that your cover email or cover letter contains these essentials:

Subject: This can be the position you are applying for, example: Data Analyst. It could also be a phrase ‘Application For the Position of a Data Analyst’.  Avoid leaving this section empty, especially if it is an application through email;  use of generic terms such as ‘Job Title’ or ‘Application’ is neither a good practice nor will it put you in good light. Such words  would also mean nothing to a recruiter or hiring manager who is probably reviewing hundreds of emails for several positions at the same time. Generic words as subject could also mean that yours could be an unsolicited application, which may be ignored.

Introduction: Do a brief introduction – not necessarily stating your name, but a line to express your interest in the advertised role with specific mention to the role.

Body of Letter: Here is your opportunity to pitch. Briefly explain your experience and skills in relation to the role. Make it brief and no more than five to six lines.

Closing: A line to express appreciation to the recipient or let him/her know your interest in further discussion is a good way to close. An example: ‘I thank you for your time and look forward to receiving your response’.

Signature: Like in a standard official letter, always close your cover email or cover letter with a closing salutation and your name as signature. Example of closing salutations include – Yours sincerely, Yours faithfully, Kind Regards, and Best Regards.

There you have them. Cover letter and cover email essentials. Be sure to modify within the context of recruitment practice in your country and remember to use them when next the opportunity arises.

Conclusion: Job application is your first step to be in front of the recruiter, albeit online and on a screen, make sure you represent yourself well and never miss out on the essentials.

Next, I recommend, make your email or letter brief, except there is specific requirement for word or character length, do not write very lengthy cover email or letters.

But also very importantly, read the job application guidelines and follow the instructions provided.

Got questions, comments or experience to share, please do so in comments section below or hit the contact button.

My best wishes in your career journey.

Recruitment Myths You Need To Know As You Search for Employment [Part 2]

In the first part of this article we looked at six (6) recruitment myths job seekers need to beware of in their search for employment. I understand the challenges job seekers face in trying to land that dream job and have shared this as part of my goal to make job search easier for people. In this edition, I discuss the concluding part of the article – six additional myths (Myths 8 – 12) below. So let’s go.

Myth 8: An Unsolicited Application Will Receive Attention:  

A single recruitment process consumes hours and can take several days or weeks.  As a result, attention and time is usually given to on-going recruitment and less if any to unsolicited job applications.  Some people do get lucky, but the chances are slim, especially with most organisations that have a policy against unsolicited applications. 

My suggestion, before you submit an unsolicited application, research to ensure that it is a position such an organisation advertises very often.   Example, an unsolicited job application to an organisation that frequently advertises for a software developer or a customer relationship officer has more chances than a position that is rarely advertised by such an organisation.  Trust me, I have erred in this severally as an applicant, and now we receive several unsolicited job applications for positions our clients are not seeking and we are unable to address every single one of them.

Myth 7: My Job Application Gets Noticed But Ignored:

Again from Myths 1 and 2 discussed in Part 1, we have seen how it is possible for job applications not to get noticed. Recruiters do not deliberately ignore applications. Remember organisations are run by humans and operate in environments, so things happen. When a candidate’s job application does not get noticed, it does not always mean that he/she is a bad fit, it was just not noticed and someone was chosen.  It is always best in such a circumstance, to move on fast to the next opportunity.

Myth 9: Applicant’s Work Experience and Qualifications Makes Him or Her Fit:

Candidates are usually surprised when they receive a rejection email, especially if they have performed well at an interview with a line-up of work experience and qualifications also going for them.  

Great work experience and qualifications are not the only ticket that gets us a job offer (also see Myth 12 below).  There are several factors that organisations consider in a recruitment decision.  This means that a candidate may rate high in some criteria, but miss out in some key ones and therefore will not be chosen.  Again, such a situation does not make such a person unsuitable for all jobs; he/she has just not been found suitable as presented by the organisation’s current need, situation or circumstance. 

Myth 10: Recruitment Decision is Taken Speedily:

Things happen for individuals and organisations.  For instance, an organisation may interview with a contract or expansion, then hit roadblock internally or externally. There are also instances where circumstances put organisations in a state of indecisions after they have identified suitable candidates.  

Such and many other factors can cause a lack of or delay in communication especially where intricate confidential matters are involved.  Say, a key person leaves an organisation, company goes bankrupt, company is in debt, office politics or bureaucracy, change in organisational direction, sudden awareness of limited budget or delay in a particular project execution, environmental issues causing change in business priority.  

Delicate matters such as any of these could delay recruitment decisions much longer than even an organisation or a recruiter anticipates. These are partly reasons why some candidates get called for employment six months after they have forgotten about such a job opening or never get called even after they have reached the final rigorous interview stage.

Myth 11: Recruiters Should Settle for Something:

I see some job applicants apply for jobs where they are indirect fits. People call this, trying luck.   Truth is that a recruiter will focus his/her limited hours on candidates that are potentially fits.   

My advice to avoid this trap is to properly read the job announcement and apply for jobs where you meet the criteria as near as possible and where your skills and potentials give you better chances.  There are organisations in need of your skills, find them.  

Myth 12: Any Interview That Does Not End with a Job Offer Means Failure:

I have seen CEOs make recruitment decisions on the basis of ‘connection’ with a candidate; or a candidate’s likely fit into an existing team or culture. None of these has anything to do with a candidate’s competency, but an organisation’s peculiar need and circumstance.  When this happens, such a candidate was just found unfit in line with an organisation’s core need or issues, but could be a great fit somewhere else.

As mentioned above, things happen for people and organisations that completely disrupt organisational plans and impact recruitment processes and decisions.  

It is important not to allow interview outcomes to define who you are or affect your self-esteem.  Learn from any mistake you may have identified and improve your skills for future opportunities.

Therefore, for every interview that does not end with an offer, find the job and organisation where you will be a fit. Your opportunity awaits you.

In Conclusion, you can manage your emotions and expectations better when you remember that there are lots of human factors, environmental, socio-economic, political, governmental and natural situations that go on in organisations;  that could impact how your job application is handled.  If one door did not open, simply knock the next, and keep knocking till a door is open for you.  

Here you have them, 12 Recruitment Myths You Need To Know as You Search for Employment. This list is definitely not exhaustive, but has covered some important points of note.  This post is not written in defense of recruiters, but to give a preview of issues around recruitment that will help persons seeking employment better manage their expectations and more importantly their emotional well-being.

I hope this has been helpful.  If you like what you have read, do visit the Resources –Careers’ section of my website http://www.afomauchendu.com for more job search and career guides. And remember to click the share button to share this with your network, like, comment or ask questions below. I will be glad to interact with you.

My best wishes in your career journey.

Kind Regards,

How to Handle Job Application Process in a Professional Way

Many Job Applicants stay longer in their job search journey, not because they are unqualified or have no relevant skills for the jobs they apply, but most times, because of the way they handle their job application process. In this post I share some tips, you will find useful.

Avoid Typos:  Before you click the send button, proofread your CV, Cover Letter and Cover Email carefully to be sure there is no typing error.  Error-free document is a sign of having attention to details, an important skill for any job.

Communicate: Along with your CV, your application should contain a cover email. Do not send only your CV without a word on the body of your email.  It is not courteous and shows poor skills.

Cover All Sections: Your application should contain a subject, cover email, (a cover letter where requested), and your cover email should include a closing section and your name.   Do not just say, ‘please find attached’.

Example of Closing Section:

“I look forward to your consideration.

Kind Regards,

Clara Michael”

Be Vigilant: Check your inbox including your junk mail folder more frequently and respond to interview invitations promptly.

Do Not Ignore Interview Invitations. When you receive an invitation for an interview, it is important to respond, whether you want to accept, decline or reschedule the interview. This puts you in a good state for any future encounter with the Recruiter.  It is a small world!

Take Your Job Application as a Business: Apply for jobs that you are sure to see through. Do not apply for jobs for the sake of trying your luck, for the fun of it, or apply for tons of jobs you cannot track, and then ignore an invitation for an interview. 

Listen to the Audio, click here Online Interview Guides to Help Boost Your Performance  www.afomauchendu.com https://open.spotify.com/episode/4kt3bfubjUH3jLsaS2gx5P

Keep Track.  If you apply for so many jobs at a time, create a tracking system, write down all your job applications, such as the company or the recruiter, the positions and the dates you applied.  Check your list each time you get an invitation or search your ‘Sent Items’ folder. It is unprofessional to tell a Recruiter that you do remember applying for a job.

Commit to Interviews: If you accept an invitation to attend an interview, make efforts to attend.  If you need to cancel or reschedule, inform the Recruiter ahead.

Be Courteous: Remain courteous throughout the recruitment process, no matter how upset you may feel with the way a recruiter has handled your application. Stay respectful and courteous. Remember we are all humans and do err; more so, interpersonal skill is one of the sought after skills in labour market, so arm yourself with it during your application process. In a nutshell, stay professional in your approach and interaction.

If you have found this helpful, there are more tips on the Resources – Career section of my website, http://www.afomauchendu.com. Remember to help someone else – click the share button to share this; or comment, like or ask questions. You can also subscribe at http://www.afomauchendu.com so that each new post lands on your email box.

Best wishes in your career journey.

Kind Regards.

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