CV in Kenya
How To Write a CV: CV Writing
The curriculum vitae (CV) should be concise, yet provide sufficient information to present effectively your qualifications and to interest the employer enough to invite you for a job interview. Define your experience and education in professional terms appropriate to the level and quality of your experience.
Every word in your curriculum vitae must provide evidence that you are a qualified candidate for the position you are seeking.
Your curriculum vitae is you! It presents an image of you to the employer. Consider what image you want to project. A curriculum vitae is a personal statement and should reflect your style, and, as such, will differ from any other person’s curriculum vitae.
There are hundreds or even thousands of people competing for the same position, you need your resume or curriculum vitae (CV) to stand out from the others. In most cases it is a recruiter’s first impression of you, so a well-written and well-coordinated document is your only chance to get your foot in the door.
Preparation Before Writing a CV
A well-constructed curriculum vitae requires that background work be done before you begin writing. You cannot properly bring your credentials to the attention of prospective employers without this preparation.
Begin by taking a personal inventory. Examine and define your skills, interests, accomplishments and experiences. You must also know the range of positions for which you are qualified, and the interest you have in this kind of employment.
You need to identify employers for whom you would like to work and the qualifications required for entry-level positions in those organizations.
CV Writing Requires That You Take a Personal Inventory
Prepare curriculum vitae that present your skills, experiences and accomplishments to an employer. Begin by listing your career-related skills. These skills might include:
- Problem-finding and solving
- Interpersonal/ Human Relations
- Numerical ability
- Mechanical ability
Identify courses and other experiences that are related to the career field you would like to enter.
Until you have taken a personal inventory of skills, it will be difficult to effectively present well-constructed curriculum vitae. When you have completed your inventory, evaluated your personal characteristics as realistically as possible, and established your career objective, you are ready to begin writing your curriculum vitae.
Gathering Career Information
After you have completed your personal inventory and have developed your career goals, you will then want to research these career areas and those employers that are active in them.
For each potential position, you need to know the qualifications, duties, and skills required for the job, and any special talents or personal characteristics sought by the employer.
How to Write a CV (Curriculum Vitae)
An effective curriculum vitae incorporates action words, action phrases and action statements which communicate “accomplishment-oriented”, not mere experience information. A good curriculum vitae conveys a sense of participation and involvement.
Here are some action words you can use in your curriculum vitae: achieved, organized, solved, started, initiated, began, brought together, participated, etc.
Curriculum vitae should be lively and secure the attention of the reader. Use short phrases; be direct and not too technical. Check through job announcements and use some of the same words and terms in your curriculum vitae that are used in the field of employment you hope to enter.
Structure of a Curriculum Vitae
Personal Details: Normally these would be your name, address, date of birth, telephone number, languages fluently spoken and written and email.
Career Objective: If you state a career objective, it should be brief, concise and address the current job only, not future career plans. This category should be used only when your job objective is clear or definite.
You may state your objective in the cover letter rather than in your curriculum vitae. If so, your curriculum vitae can be more general and versatile.
Education Background: Your educational history should be placed near or at the top of the page if it is your most important qualification. Under this heading include the names of dates attended, schools/colleges , qualifications and certifications achieved, and major and minor fields of study.
Limit the number of schools listed to three. More than that number will suggest that you were school hopping, and the employer may infer that you will go job-hopping as well. You may also list relevant course work to give the employer a clearer sense of your job-related skills.
Work Experience: This area can be titled “Work Experience,” “Employment,” “Employment History” or “Professional Experience.” This category can include volunteer, intern or practicum experiences.
You may include dates, names of employers/supervisors, job titles and functions or experiences. Make sure you state clearly your accomplishments/achievements. Include part-time jobs held during your college years.
In describing your work experience use positive words which will show your strengths. Leave out negative or neutral words. Descriptive job titles provide employers with information about what you did.
It is important to use action words such as developed, planned, coordinated and organised.
Professional Activities and Other Interests: This category can include such unrelated data as club and professional memberships, awards, honors, hobbies, internships, volunteer experience and community service.
Each of them can stand on its own as title heading when there is not enough information in any one single area to warrant a separate heading.
Interests and Achievements: Keep this section short and to the point. Bullets can be used to separate interests into different types: sporting, creative, etc. Don’t use the old boring cliches here: “socialising with friends”. Don’t put many passive, solitary hobbies (reading, watching TV) or you may be perceived as lacking people skills. If you do put these, then say what you read or watch.
Hobbies that are a little out of the ordinary can help you to stand out from the crowd: skydiving or mountaineering can show a sense of wanting to stretch yourself and an ability to rely on yourself in demanding situations.
Skills: The usual ones to mention are languages (good conversational English, basic French), computing (e.g. “good working knowledge of MS Access and Excel, plus basic web page design skills” and driving.
You may also describe your skills and accomplishments under such headings as “art experience,” “supervisory experience,” “management experience,” or “counseling skills.” Emphasize skills and achievements, especially those that are transferable.
Try to relate the skills to the job. A finance job will involve numeracy, analytical and problem-solving skills so focus on these whereas for a marketing role you would place a bit more emphasis on persuading and negotiating skills.
References: Many employers don’t check references at the application stage so unless the vacancy specifically requests referees it’s fine to omit this section completely if you are running short of space or to say “References are available on request.”
If the vacancy specifically requests referees, two referees are sufficient: one academic (perhaps your tutor or a project supervisor) and one from an employer (perhaps your last part-time).
Style and Layout of a Kenyan CV
There is no single prescribed (Curriculum Vitae) CV format in Kenya.
You must expect to write and edit several drafts of your curriculum vitae. A good curriculum vitae requires attention to style, organization and layout. Remember that the purpose of your curriculum vitae is positive, effective communication. It must be well organized, attractive and easy to read (legible, readable and appropriate)
The writing style should be direct and concise. Do not use indirect statements or flowery language. A curriculum vitae that is too wordy or too long will not be read. Use short statements that say just what you want the employer to know about your background.
A one-page curriculum vitae is strongly recommended unless you have extensive, related work experience. Include only information that is directly related to the position you are seeking. Avoid including personal information that could trigger a negative response to your application.
Expound on your relevant experiences and achievements. Condense jobs or experiences that are not directly related. In other words, slant your curriculum vitae to the type of job you are seeking. You may need more than one curriculum vitae if you’re applying for different types of jobs. The more you fine-tune your curriculum vitae to a specific job or career area, the more qualified you will appear.
Your curriculum vitae should be well organized. Consider the best arrangement of your topics and headings as they relate to the job for which you are applying. Rank order your curriculum vitae components as they relate to the job, and place the most important items first. In this way you can highlight your strongest qualifications.
People don’t read curriculum vitaes, they skim them . Think of your curriculum vitae as a piece of advertising rather than a comprehensive datasheet.
- Looks are important.
- Design an attractive layout.
- Typeface size, spacing, margins, headings and the relationship of empty space to text can all work to your advantage or disadvantage.
- An attractive curriculum vitae format will catch the employer’s attention and receive a more careful reading.
- You can stretch or shrink the content to fill the page but avoid long, bulky paragraphs.
- Your curriculum vitae must be typed or typeset.
- If you are making multiple copies use a good reproduction method such as photo-offset or a quality photocopier.
- The curriculum vitae is best typed on an electric office typewriter with clean keys. A carbon ribbon will assure good reproduction.
- It is imperative that no typographical errors, punctuation errors, misspellings, smudges, blotches, or any other imperfections appear on your curriculum vitae. You must have a perfect copy.
- Select good quality paper with high cotton content both for the original and the copies.
- You may want to purchase matching paper and envelopes for cover letters and other correspondence.
- A well-bound CV printed on coloured paper with transparent cover is more likely to attract attention from the employer.
Sample CV Objectives
The objective is the “topic sentence” of your curriculum vitae. Some disciplines require objectives; others discourage their use.
Advertising: A position as an assistant account executive in the Client Services Department of a worldwide advertising agency.
Banking: A position in a bank management-training program leading to the position of lending officer. OR A position with the Bank of America’s loan office.
Environmental: Entry-level position as a regional planner with city or county government involving environmental impact writing, general plan, recreation and transportation.
Career position as an environmental specialist with consulting firm involving wildlife habitat and population studies, surveys and analysis.
Graphic Design: A position as a graphic designer in an advertising department. Specifically interested in information design, packaging, exhibits and audiovisual presentations using latest computer graphic packages.
Human Resources: A position as a human resources assistant utilizing my knowledge of affirmative action policies in the human resources department of a technical organization.
Management Consulting: An entry-level position as a junior consultant with XYZ Company.
Public Relations: A position in public relations that requires photography, copywriting and publications skills.
Sales: A pharmaceutical sales position with alpha company. OR A sales representative position with pharmaceutical company.
Social Work: An administrative position involving program planning in a family counseling center.
Technical: A laboratory research position with Healthtech Corporation.
Technical/Engineering: A summer internship in the field of turbulence research and mechanical design.
A career position utilizing both electrical and management skills.
Software engineering position developing systems software or graphics application.
Technical Writing: A position as a technical writer which involves preparing journal articles and editing technical literature.
Examples of poor objectives:
- An entry-level position in business. (Too vague.)
- A position which would utilize my creative and intellectual abilities. (Doesn’t everyone want that?)
- A management training position with a bank or large retail organization. (Shows lack of career focus.)
Some Curriculum Vitae Writing Rules
- Keep sentences and paragraphs short (no paragraphs with more than four lines).
- Use indented and “bulleted” statements rather than complete sentences where appropriate.
- Use simple words rather than complex terms that say the same thing.
- Use quantities, amounts, dollar values where they enhance the description of what you did.
- Put the strongest statements or qualifications at the top.
- Have someone with good English skills check your spelling, grammar and punctuation.
- Avoid the use of “I.”
- Do not include hobbies, or social interests unless they are clearly related to your qualifications.
- Avoid personal evaluations.
Don’ts in Curriculum Vitae Writing
- Don’t use gimmicks.
- Don’t use pictures.
- Don’t highlight personal problems.
- Don’t include salary information.
- Don’t state religion, political affiliations, weight, height, sex, ethnic group
Tips for Professional CV Format
- Remember that the top of the page where you list your summary and key qualifications is the most important section, since it will determine if the reviewer wants to read more. Be sure to include job-specific keywords and phrases that match the position description.
- Use bullet points in the sections where you describe your job experience.
- Give a professional-sounding email address as your means of contact (for example, firstname.lastname@example.org).
- The format of CVs do vary , so here is a sample resume for you to know what is normally included or not included.
The difference between a CV and a Résumé
A resume is a brief summary of your skills and experience over one or two pages, a CV is more detailed and can stretch well beyond two pages. The resume will be tailored to each position whereas the CV will stay put and any changes will be in the cover letter.
Best CV Format in Kenya
A Curriculum Vitaé (CV) is a written overview of the person’s experience and qualifications that a potential employer seeks about a job-seeker and is supposed to be carried by tenured applicants looking for a job change.
A CV/resume should be clear, concise, complete, and up-to-date with current employment and educational information. Here is a sample CV (Curriculum Vitae).
Sample CV Template in Kenya 1
Names: Mr Tinga Njilania
Date of Birth: 6 May 1970
Marital Status: Single
Contact Address: C/O Mr Owefwe Engo
P.O Box 124 KHULWANDA, Kenya
Phone (day) (050) 76508/9,
Languages: English, Swahili, French and Lubukusu (Fluently spoken and written)
|Date||School||Examination and Grades obtained|
P.O Box 536 Njoro , Kenya
Minor: Human Geography
|1988-91||Kabianga High School|
P.O Box 56 , Kericho Kenya
H/Master: Mr K A Wankio
passed: 73 points,
Math. B-, Eng. A-, Commerce A.
|1980-1987||Changoi Primary School|
P.O Box 456 Kericho , Kenya
|K. C.P.E. Exams. passed: 60 points|
WORK AND PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
|Date||Appointment||Responsibilities & Achievements|
|March, ’98-Present||Accounts Clerk, Kericho Tea Brooke Bond Company Kericho, Kenya|
Supervisor: Mr K A Kiviosi Production Manager
Acquired accounting experience and skills
|December 1997||Polling Clerk, Cherish polling station|
Supervisor: Mrs. Kiosk Kiplang’at
Acquired organizational and mobilization skills
|June 1997 (3 months)||Junior research assistant,|
Vocation Educational Department,
Keynote University, Kenya. Supervisor: Professor Wanyama T. Wafula
Acquired data-collecting skills and experience for a research project
|August’ 93-Feb.’94.||Accounts Clerk, Kericho Chai Hotel Supervisor: Mr. Sang Paul|
Attained book-keeping skills
|Date||Appointment||Responsibilities & Achievements|
|January 1992-’93||Kericho secondary School, Kericho Town Kenya Headmaster: Mr. J. L Korros|
Acquired teaching/training and leadership experience
|Date||Place||Course of Study & Achievements|
|Dec. 1996 (2 months)||Research Assistant|
ICRAFT, Muguga , Kenya
Supervisor: Prof. Chris Lukorito,
Acquire basic research skills in environmental preservation.
OTHER SKILLS ACQUIRED
Department of Computer, Science,
|Certificate in Microcomputer application packages:|
I am computer literate.
EXTRA CURRICULUM ACTIVITIES
|Date||Place||Activities & Achievements|
|July 1997||Nakuru, Kenya|
Achieved voluntary service experience
Achieved team-playing skills
|1989-1991||Kabianga High School|
Achieved Leadership experience
- Reading motivational and inspirational books and magazines
- Watching educational and religious videotapes
- Participating and taking leadership roles in Youth voluntary activities such as Reduction of poverty and Dissemination of Information on How to Reduce AIDS/HIV Disease among the Youth.
Mr Joseph Kimondo,
Box 74930-00200 ,
Mr Laban Wafula,
BlueWhale Digital Solutions,
Box 74930-00200 ,
Mr Joseph Kimani,
Box 563 ,
Curriculum Vitae Example 2
Example of CV Cover Letter in Kenya
A CV is a document targeted toward a particular type of job, whereas a cover letter establishes personal contact with an employer and highlights your background in relation to a specific job position.
CV Cover letters bridge the gap between your resume, your experience, and your next job. They enable you to summarize your pertinent experiences or elaborate on a particular experience relevant to the job. They also allow you to request an interview.
A CV cover letter is always an advantage. A separate cover letter should be prepared for each position you are applying to. Also, never use form letters (even though subsequent letters may require similar wording); they are not professional, and won’t entice potential employers into reading further.
Too many job seekers spend a lot of time on their resumes and little or no time on writing appropriate letters. On average, a resume is reviewed for less than one minute. A well-written cover letter often dictates whether your resume is carefully reviewed or quickly scanned. You have a brief amount of space to tell prospective employers as much about you and your qualifications as possible. Do not waste this opportunity by sending a form letter that is carelessly written.
A CV cover letter in Kenya should:
- Emphasize what makes you a strong candidate for the position and entice the potential employer to read on.
- Before you compose your letter, make a list of the top ten skills needed to be effective in this position. This is where the job announcement and your general knowledge of the industry will apply.
- Next, prioritize this list and narrow it to three or four skills that you can demonstrate through your background, education and experience.
- Print each letter individually on good quality paper; preferably coloured paper.
- Use a business correspondence format as shown in the examples that follow.
- Include your name, complete address and telephone number on the face of the letter.
- Date the letter.
- Put the addressee’s name and title, company name and complete address on the face of the letter exactly the way you put them on the envelope.
- Sign the letter.
Kenyan CV Cover Letter Format
Ms./Mr. Employer, Director
1000 Main Street
Anywhere, Kenya 00000
Dear Sir/Madam _________:
FIRST PARAGRAPH of the cv cover letter: State why you are writing, name the position or type of work for which you are applying, and mention how you heard of the position or the organization. Consider a bit of creativity in your opening paragraph to hook the reader. Is there information about the company or at least the industry you could mention-maybe an article you have read? Avoid starting every paragraph with the word “I.” End the first paragraph by clearly stating the skills you possess which best qualify you for the position.
SECOND PARAGRAPH of the cv cover letter: Explain why you are interested in working for this employer and specify your reasons for desiring this type of work. If you have had experience, be sure to point out your particular achievements or other qualifications in this field or type of work. Refer the reader to the attached resume without simply restating its content. This is your chance to expand upon your experience and qualifications.
THIRD PARAGRAPH of the cv cover letter: Mention attachments. Have an appropriate closing to pave the way for the interview by asking for an appointment, giving your phone number, or by offering some similar suggestion to facilitate an immediate and favorable reply. Also, indicate how you can be contacted. You want the employer to take some action.
An appropriate close has four spaces between sincerely and your typed name.
(Do not forget to sign your letter in the space above your typed name.)
Type your name here
City , State, ZIP
Telephone with area code
Enclosure (refers to your resume)