CV in Kenya: The curriculum vitae 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.
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.
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.
However, if you still feel unsure of how your background can relate to a career, attend a Curriculum vitae Writing Workshop offered by the Career Planning & Placement Center or make an appointment with a Counselor for a skills assessment.
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.
Writing Your 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.
Organizing Your Curriculum vitae
Personal Data – Your name (s), contact address and telephone number(s), nationality, head the curriculum vitae. Personal data includes date of birth, marital status and children, languages fluently spoken and written.
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. Internships or practicum experiences can also be included here. 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.
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.
Skills and Accomplishments – These categories will be relevant to “combination” and “functional” curriculum vitaes. You may 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.
Style, Organization and Layout
THERE IS NO SINGLE PRESCRIBED CURRICULUM VITAE FORMAT .
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 data sheet
- 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 of Curriculum vitae Objectives
The objective is the “topic sentence” of your curriculum vitae. Some disciplines require objectives; others discourage their use.
A position as an assistant account executive in the Client Services Department of a worldwide advertising agency.
A position in a bank management-training program leading to the position of lending officer.
A position with the Bank of America’s loan office.
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.
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.
A position as a human resources assistant utilizing my knowledge of affirmative action policies in the human resources department of a technical organization.
An entry-level position as a junior consultant with XYZ Company.
A position in public relations that requires photography, copywriting and publications skills.
A pharmaceutical sales position with alpha company.
A sales representative position with pharmaceutical company.
An administrative position involving program planning in a family counseling center.
A laboratory research position with Healthtech Corporation.
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.
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