4 key things that should never miss on your CV

Have you ever looked at two companies offering the same product always come up with new marketing strategies, advertisements and promotions all with the aim of getting new clients and getting more market share. Well your CV, just like a product needs to compete with the thousands of other people sending in their documents. 

The job market is tough and it's getting tougher. Your CV is your No. 1 marketing tool and it may not be
 doing its job and that is getting you an interview.

One reason may be a lack of time. With the increased competition for jobs and more applicants, employers don't spend a lot of time reading any one CV. I must admit, a CV gets about 20 to 30 seconds of time for someone to read through and as I explain to most people. If a CV doesn’t appeal, then am definitely not going further. Right? If I have to scramble to get information, then am not going to bother. That's not much time to score.

In fact, most applications will get quickly screened out and dumped on the reject pile.

Another reason is lack of interest. Most CVs today lack a sense of urgency. They don't answer the all-important question: "What's in it for the employer?" what are you providing to the company. In my earlier articles, I did stress the fact that you must offer something to get a job and employers are selfish. 
Here are four things you need to power up your CV for today's more competitive job search arena to overcome these dilemmas:
1.   Focused objective: Does your CV have a clear, focused objective? Does it identify one clear job title that you are seeking? Leave out all that nonsense about "challenging opportunity with a dynamic company." Remember, it's not about you. It’s more about what you can offer. For example “my goal is to secure a position where I can offer world class administrative support within a……..” I am hoping that you get my drift and the gist of all this.
2.   Keyword section: Everyone pays lip service to this, but few act on it. If you don't, you're missing the boat in two major ways: To strengthen your odds, you need every potential keyword working for you. And not just your skill sets, either. Make sure to add all your industry buzzwords as well as your biggest soft skills. Did you know that some of the highest searched keywords today include terms we often overlook? These include "problem-solving," "leadership" and "oral and written communication." You must appeal to the person who reads your CV. A reader will scan a great keyword summary section within the first 20 seconds of looking at your CV. When added to your personal branding statement below, you increase your chances of hooking this reader and getting a closer look.
3.   Personal branding statement: It doesn't matter whether you're a CFO, a software project manager or a wedding photographer. Answer this question: "What is it that makes you unique, compared with other applicants?"
Don't think that just having great skill sets or years of experience is going to give you any edge. Lots of other candidates have skills the same as or better than you. The solution is to create a brand for yourself. You may even add professional to the profile, but that is if you have more than 3 years experience.
So how do you create your own brand? Review your CV. Does it have a clear statement that describes who you are and what you offer? This is called a "branding statement" and may be described as a "value added" or "unique selling proposition."
A true branding statement is a one-sentence description of who you are and what critical benefit you offer your next employer. It should describe your biggest strength and the resulting benefit to your previous employer.
The best branding statements usually incorporate figures in dollars or percentages of money, or time that was gained or saved over a certain period of time. Here is an example for that CFO:

"A Seasoned Chief Financial Officer strong in optimizing organizations to achieve maximum growth and market share who has produced new revenues or savings of more than $65 million for my employers over the past eight years."

Does your CV have a branding statement this strong? If not, think about adding one. It will take some time to develop your ideal statement. Once done, however, you will break that 20-second barrier and move that much farther ahead of your competitors.
4.   Specific achievements: Companies hire employees to be an asset to their balance sheets. That means your work should involve helping a company either make money or save money. Think beyond your skill sets and job duties and find as many ways as you can that you accomplish this.
For example, suppose you're an accountant who does auditing for major clients. Of course you may have noted a few irregularities here and there and made recommendation that have led to a significant reduction of losses. This translates into valuable thousands saved by the employer and it's just this sort of achievement that must be on your CV. When it's possible, put a value on your achievements. Our accountant example might look like this:

“Successfully audited company XYZ and saved the company K’sh 100,000 in losses through setting up of a monetary tracking system which is in use today”

By including several specific achievements where you've helped your employer make or save money, you separate yourself from your competitors and quickly gain the attention of your reader.

Please note an achievement does not in any way mean the following:
Delivered reports to executive director at five AM.

The above statement is part of your job description and this means you must deliver reports at 5AM. That’s where most people make mistakes.

I hope with this you will go back to the drawing board and start amending your CV. It might cost you valuable time and money but as the saying goes “no pain no gain”

This article is by Juliah Karimi of Staff-Kenya

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