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A Good CV? Why Bother? Aren’t they all the same?

So you’re looking for a job? Perhaps you’re just out of college and are about to launch your first job. Or may be you’re already working but have eye on that U. N. job advertised in yesterday’s paper. Or is it that you’re so dissatisfied with your current job that you’re determined to find a new position somewhere, somehow?

Whatever it is, you’re looking for a job. And now, it’s time to draft your C.V. Or should you? You’ve heard reports that office administrators spend at most thirty seconds looking over each C.V. And your Uncle Farouk has so many contacts that he could just call up. And your friend only yesterday walked into an office and asked to be interviewed. If this is your thinking, think again. A good C.V. always gives you an edge. Always. Even personal or family contacts need to be convinced that you are serious and professional. Many large companies have a policy of C.V. first, interview later.

Recruitment agencies use your C.V. to make judgments about your organizational skills, maturity, and language proficiency before calling you to learn more about you.

A good C.V. is a necessary evil. It must communicate simply, clearly, and forcefully your objectives , background , and strengths, while skillfully understanding your weaknesses. In the thirty seconds that the average recruiter spends on a C.V., yours has to stand out instantly.

A Good C.V. Must………

Here are some suggestions to ensure that your C.V. presents the relevant information about you as clearly and persuasively as possible.

  • Keep your C.V short! One page is recommended for fresh graduates and two pages for experienced applicants or mid-level professionals.
  • Present all information positively, but BE HONEST. Don’t make it easy for the recruiter to dismiss you from the list of suitable candidates by highlighting your weaknesses or the gaps in your professional record.
  • Make sure the information presented in your C.V. is RELEVANT.
  • Know your audience. Have a "master" C.V. ready, but make sure you tailor it to the needs of this specific job or company.
  • Eliminate all weak words and expressions. Weak words include "quite"( I quite enjoyed my job), " somewhat" (I am somewhat experienced in EXCEL). Strong action verbs include: achieved, managed , produced, created, initiated. Eliminate pretentious or heavy expressions:" Enclosed herewith is a list of references" is heavy. Instead, use "I am enclosing a list of references."
  • Develop and maintain a list of references and have it available upon request to submit if asked in an interview.
  • Make your resume easy to read (orscan!). Leave plenty of open space for the recruiter to use. Eliminate all typos and grammatical or spelling errors.
  • Carefully look over your C.V. Before mailing it. Make sure the information included is accurate: your employer’s name, title, address, position applied for; your personal details: your mailing address, phone number. E-mail address.

Actually Preparing the C.V… Check for and avoid:

It takes a few simple steps to actually prepare your C.V. We present them for you in this section.

Start with Knowing Yourself
Make an informal list of your skills, your professional experiences, your accomplishments and your personal interests. What is the most relevant for this particular position?

Define Your Job Objective
The job objective is normally the first heading of your C.V. Think carefully about what job objective for a particular position or company should be, given your background, experience, and interests. Be as specific as you can, especially if you know what you want.

Fill out the Basic Categories
Although your C.V. should be tailored to portray your particular history, the C.V. should present some basic information to the recruiter. This includes:

  • Your full name, address, phone number, fax number and e-mail.
  • Your job objective or position desired
  • Work experience
  • Education and training
  • Relevant skills, interests, activities.

Decide on Your C.V. Style
Most C.V.’s are written in one of three styles:

  • Chronological: emphasizes history (Example: First job; Second job; Third job).
  • Functional: emphasizes skills (organizes all information by skill groupings irrespective of job or employer). This style is recommended for people with irregular career histories.
  • Targeted/Combination: emphasizes the career one is seeking to build.

Write Your C.V. and Cover Letter
Yes, it is a lot of writing! First write your C.V. based on the style you’ve chosen, the categories you’ve decided on, and your job objective. Writing the C.V. is a good exercise to prepare you for writing the cover letter and for the actual interview. We recommend the following format for your cover letter:

  • Start with a strong first paragraph that states who you are, why you are writing, and how you found out about the job.
  • The second paragraph summarizes your skills and experience and emphasizes the value of these skills for the position you are seeking.
  • The last paragraph suggests the course of action you want taken: Do you want an interview? Do you want the reader to send you e-mail confirming the receipt of your letter?
  • It is preferable that the cover letter be typed on paper that matches your C.V. paper.

Now for the final glance over your document..

Make sure you’ve avoided:

  • Too much text and too little space.
  • Spelling errors; typing errors; grammatical semicolon, titles.
  • Irrelevant activities and skills References. Again, do not list them. Simply say " Will be provided upon request."


Special Considerations for Lebanese Job Applicants

What language should you use to write your C.V.? English , Arabic, or French? Again it depends on the position you are applying for and the language most commonly used in your profession.

Personal information: what to include? Almost all the C.V.’s. should include some personal information such as nationality, place and date of birth, driver'’ license status, marital status, number of children, TOEFL test results, list of coursework completed in college and grade received. Career consultants advise not to include personal information in a C.V. unless it is clearly relevant to the position applied for and is likely to enhance the applicant’s chances of getting the job. Even in this case, such information should be included in a concise, simple form. If you are not sure-leave it out.

Interrupted work experience, a spotty employment record, an interest in a career change.. how much of this can you reflect in your C.V.? This should not be a problem, as long as you can structure your C.V. to highlight your strengths and downplay your weaknesses. Unconventional career paths are not unusual in this world of downsizing and soul-searching. Use a functional format if you have the skill to do so.



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