Frequently asked Questions
1) What is the difference between a Resume & CV?
According to the dictionary, a resume is “a summary, as of one’s employment, education, etc., used in applying for a new position. Conversely, a CV is noted as ‘a regular or particular course of study of or pertaining to education and life’.
In other words, a Resume is a career and educational shortlist that typically spans one page only. A CV is a more in depth account of your study & work history which gives an employer a greater understanding of who you are.
2) Why should I write a CV?
Writing a CV, more importantly a well written CV is essential in todays workforce. Writing a good CV could be the difference between getting the job or not.
3) Do I need a ‘coverletter’?
Yes, you most certainly will. A well structured cover letter should address your objectives, hint at your skills & let your intentions be known to the reader. Covering letters should be short & concise, address the job description you are going for & have your contact details on it. For our online purposes a cover letter is not neccessarily essential.
4) What is the most common CV mistake made by job hunters?
Leaving out their ‘job objective’. If you don’t show a sense of direction, employers won’t be interested. Having a clearly stated goal doesn’t have to confine you if it’s stated well.
5) What is the first step to writing a CV?
Decide on a job target (or ‘career objective’) twhich can be stated in a short sentence. Anything beyond that is probably ‘fluff’ and indicates a lack of clarity and direction.
6) So what is a ‘career objective’?
Your career objective is a personal statement which defines your future work direction wishes.
It’s Personal. Others may share similar goals, but your objective should state your goals in terms that you are comfortable with.
It’s a Commitment. Stating a goal is a form of identifying who you are and what you want to achieve.
It’s Action-oriented. It’s you taking control of your life and communicating what you can do to an employer in action terms.
It’s Directional. By focusing on your future, you can then identify the next step to take, which resources to seek. Your focus can be short range or long range. The more completely you examine your future, the better able you will be to evaluate potential work situations.
It’s Specific. It clearly identifies some facts or elements about a work situation. Broad terms such as ‘successful’ or ‘challenging’ may mean something to you, but they may not convey specific things to an employer.
7) ‘Chronological’ CV versus a ‘functional’ one?
The chronological format is widely preferred by employers, and works well if you’re staying in the same field (especially if you’ve been upwardly-mobile). Only use a ‘functional format’ if you’re changing fields, and you’re sure a skills-oriented format would show off your transferable skills to better advantage; and be sure to include a clear chronological work history and remember to put the newest content first!
8) You have the skills, but what about experience?
If you are short on real working experience, you can bloster your CV with other content such as achievements, awards, and voluntary work experience. If you were a star student it may help to include your course statistics.
9) What do you do if you have gaps in your ‘work history’?
Look at it from the employers point of view. What do they want to read?
General Rule: State what you were doing, as gracefully as possible-rather than leave gaps.
If you were doing anything valuable (even if unpaid) during those so-called ‘gaps’ you could just insert ‘that’ into the work history section of your resume to fill the voids. Here are some examples:
* 1996-98 Maternity leave and family management ;
* 1998-2001 Full-time student ;
* 2001-2005 Family management & volunteer work
10) What if you have a fragmented work history, with lots of short-term jobs?
To minimize the job-hopper image, combine several similar jobs into one ‘chunk’, for example;
* 1996-97 Secretary/Receptionist; XYZ technologies, Allround Solutions, Real Technologies;
* 1996-97 Waiter/Cashier; McDoonburys Restaurant, Done Cafe, Good Imressions Restuarant.
Also you can just drop some of the less important, briefest jobs.
But don’t drop a job, even when it lasted a short time, if that was where you acquired important skills or experience.
11)How can I impress an employer?
The second an employer realises you can save/make them money, you are on your way to getting the job. The like to see PAR in effect. PAR stands for Problem-Action-Results; in other words, first you state the problem that existed in your workplace, then you describe what you did about it, and finally you point out the beneficial results.
Here’s an example: ‘Transformed a disorganized, inefficient warehouse into a smooth-running operation by cost effectively redesigning the layout; this saved the company thousands of dollars in recovered stock’.
12) What if your job title doesn’t reflect your actual level of responsibility?
When you list it on the CV, either replace it with a more appropriate job title (say “Office Manager” instead of ‘Administrative Assistant’ if that’s more realistic), or use their job title and your fairer one together, i.e. ‘Administrative Assistant (Office Manager)’ just be sure not to ‘over inflate’ your responsibilities if it is a view shared only by yourself.
13) How can you avoid age discrimination?
If you’re over 40 or 50 or 60, remember that you don’t have to present your entire work history! You can simply label that part of your CV ‘recent work history’ or ‘relevant work history’ and then describe only the last 10 or 15 years of your experience. Below your 10-15 year work history, you could add a paragraph headed ‘prior relevant experience’ and simply refer to any additional important (but older) jobs without mentioning dates. You may also leave out your age in some cases, which may omit any chance of the employer facing discimination charges.
14) What if you never had any ‘real’ paid jobs?
Give yourself credit, and create an accurate, fair job-title for yourself. For example:
* Household Repairman, Self-employed; or
* Child-Care, Self-employed
Be sure to add ‘references available on request’ and then be prepared to provide some very good references of people you worked for.
15) How far back should you go in your ‘work history’?
Far enough; and not too far! About 10 or 15 years is usually enough – unless your ‘best work experience is from further back.
16) What can I do if I haven’t finished my diploma or degree?
You can say something like:
* Graduate studies in Multimedia Design, in progress; or
* Master’s Degree anticipated December 2003
17) What if you worked for only one employer for 20 or 30 years?
Then list separately each different position you held there, so your job progression within the company is more obvious.
18) What about listing hobbies and interests?
Only include hobbies on a CV if the activity is somehow relevant to your job objective, or clearly reveals a characteristic that supports your job objective. For example, a hobby of Sky Diving (adventure, courage) might seem relevant to some job objectives (Security Guard?) but not to others. Being an active member of a hunting club might look bad if you are going for the job of a vet’s Assistant.
19) What about revealing race or religion?
You are not obligated to include ethnic or religious affiliations necessarily (inviting pre-interview discrimination) unless you can see that including them will support your job objective. Get an opinion from a respected friend or colleague about when to reveal, and when to conceal, your affiliations.