To start with, I will clarify the difference between the two terms “CV” and “Resumé”.
CV is an acronym of a Latin word which is Curriculum Vitae which means ‘course of life’ where you need to go into many details. Most individuals who use the term CV are Academics.
Resume is a French term which means ‘summary’. From my perspective, the right term to use is “Resumé” as it is a one to two pages summary of your professional background, while a CV is much longer and goes into details of education and growth.
For the sake of this webinar, we will use the two terms interchangeably as it is common to use CV instead of Resumé in the Middle East, but I welcome you to keep the accurate information in mind.
Treat your Resumé as your passport whereby it will let you travel from a job-search phase to an interview and we will talk about the Resumé’s characteristics so you can increase your chances of securing an interview:
The main rules are:
- It should not be longer than two pages
- Make your document neat so that it is easy for the recruiter to read. The average time a recruiter reads the Resumé is 20-30 seconds, make it a good first impression.
- Make sure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes. Ask for others’ help if needed
- Direct and to the point, the less number of words the better with a clear objective of each sentence. Only mention points that you can confidently discuss during an interview
- Keep your information updated. For example, if you changed your phone number, email address or took a new certificate, make sure it is all written and up to date
Now we will talk about the categorization, sequence and arrangements of a healthy Resumé:
1. Contact information, includes your
- Place of residence (Jordan, Amman/Jerash, Al-Karak. UAE, Dubai, etc.)
- Phone number with the country code (+962 for Jordanian phone numbers)
- Professional email ID. Do not use an email such as [email protected] or [email protected]. Use your name as an email ID. You can easily lose your chances for an interview if your email is not professional.
- Use your LinkedIn profile link as that reflects your online professional personality
- If you are within the creative industry, you should include your website or portfolio link
2. State your Career Objective as to what are your personal career objectives and why you’re applying for this job? The recruiter would like to have this as a first answer, make sure it is clear. This is usually two to three lines. Use Google for guidance but do not copy and paste content. Customise this section depending on the vacancy you’re applying for.
If you are applying to a Training Manager role, your objectives will be different than applying for an Organisational Development Manager role. Do not think that the same sentence will suit all roles, recruiters quickly spot this and can easily eliminate your Resumé due to this reason. Make sure you put yourself in the recruiter’s place and answer the question of “what is the added value to my organization if I employ this person?”
Before we move on, there is always the question of whether to write our Professional Experience first or Education. The answer is it depends on how much professional experience you have. If you are a junior (1-4 years of experience), use your Education first. Why? Because your employer will want to hire someone with a fresh mind and has the suitable educational background; this way, you will answer the recruiter’s questions in a quicker way and hence you will be utilising your 20-30 seconds in a better way. If you are a medium to senior level (4 years upwards), add your Professional Experience first as your recruiter will focus on your experience level and will not matter whether you have the right qualifications as much as the level of experience you can offer their company. In this webinar, we will discuss Junior level Resumé.
3. List your Education from the most recent to the eldest. For example: you graduated with an MBA in 2020, your Bachelors was in 2015 and your high school was in 2010. First, write your 2020 qualification, then comes 2015 and lastly is the 2010 high school. If you received a distinction or a relatively high grade in your qualifications, list it. If your overall mark was average or below, do not list it
Example: *Year of graduation – month of graduation*
*University name – Major or field of study*
2020 – August
Amman Al Ahliya – Management Information System (MIS)
4. Professional Experience: same rule applies with listing the most recent role first, down to the eldest. Write only the start date month and end of service date.
Example: from August 2019 to July 2020 (Date)
Sales Intern (Title)
Marketing and Sales, Carrefour (Department and company name)
Then list the tasks and responsibilities you performed and excelled at during your role.
5. Skills: this means your soft skills such as language skills or software skills. Many schools preach different concepts but I am a believer that if you do not have a third language (apart from Arabic and English) there is no need to have a languages section. If you chose to list your languages whether they are two or more, tell the recruiter your proficiency level. However, listing the two languages is not wrong either.
Microsoft Office skills are the norm now, there is no need to mention them if you don't know other softwares such as Photoshop, Illustrator, Microsoft Project or any other uncommon software. Only note the skills you genuinely have so you will be able to discuss them during your interview.
6. Personal Information such as Date of Birth (dd/mm/yyyy), nationality. Some companies such as NGOs require stating your marital status. Never mention your religion or gender unless your name may confuse the recruiter.
I am also against adding your photo to your Resumé even if other schools may encourage it, because I am to be hired for my skills and not my appearance. If you must add a photo, have it with a clear, solid background.
7. Volunteer Work: this section is highly looked at in every Resumé especially by NGO’s.
8. References: is for when your potential employer would like to ask your previous employer for confirmation or explanation on points related to you or your Resumé. Never list your relatives or people close to you. List only two people who may have previously taught you, or your senior at work or colleague(s).
I often receive a question on making Resumés colourful or full of design. The answer is to keep it full of good content, meaningful and straight to the point, unless you are within the creative industry, then add any infographics or any design that you see fit to show the recruiter that you care for the details.