You are a good CV away from your dream job. 27 years old James Muhuthu, popularly known as ‘Blaze’, takes us through some tips on how to spice up your CV. Nate Crest Almanac‘s contributor, Charles Gachango, got to interview him and this is what he had to say:
What do you do and what did you study for in School?
I am a social media consultant, also known as an influencer. I’m also a CV/Resume writer and a LinkedIn reviewer. I studied Bachelor of Economics at Kenyatta University (in Nairobi).
What made you venture into CV writing?
I was researching on a good CV format that would accommodate a 1-page CV and I ended up stumbling on Elon Musk’s one page resume. Theerafter, I learned how to perfect and adjust mine and ended up doing the same for a few other people. I also got some great feedback from established recruiters: that is when I realized that there is a major gap in the job market – people cannot write good modern CVs.
What common mistakes do people make in their CVs?
Being wordy is one of them. One should go straight to the point. Poor grammar, as well as an unappealing arrangement are other regular issues that arise. People also often include unnecessary information like identification numbers on their CVs. You would be surprised that one of the most common mistakes is a poor selection of fonts. Lastly, using unprofessional references like friends and family is a mistake.
So what does a good CV entail?
A good CV/Resume should be brief, a maximum of 3 pages for those with over 5 years of experience, and 1-2 pages for those with less. It should be easy to read, with a brief summary statement that should not exceed three sentences. Your CV should be well-structured with well-labeled sections. Text in the document should be in sections that are easy to peruse, preferably in bullets. Generally, it needs to be a good design that is appealing to the eye.
Can anybody can have a CV, or its for ‘learned’ people only?
Anyone can have a CV. As one’s work experience and skill sets increase, the education section sometimes ends up not mattering in the selection process. With a good skill set and work experience packaging, the education section can be eliminated: however, it is still important for entry level jobs. For people in creative fields, a portifolio is a suitable substitute for a CV.
What is the standard CV Format in Kenya?
The standard CV format in Kenya is a generic Microsoft Word-based document that is sometimes chronologically, or reverse chronologically ordered. It is a bulky boring document that puts entry level/graduates at a disadvantage, as they may seem not to have enough details. For those with experience, it makes it hard for the recruiter to go through as the format and size is not easy to peruse. The Kenyan CV format has not adapted to the changing times where even links to social media Accounts, LinkedIn, Github or even photos can be attached.
How much do you charge and how many CVs can you craft in a day?
I charge between KES 1,000 to KES 3,500, but this is subject to change with time. I can do 3 – 5 CVs in a day as per the demand.
At what point do employers contact referees?
Most employers contact your references only when they are ready for them, not before. When they contact them, it means they may be getting closer to hiring you or that you are moving to the next stage of the selection process. This should not however be taken as a surety that you are getting hired.
As we finish, mention something about Motivational/Cover letters.
These are documents where you get to sell yourself to the prospective employer. You are given the chance to impress them with your skills, education and past work experience and achievements. They are basically known as Application Letters.