Everyone has a Curriculum Vitae (CV), but how many job seekers have a CV that is accurate, attractive and effective? A document that an employer/recruiter enjoys reading and becomes excited to meet the applicant to discuss further?
Let us look at a situation where there is one advertised job opening and 400 applications. The human resource (HR) manager has a very difficult job to do. He/she is a very busy person and only the top four candidates would be interviewed.
Now, out of 400 CVs, how much time do you think your CV will receive? Will your job application get special attention? Why?
Usually (and initially) a CV receives only two or theree minutes of reading time. It's unfortunate, but this is reality. In that two or three minutes, your CV needs to grab the attention of the reader. It needs to stand out. The big question is: HOW?
Your job search will become easy if you understand the basics of the subject 'Marketing'. Your job search project is very similar to a marketing campaign. Imagine that a company has manufactured a new toothpaste, the name of which is SIMPLE. The company management is very excited about this product as they have invested a lot of time and money to create a unique product. There is no toothpaste in the market as good as SIMPLE, viewed from the perspective of 'value for money'. Now the major problem is: how to communicate the features and benefits of this product to the marketplace?
Now, the job seeker himself is a product. He is trying to find a suitable employment for himself. A position has been advertised and he can definitely do this job. He is a university graduate, knowledgeable and capable of using the mobile phone and internet very comfortably. He has a lot of friends and can easily relate to people. He is a good communicator. He is hardworking, very enthusiastic and highly motivated. He wants to tell the HR manager about all of these good qualities, provided that he gets an opportunity. The problem is that he is not getting that opportunity, which is known as the JOB INTERVIEW. The question is: why is he not getting job interviews?
There may be many reasons, however, one common reason is that his CV is not up to the mark. It must be attractive enough to quickly impress the reader. It has to be a good quality document. It must be easy to read and understand. Most importantly, his strengths must be appropriately highlighted, so that he can be easily differentiated from the rest of the applicants. CV is not a just list of what some one has done and what degrees he has. It is his 'advertisement'. It is his most important marketing document. In other words, it is a document that has been very carefully written, with a view to 'market you'.
WHAT A CV ACTUALLY IS: The main problem in our society is that careerists view a CV as an information document, whereas, in reality, it is a marketing document. Marketing is much more than just communicating information. It is also about influencing a customer to explore additional details about a product or service. The ultimate objective of Marketing is that a target customer will make a decision to buy.
An employer is not only interested to know who you are, rather they are focused on finding out what you can do to add value to their [business] organisation. Surely you now realise that your CV has to be written with additional care?
There is one other thing you need to understand. Your CV will not get you a job. However, it is a very important first step in your job hunting process. If written properly, chances are that you will get an interview. It is your interview performance that will reward you with a job offer.
In Bangladesh, the practice of getting a CV reviewed/written by a professional is almost non-existent. A CV written by a professional is a common occurrence in developed countries. This is because most systems and processes in those societies are clearly defined and transparent.
Take the instance of Australia. Most job openings in Australia are advertised, while Bangladesh is mainly a hidden job market insofar as the private sector is concerned. 'Hidden job market' simply means that most jobs in Bangladesh are not advertised.
Only 15 or 20 years ago job openings were not advertised in Bangladesh, and that was common practice. Then bdjobs.com was introduced, which was followed by prothom-alojobs.com. In the meantime many other similar sites have been set up and become operational. Although numerous job openings are being advertised, Bangladesh still is a hidden job market. Most business organisations here are private companies and already receive many CVs, hold interviews and fill positions without having to place advertisements. This is an opportunity for companies to save time as well as cut costs.
However, as time goes on, businesses will face increased competition and organisations (as well as society) will expect to see more and more fairness in staff selection. A time will come when employers will want to recruit the best talent available in the market. The profession of CV writing will have to come, today or tomorrow. Just because jobseekers will become smarter and more practical, they will want to invest in having a consultation with a career professional.
Why do you need to speak to a career professional? Because your career progression is not a chance incident. For successful people, it was carefully planned and continuously managed, starting from the very beginning. Job search is one important aspect within career management. A career consultant can slowly and gradually guide you towards success. In this connection, your CV is the most important document that continuously reflects your education, training and achievements as you progress forward. It also highlights your skills and the positive aspects of your personality.
Similar to a marketing campaign, your objective is to find and attract the right type of employer. Remember, chances are very much that there is an employer in the job market who is looking for someone exactly like you. Someone who has the same type of qualifications and experience, skills and attributes. Someone who is willing to accept the same type of salary and agree with terms and conditions that are okay with you. How will you discover that employer? You need to understand marketing techniques as well as the dynamics of the job market.
Think about it - how much money have you already invested towards your education, training and continuous learning? You have done so because as a professional, you will generate income for many years until you retire. For that purpose, you and/or your parents have invested a lot of money already. Why not spend a little bit more to get an effective CV? Remember, this not spending money, this is about investing money.
Your benefits may be summarised with the following bullet points:
l Your CV will reflect a clear picture of yourself, your skills, attributes and expertise
l You should get more job interviews
l Your interaction with a Career Consultant will make you more knowledgeable and better prepared
l Time spent on your job search should be reduced
l You should have a good quality document that will require modifications and continuous improvement in the future
The smartest people invest in their own careers. They invest money in continuous learning, career development and self-improvement.
Abdur Quaderi is a management consultant and a career development practitioner with clients in Australia and Bangladesh. Details are available at www.careerdesign.biz.
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