What do you think are the most common mistakes candidate make when compiling a CV?
Copy-pasting what they have seen on other CVs and not speaking to their real strengths.
I guess, people are not comfortable blowing their own horn and tend to hide behind the standard descriptions of roles and duties. This is why I require every client to fill out an assessment and have at least a 30 minute conversation with me. Getting to the nitty gritty helps me as a profile writer state how well they do in one aspect of their work or another.
I want to know:
- Where they want to go?
- How they got to where they are?
- If they love what they do?
I want the client to shine and realize what they read about themselves in a CV that I have compiled is all them. It is gratifying being their voice box. To be able to proudly state how well they do in one aspect of their work or another.
Who is the typical customer for your services?
For the CV-writing and LinkedIn profile writing, my clients have been people wanting to change their careers or are just getting back on their feet. Also, there are a growing number of my clients that are people returning to the country and looking to get back into the Kenyan workforce.
My client’s age’s range, their career paths differ but most of them are middle to upper-middle class Kenyans.
Have you ever had an unexpected or strange request?
I once had a middle aged gentleman who scribbled a few dates on a piece of paper and a job title here and there expecting me to create a resume from that. I had to gently ask him to give me a few more minutes of his time and a lot more information.
Is a social media presence a ‘must have’ for every one?
I do not think every potential employee benefits equally in having a social media presence. There are some industries that do better than others. Those with unique talents, like a very experienced engineer in a particular area of expertise, for example green energy, will benefit greatly because his potential employers are international and they use platforms like LinkedIn as a source. I tell most of my clients that no matter your industry, making use of the available platforms increases their chances in being noticed.
My advice, to a novice CV writer or anyone is to focus on all the great things they have done. A sealed deal, a profit goal accomplished, a new big client secured, a savings made, etc. and have those points speak on their behalf.
In my design, I have a section that brags about your top skills or accomplishments. This section comes way before the professional experiences. I find that, as an employer (having worked as an office manager in a law firm previously for 14 years), I want to see the highlights before delving into the meaty parts.
When you have dozens of CVs and resumes to choose from, this helps so, to improve their chances, this is what I do for my clients.