To get ahead in the job market it’s essential to impress from the off with a polished CV. We asked Suhail Al-Masri, VP of sales at the Middle East’s largest career site Bayt.com, to share the essentials
• Less really is more: According to the Bayt’s recent ‘Modern Job Search in the MENA’ poll, 43 percent of potential employers prefer a CV that sticks to just one page. An important reason to keep your CV short is so that you have more to talk about during the actual interview. Be strict with yourself and mention only the important achievements and highlights of your education and career.
• Add a Photo: It might strike you as vain, but 54 percent of respondents in the poll mentioned above think you should include a photo in your CV. But don’t just use any old holiday snap shot – take the effort to appear businesslike and go for a professional shoot. And remember to make sure that your face is the main focus of the photo. A first impression can be lasting so be sure to consider the photo and the message you wish to portray.
• Include a cover letter: People often neglect cover letters, and even when they do include one, it’s often not customized for every job application – a far too common rookie error. Do not underestimate the importance of including a cover letter. It really lets employers know that you are truly interested in working for their organization or for that particular job profile. When polled, 44 percent of respondents in the MENA felt that cover letters are ‘very important’ in the hiring process.
• Be creative: Avoid a standard CV template that countless other applicants might also be using. Let your CV reflect who you are. If you are in a more creative industry, you can display your creativity through your CV with design flourishes. However make sure creativity doesn’t mean being casual. The content of your CV should always be professional. You can be creative by adding some color, using graphical tools to represent numbers or even just using a different font size in your CV. Do not, however, over style the CV.
• Link it to your own online profiles: Did you know that almost half of people who make hiring decisions research candidates online first? Make sure that you have an online personal brand that is consistent with your CV, so that when people search for you online they can see your specialties and browse through the recommendations and endorsements you’ve received from your colleagues and other professionals. This will ensure that what gets missed out on your CV can be looked up online instead.
• Customize your CV every time: Every job profile and company has different skill requirements. Make sure you go through the job description that you want to apply for and customize your CV so that it highlights the skills you have and matches the job requirements. Don’t make a new CV every time, but try and change the focus of the CV depending on the job you are applying for.