Job advertisements give a great insight into what prospective employers seek in an ideal employee for a particular job. For you to write an excellent CV, you must become something that we call a ‘Job Detective’; put on your Sherlock Holmes hat and look for clues in the job advertisements!
Based on the clues and hints that you have found, you can compile your CV in such a way that it will match the needs and requirements of the prospective employer.
How to use ads to compile a CV
Let us take a look at this typical Receptionist vacancy:
This short advert provides us with a lot of information:
- Experience as Receptionist is essential: the word ‘essential’ in advertisements literally means a ‘must have’ criteria; do not waste your valuable time in applying for this particular job if you do not have previous experience as a receptionist.
- Must have good interpersonal skills: meaning; must be friendly and engaging with excellent speaking, listening and nonverbal communication skills
- Emailing clients; meaning; must be computer literate (preferably with a professional typing rate speed), excellent in English writing (grammar, spelling, etc.)
- Duties will involve all aspects of receptionist work: meaning; greeting visitors, answering telephone calls, arranging interviews and meetings, data entry, scanning, sending and replying to emails, sorting and handling mail, checking ID whenever necessary and dealing with customer complaints.
Great! We have retracted a lot of valuable information from the advert. We can now compile our CV is such a way that it will put more emphasis on the skills and qualities that are required for this job:
- If you have had a job as a receptionist, make sure you include this in your ‘Work Experience’ section of your CV. List down all your duties (as outlined above).
- If you have demonstrated having excellent communication and interpersonal skills, include this under your ‘Skills’ section of your CV. Emphasis on these communication skills is much more important than being a Chess Champion at your local chess club, for the tenth year in a row!
This approach, known as writing targeted CVs, is the most effective form of writing a CV and it results in attaining the highest number of interviews.
"Every man at the bottom of his heart believes that he is a born detective." – John Buchan