How to Write a CV Employers Will Notice in Tanzania

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How many times have you sent a job application for a position you really wanted, and never heard back from the employer?

The problem may not be that you are not a qualified candidate, but the fact that competition is really high in Tanzania.

The unemployment rate is above 10% and companies receive an average of 100 applications for 1 job position. While there is little that most of us can do to change the unemployment rate, we all have some control over an important aspect of getting a job – our CV. While application requirements may vary for different job positions, almost every employer will ask you for your CV.

So what can you do to make sure your CV stands out?

As Tanzania’s biggest resource for employers and job seekers, over the years we have discovered the secrets to writing a great CV and we will share them with you now.

What exactly is a CV?

First things first, it’s important to understand the difference between a CV and a resume.

A CV is a very detailed overview of your professional and academic history, and is usually used in applications for senior, managerial and research positions.

Whereas a resume, which is more commonly used, is a brief outline of your professional experience, skills and interests as they relate to a particular career or position that you are aiming to acquire.

In Tanzania, the two words are used interchangeably. While many job applications may say that they require a CV, what they really mean is a resume.

Bonus Tip: Send a resume for positions that require less than 5 years of work experience. Send a CV for positions that require more the 5 years of work experience.

However, whether your potential employer wants a CV or resume, these tips will help you land an interview.

Step 1: Planning

 Failure to plan, is a plan to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin

Remember in school we were taught to plan out our essays before we wrote them? Well, the same principle applies to CVs. Before you start writing you need to:

1. Study the job description:

What skills do you have? What are they looking for? This is important to determine whether or not you are qualified to apply, and also learn what is important to the company and tailor your application to that.

So for instance: If the job description emphasises the importance of knowing a certain skill like social media marketing, this will indicate to you to include in your CV all jobs where you used social media.

2. Write down keywords from the job description that you will use in your CV:

While you shouldn’t copy-paste entire sentences from the job description, it’s important to use the same language and some of the same keywords your potential employer is using.

For example: skilled in social media, excellent research skills

3. Research company:

In addition to analyzing the job description, it’s important to do some research on the company itself. If they have a website or social media pages, look up their mission statement, their key areas of interest and the profiles of your potential coworkers, supervisors, managers and directors. This will help you understand what the company values, and how you can tailor your application to show that you share those values.

4. Make a list of all your relevant work experience:

Don’t include every single job you’ve ever had. Just the jobs that gave you experience and skills that will be useful for the position.

Step 2: Write

While there isn’t one right way to write a CV, the most commonly used and accepted format is as follows:

  1. Resume objective or summary of qualifications.
  2. Work experience.
  3. Special achievements, publications.
  4. Education
  5. Useful personal skills.

According to Business Insider, the average recruiter looks at a CV for 6 seconds before making a decision about a  candidate. To make a good impression, make sure you:

1. Pay attention to format:

  • Use the traditional font of Times New Roman.
  • 9 to 12 point size.
  • Be consistent with bullets, bolds and italics. For example: If you bold one job title, make sure all of them are bold. If you use a circular bullet, makes sure you don’t use a tick or numbers elsewhere.

2. Keep it simple:

  • Your resume should not be more than 2 pages long.
  • Don’t use full sentences.

3. Think about your audience:

Often times a HR officer will read your CV, so your resume should be easy to read and communicate your accomplishments clearly. For example, instead of writing: “In this position, I was responsible for researching the complex relationship between varied socioeconomic classes”, write “Researched the relationship between different socioeconomic classes”

4. Use action words:

Action words show that you are a person who gets things accomplished, a “do-er”. Commonly used action words include:

  • Administered
  • Attained
  • Incorporated
  • Enlisted
  • Conducted
  • Appointed
  • Analyzed
  • Advised
  • Solved
  • Improved

As you can tell, action words are meant to portray the applicant in a positive light.  The person examining your resume should feel that your position was important and that you can contribute to the business/organization greatly.

5. Start with your most recent job and move backwards. Make sure you:

State the complete name of the company you work for, or have worked for, and what they do, how long you held the position (month and year). Then list the position you held and your accomplishments.

6. Use numbers and percentages when possible:

For example, instead of writing ‘increased company sales’, you should write ‘increased company sales by 25%’

7. Don’t lie:

This is a big problem in Tanzania. This will absolutely ruin your chances at bagging a job opportunity because it’s likely that your employer will do research on you, or find out you don’t know as much as you say you do during the interview.

Step 3: Polish

1. Proofread:

Making spelling and grammar mistakes will make all your efforts go to waste, so make sure you check and recheck your CV.

Bonus Tip: Print out your CV and read it from bottom to top, this will help you catch mistakes better.

2. Peer review:

Have someone else edit and read your CV also. Two sets of eyes are better than one!

The first step to landing the job you want is applying. Hopefully, these tips will help you prepare a CV that potential employers cannot ignore.

So, now that you know how to write a CV it’s time you to find your dream job!

Iman Lipumba
A digital storyteller, experienced in creating content that improves website visibility on search engines, enhances the user experience, and nurtures brand loyalty. With a background in the social sciences, an expert in researching complex ideas, and communicating them in engaging language to multiple audiences.