I recently advertised a vacancy for a company nurse at Nursingworld Nigeria and I sort of underestimated the popularity of the Nursingworldnigeria website. In a few hours, my email was inundated with over 500 applications.
On face value, it was obvious that majority of these CVs were headed straight to the recycle bin simply because they failed to make a case for why they are the right nurse for the job.
I hope that by sharing these 10 mistakes I noticed that was common amongst the CVs, it would be an eye opener to better improve people’s chances of landing their dream job
1) If you are reading this my guess is that you have probably been sending out CVs in response to job adverts, but you have not been getting positive responses. Honestly, your CV might be the problem. Its only natural to forward the CV saved in your inbox to any job advert you stumble upon. Sadly, you can never land your dream job if you keep forwarding the same generic document, in the say way and same format to every job advert you come across. You cannot have a one-size-fits-all CV. One CV cannot be a good fit for a field medic vacancy at Chevron and still be a perfect fit for a Ward Nurse vacancy at Shell. It is just not possible
You must take your time to look at what set of needs and requirements are defined in the advert you are applying for and your CV must show why you are the right fit for that specific role. Your CV must be tailored for each individual vacancy. Revisit your CV repeatedly, editing it and refining it as you go
2) Looking for a job is a job on its own. If you are not one to follow simple instructions or are not patient enough to read through instructions, what says you would follow instructions if you are offered the job.
Let’s look at the method of application for this job advert for an SPO at Association for reproductive and family health , it reads:
Applicants should send their comprehensive Curriculum Vitae and cover letter in ONLY one attachment (MSWord document) explaining suitability for the job. Please indicate the title of post applied for in the subject line of the email. Applicants are advised to provide their functional emails/mobile phone numbers on the application letter as well as three professional referees
I have taken time to extract key instruction words from this advert. The employer has clearly requested that applicants send CV and cover letter in ONLY ONE ATTACHMENT and specifically in MSWord document. Most times, applicants are too lazy to redraft their CVs in the requested format and ignorantly forward PDF or JPG format they have in their inbox. Ignoring this simple instruction does not help your chances.
Also keep in mind that the employer might have other job roles advertised using the same application email address, so there is a reason he wants you to ‘indicate the title of post applied for’ in the subject line of the email. Again, typing or pasting your cover letter in the body of the email is not a good way to sell yourself if the employer specifically requested for you to send your cover letter as an attachment.
You must be cognizant of the fact that a cover letter you drafted for a registered nurse vacancy at Reddington hospital cannot be used to apply for a nurse administrator vacancy at Nursingworld Nigeria, it just would not fit. Use the opportunity of a clearly focused cover letter to sell yourself to the employer, explaining your suitability for the role advertised. I want to look at your CV and quickly identify how you are qualified for the role. Don’t waste time including irrelevant information
This advert specifically requests that applicants provide three professional referees, so sending a CV that says ‘referee available on request’ shows you obviously did not read the advert. That doesn’t speak well of a potential employee who says in his CV that ‘he is attentive to details’
3) Long and difficult-to-read CVs are a drag. Your CV should be succinct and straight to the point. It is not a case folder of every job you have ever had or Nursing task you have ever completed. it is a marketing document that should win you an interview.
The Company Nurse job advert had requirements such as ‘the ideal candidate would maintain database and training records, Manage and maintain in-house training facilities and equipment, identify potential clients and the decision makers within the client organization. I need to glance at your CV and immediately see how you fit the role.
Employers spend a few seconds reviewing CVs initially so your CV must make an impact in this time. Stretching your CV to 4 or 5 pages with items such as ‘proper dispensation of drugs, identify and correct errors, setting iv lines’ doesn’t make sense. Your CV is not your career or life history, know what is important and relevant to include in your CV. Period
An employer should be able to look at your CV and should immediately be able to tell if you are male or female, your highest qualification etc. If the job is in Lagos, sending a CV with an Aba address only tells me you are not resident in Lagos and would have difficulties navigating your way in town.
Your CV should be well organized and easy-to-scan. Present your CV professionally, keep the design clean and simple. It is your job to make it easy for an employer to review your CV
4) As mentioned above, most CVs don’t need to be more than 2 pages long. Only include data that conveys an achievement or is relevant to an employer’s needs. Every line of your CV exists to win you an interview. If it is not impressive, or necessary, do not include it. Write your CV in simple English and review the content for clarity. Some Cliches have been overused and can be seen in majority of all Nurses CV, cliches such as track record of success, excellent communication skills, team player etc. These phrases have been abused such that they have become meaningless and lost value over time. Just tell me exactly how you would contribute to meeting my employment needs, avoid vague terms and be more specific
Instead of ‘objectives’ which has now become obsolete, provide a profile. Include 2 or 3 sentences outlining what you have to offer, specific to the role. By focusing on an employer’s needs, you are much more likely to be selected for interview. If you do not remotely meet the requirements of the role, even the best CV is unlikely to get you far. Target a specific type (or types) of job and make that your focus.
It takes determination, time and effort to draft up a CV for every job advert you come across but it is usually worth it in the end, trust me
Good luck Colleagues
Writes for Nursingworld Nigeria