Perfect CV Writing Guide: Sample CV Format Kenya

Sample CV Format Kenya

If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

The curriculum vitae (CV) should be concise, yet provide sufficient information to present effectively your qualifications and to interest the employer enough to invite you for a job interview. Define your experience and education in professional terms appropriate to the level and quality of your experience.

Every word in your curriculum vitae must provide evidence that you are a qualified candidate for the position you are seeking.

Your curriculum vitae is you! It presents an image of you to the employer. Consider what image you want to project. A curriculum vitae is a personal statement and should reflect your style, and, as such, will differ from any other person’s curriculum vitae.

There are hundreds or even thousands of people competing for the same position, you need your resume or curriculum vitae (CV) to stand out from the others. In most cases it is a recruiter’s first impression of you, so a well-written and the well-coordinated document is your only chance to get your foot in the door.

Preparation Before Writing a CV

A well-constructed curriculum vitae requires that background work be done before you begin writing. You cannot properly bring your credentials to the attention of prospective employers without this preparation.

Begin by taking a personal inventory. Examine and define your skills, interests, accomplishments and experiences. You must also know the range of positions for which you are qualified, and the interest you have in this kind of employment.

You need to identify employers for whom you would like to work and the qualifications required for entry-level positions in those organizations.

CV Writing Requires That You Take a Personal Inventory

Prepare curriculum vitae that present your skills, experiences and accomplishments to an employer. Begin by listing your career-related skills. These skills might include:

  • Communication
  • Management
  • Technical
  • Sales
  • Problem-finding and solving
  • Creative
  • Speaking
  • Interpersonal/ Human Relations
  • Organizational
  • Numerical ability
  • Mechanical ability
  • Research
  • Writing
  • Analytical
  • Data/Information
  • Leadership

Identify courses and other experiences that are related to the career field you would like to enter.

Until you have taken a personal inventory of skills, it will be difficult to effectively present well-constructed curriculum vitae. When you have completed your inventory, evaluated your personal characteristics as realistically as possible, and established your career objective, you are ready to begin writing your curriculum vitae.

Gathering Career Information

After you have completed your personal inventory and have developed your career goals, you will then want to research these career areas and those employers that are active in them.

For each potential position, you need to know the qualifications, duties, and skills required for the job, and any special talents or personal characteristics sought by the employer.

How to Write a CV (Curriculum Vitae)

An effective curriculum vitae incorporates action words, action phrases and action statements which communicate “accomplishment-oriented”, not mere experience information. A good curriculum vitae conveys a sense of participation and involvement.

Here are some action words you can use in your curriculum vitae: achieved, organized, solved, started, initiated, began, brought together, participated, etc.

Curriculum vitae should be lively and secure the attention of the reader. Use short phrases; be direct and not too technical. Check through job announcements and use some of the same words and terms in your curriculum vitae that are used in the field of employment you hope to enter.

Structure of a Curriculum Vitae

Personal Details: Normally these would be your name, address, date of birth, telephone number, languages fluently spoken and written and email.

Career Objective: If you state a career objective, it should be brief, concise and address the current job only, not future career plans. This category should be used only when your job objective is clear or definite.

You may state your objective in the cover letter rather than in your curriculum vitae. If so, your curriculum vitae can be more general and versatile.

Education Background: Your educational history should be placed near or at the top of the page if it is your most important qualification. Under this heading include the names of dates attended, schools/colleges , qualifications and certifications achieved, and major and minor fields of study.

Limit the number of schools listed to three. More than that number will suggest that you were school hopping, and the employer may infer that you will go job-hopping as well. You may also list relevant course work to give the employer a clearer sense of your job-related skills.

Work Experience: This area can be titled “Work Experience,” “Employment,” “Employment History” or “Professional Experience.” This category can include volunteer, intern or practicum experiences.

You may include dates, names of employers/supervisors, job titles and functions or experiences. Make sure you state clearly your accomplishments/achievements. Include part-time jobs held during your college years.

In describing your work experience use positive words which will show your strengths. Leave out negative or neutral words. Descriptive job titles provide employers with information about what you did.

It is important to use action words such as developed, planned, coordinated and organised.

Professional Activities and Other Interests: This category can include such unrelated data as club and professional memberships, awards, honors, hobbies, internships, volunteer experience and community service.

Each of them can stand on its own as title heading when there is not enough information in any one single area to warrant a separate heading.

Interests and Achievements: Keep this section short and to the point. Bullets can be used to separate interests into different types: sporting, creative, etc. Don’t use the old boring cliches here: “socialising with friends”. Don’t put many passive, solitary hobbies (reading, watching TV) or you may be perceived as lacking people skills. If you do put these, then say what you read or watch.

Hobbies that are a little out of the ordinary can help you to stand out from the crowd: skydiving or mountaineering can show a sense of wanting to stretch yourself and an ability to rely on yourself in demanding situations.

Skills: The usual ones to mention are languages (good conversational English, basic French), computing (e.g. “good working knowledge of MS Access and Excel, plus basic web page design skills” and driving.

You may also describe your skills and accomplishments under such headings as “art experience,” “supervisory experience,” “management experience,” or “counseling skills.” Emphasize skills and achievements, especially those that are transferable.

Try to relate the skills to the job. A finance job will involve numeracy, analytical and problem-solving skills so focus on these whereas for a marketing role you would place a bit more emphasis on persuading and negotiating skills.

References: Many employers don’t check references at the application stage so unless the vacancy specifically requests referees it’s fine to omit this section completely if you are running short of space or to say “References are available on request.”

If the vacancy specifically requests referees, two referees are sufficient: one academic (perhaps your tutor or a project supervisor) and one from an employer (perhaps your last part-time).

Style and Layout of a Kenyan CV

This CV is tailored for an Administration candidate. Study each section and see what you can incorporate in your own. Obviously, the sample CV is limited when it comes to layout.

1. Personal Details:

• Name: Thomas Smith
• P.O Box 123, 00100 Nairobi
• Email: thomassmith@yahoo.XX.XX
• Tel: 07XX XXX XXX
• Date of Birth: XX/XX/19XX
• Marital Status: Single
In this section leave out details like ID number, religion, Languages (unless it is requested in the job advert)

2. Education & Professional Qualifications To Put In Your CV:

List your qualifications here. If you are pursuing a course and you are not yet done, you can include it with the line…Pursuing an MBA University of Nairobi. Some candidates give a breakdown of the course undertaken per unit which ends up using a lot of space.

The employer and maybe all of us know what a B.com Finance course entails. There is no need to break it down. This is also not the section to include all those training you’ve gone through. Put it under a separate header as outlined below. Ideally, put those professional qualifications, diplomas, degrees and high school education, here.

3. Career Profile:

(Gives a summary of your skills, knowledge, and experience. Let’s look at an admin candidate career profile). An administrative support professional with over five years of office management experience. I am adept at working in fast-paced environments that demand strong organizational and office management skills.

Am committed to exceptional customer service and driven by challenges, with the ability to independently plan and manage diverse customer relationships. More so, I am accustomed to fast-paced, high-pressured positions demonstrated the ability to set priorities to deliver qualitative output, prioritize multiple tasks, meet deadlines, and provide quality service.

(Career objective or profile should be specific to your career. Most of us have ‘vague’ or ‘general statements.’)

4. CV Professional Strengths/Skills:

(Look at any job advert and you will find these listed after education requirements. Try to match what the employer is looking for but don’t duplicate. Again, we have listed skills for an admin person.

➧ Possess seven years of professional experience as Executive Assistant
➧ Possess excellent organization and management skills
➧ Goal-oriented and ability to handle multiple tasks
➧ Proven track record in customer service like managing front desk operations, processing sales order and communicating reliable information to customers
➧ Ability to resolve complex departmental problems
➧ Proficient in basic operating systems like Microsoft Word Press, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, Outlook, and the Internet
➧ Possess excellent written and verbal communication skills
➧ Possess extensive administrative and customer service skills
➧ Ability to maintain a good relationship with customers

5. Work Experience

➧ When it comes to experience list from the most recent to your earliest job
➧ Include work achievements. Achievements Example:
➧ Implemented a more effective system for the management of meetings
➧ Even if you won’t specific months, list the year you worked
➧ When you have worked in more than ten jobs/companies, the important thing is to break down your duties in the three most recent. You don’t have to expound on every job that you’ve had.

6. Training and seminar Section In Your CV:

7. Professional Membership and Associations:

8. Hobbies & Interests: 

(In this section only indicate character building/business-related hobbies. A 40-year-old listing: making friends and watching movies plus socializing (What is socializing?) Doesn’t look like a professional on paper)

9. Referees When Writing A CV:

Provide at least three referees. Two from your previous and/or current workplace; preferable the HR or immediate boss, if that is not possible a client or customers you serve. On the other hand, if you have just left campus a lecturer may vouch for you.

A third one is usually personal; someone that has known you for a long period of time that can vouch for your character and will be able to recommend you for the job. For effective referees, put only those people who know you well and let them know to expect a call from recruiters about you.

This sample CV is only a guideline that demonstrates what to include in your CV, therefore, coming up with a CV should not be rocket science. The problem is that most of us don’t give it the seriousness it deserves. We are always in a hurry to apply for this or that job forgetting the impression we need to create.

Just like we take ample time in the morning to look our best to the outside world, your CV should be well thought out clearly sending the right message to your would-be employer.

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