CV Writing in the Middle East

The CV is often the first contact a prospective employer or recruitment consultant has with any candidate. This is your opportunity to quickly gain their interest, display your experience, qualifications and skills whilst retaining their attention. Below are a number of tips on building a CV that will gain and retain interest and provide all the relevant details whilst remaining brief. (If you are responding directly to a specific job advertisement, the importance of a covering letter highlighting particular aspects of your CV is often a valuable addition to your application.)

Personal Details
  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Nationality
  • Marital status
  • Gender
  • Address
  • Residency / Visa status
  • Contact information (including telephone numbers and an email address)
Education Qualifications
  • Listed in chronological order, include the name and location of the educational institution and dates of attendance. Qualifications and grades should be listed accordingly.
Professional Qualifications
  • Listed in chronological order, include the name of the issuing body and/or institution along with dates of qualifying.
Languages
  • Potential employers are interested in language skill sets that include the ability to read, write and speak fluently. In this market, the normal requirements are fluency in English and Arabic, however if you have additional languages they could also be noted.
IT Skills
  • A short and concise list of IT literacy including exposure to standard IT packages as well as specialised programs and ERP systems
Employment History
  • Internships and employment should be highlighted in chronological order indicating specific employment periods, the employer’s name, position held and location of the role.
    The content of this section should include a brief description of job responsibilities, positioning within the business structure, reporting lines and management activities.  
  • The inclusion of achievements (i.e. promotion, positive reviews or projects) will provide a general overview of your accomplishments.
Personal Interests
  • A well rounded CV including personal interests is something employers look for as they seek to employ people who are proactive and a cultural fit for their corporate environment.
General Information
  • Your CV must be presentable, well organised and consistent. This relates to anything from font style to text size and ensuring new headings and titles are bolded or underlined as necessary. In most cases the less complex design and format will prove more effective.
Ten CV Tips
  1. Eliminate typos, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Ask someone you trust to proof read your CV.
  2. Make a good first impression. You have a limited amount of initial interest time, use it wisely.
  3. Keep it brief. Few people have time to read a 20-page CV, be efficient with your information. A three to four page CV is often sufficient.
  4. Focus your CV on your most recent experience; keep it brief for anything over 10-15 years.
  5. Quantify experience and achievements with facts and figures to show how you performed against specific targets, timelines or KPI's.
  6. Give the employer a chance to see your written communication skills in terms of being organised, logical and concise
  7. Use simple language; do not try to impress employers with elaborate vocabulary.
  8. Be honest, nothing turns an interview sour more quickly than the uncovering of exaggeration or the stretching of the truth on CVs.
  9. Be balanced, neat and structured. Make it appealing to the eye.
  10. This is your opportunity to sell yourself. Emphasise previous wins, promotions and rare skill sets, make yourself very difficult to disregard.
Covering Letter & Candidate Profile
  • Covering letters are an effective introductory tool whereby you can outline your suitability for a specific role. This should be kept short and precise; anything away from this will detract from the CV and candidature.
References & Referees
  • Compile a list of three referees, include their name, position, telephone number and indicate what your association or relationship is. Inform your referees of the particular position you have applied for and its requirements and let them know that someone will be contacting them to gain a reference.

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