Step One for a Good CV: The Truth

Job-seekers should have resumes that are well-written, honest and fully outline what they did at their previous jobs, say human resource professionals in Cambodia. Resumes should be accompanied by concise cover letters and reference letters from former employers but be without stacks of school certificates that are mostly regarded as worthless.

“The concept of [resumes] is quite new in this country,” said Tim Walton, manager of Human Resource Advisory Services for Price­waterhouseCoopers.

Because of the relative novelty, the resumes that do arrive are too often poorly put together or outright fiction. “We had one candidate coming to us and their CV said that they’d worked for us, of course, they hadn’t,” said Craig Martin, executive director of International Management and Investment Consultants. “They’d based it on someone else’s CV or made it up. They hadn’t done their homework. They were kicked out of the office rather smartly.”

And the resume should say exactly what the applicant has done rather than just listing company names and job titles. “We want the job details in a person’s own words,” said Walton. “Rather than the job description they were handed on their first day.”

The job market is currently flat with more applicants than positions. Although a resume will never get a person a job, a good resume will improve a person’s chances of an interview. A fictional resume, however, won’t even  get a person in the door.

“If what is on the CV is not reality,” said Martin, “that will be found out very quickly.”

The accompanying references should be former employers. All too often references are a “friend or an aunt. They’re not worth much,” said Walton. His company screens people before they are sent out to their clients, mostly multinational companies, but no one gets anywhere without a verifiable written reference.

“Without a written reference on file saying they’re a reliable person, we wouldn’t consider sending someone out,” he said.

Reference letters, however, are sometimes blatantly less than honest, signed with an English-sounding name but written in English that would not come from a native speaker, according to Walton.

Resumes also arrive too often with stacks of school certificates that add nothing. “If someone is attending English classes or whatever, there’s normally lots of certificates given but the quality of those course varies considerably,” said Martin. “So we look for recognized courses or recognized schools. We often disregard the huge pile of certificates that arrives with a CV.”

Because the quality of resumes in Cam­bodia is so poor in comparison to developing nations, IMIC actually has a policy of disregarding them and putting full weight on the first interview and tests of a person’s abilities.

“If you saw [the resumes of people we have hired or placed], you wouldn’t think they were that good because it’s not marketing them in the correct way or they’re very sparse,” said Martin. “In the West you would immediately consign that resume to the bin but in reality they’re excellent individuals.”



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