Careers: Mastering the Art of Crafting CVs and Cover Letters

Story by Rumbidzo Sande

1st Year Law – School of Law

Navigating the professional landscape can often feel like traversing uncharted territory, but fear not—Africa University’s Career and Advising Professional Development (CAPD) office recently hosted a webinar aimed at demystifying the art of curriculum vitae (CV) and cover letter writing.

Led by Head of the CAPD  Ms. Tsungiriro Manunure, the webinar, titled ‘HOW TO WRITE A WINNING ACADEMIC CV,’ featured insights from industry professionals, including representatives from Deloitte and Touché and Head-hunters International. Miss Precious Mhovha from Deloitte and Touché emphasized the importance of tailoring CVs to specific job applications, highlighting key qualities of an effective CV:

  1. Relevance: A good CV spotlights relevant skills, experiences, achievements, and potential, catering directly to job specifications.
  2. Comprehensiveness: Beyond technical skills, a comprehensive CV delves into interpersonal skills, providing a holistic view of the candidate.
  3. Consistency: Consistency is key, from font size to content. A harmonious alignment between CV and cover letter ensures a cohesive and impactful presentation.
  4. Transparency: Addressing employment gaps transparently demonstrates honesty and allows room to showcase skills gained during these periods.

On the flip side, attendees were cautioned against common pitfalls:

  1. Duties vs. Skills: Avoid simply listing duties; instead, demonstrate competencies through actual tasks performed.
  2. Jargon: Professionalism trumps jargon—clear, precise language is preferred over acronyms and industry-specific terms.
  3. Truthfulness: Stretching the truth on a CV can backfire. Honesty is paramount, as misleading claims can damage credibility.
  4. Procrastination: Rushed CVs often lead to errors. Allocating ample time for structuring and proofreading is crucial to avoiding careless mistakes.

The discussion extended to cover letter writing, with Ms. Kellyn Chikondo and Ms. Hillary Moyo from Head-hunters International highlighting its role in complementing the CV. A well-crafted cover letter serves as a concise expression of personality, values, and motivations, demonstrating why the candidate is not only a fit for the job but also an asset to the organization.

Moreover, the session underscored the importance of platforms like LinkedIn in expanding professional networks and enhancing visibility to potential employers. With a succinct, descriptive LinkedIn profile, individuals can attract opportunities and even have companies seek them out.

In a final segment, Ms. Lucy Chiduku from Education USA provided valuable insights into pursuing postgraduate studies in the United States, covering aspects from discovering passions to navigating visa processes.

The webinar, lauded for its informative and transformative impact, left attendees equipped with newfound knowledge and confidence in navigating the intricate world of CV and cover letter writing. As applause filled the virtual room, it was evident that mastering these essential skills had become a tangible milestone on the path to professional success.