Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Depends on my varied interests: technology, programming, science, western philosophy, rationalism and etc.

14 Sections You Need To Check In Your Curriculum Vitae Before Applying For A Job

Experienced at Sri Lanka Job Bank as a project coordinator, and running my own recruitment website and have been working in couple of leading software companies in Sri Lanka; I have been interviewing and reading lot of CVs mostly received from undergraduates and fresh graduates during last few years.

Have been in shoes of both job candidate and recruiting personnel, I can share some tips to prepare a standing out CV ensuring not get it stopped by the trash bin. Please note that this article contain only my personal opinions and it does carry any views of the organizations that I am working for.

The main purpose of a CV is to showcase your qualifications and skills catering to a specific job opportunity in the market. It’s a document to market your capability. In here, I have paid attention to 14 areas most commonly seen in a CV. I am taking them to discuss one by one but not in a particular order. You may have these sections in your CV according to the document design/layout you have chosen.

1. Your Name

Your name should be the heading of the entire document. In here, just use the name that you are using in your day-to-day life. Having the full name same as in your birth certificate is not necessary.

2. Photograph

Including your photograph is an optional choice. If you want to include your photograph in your CV choose a professional looking photograph. A photograph of upper body with a smile or may be a photo taken during when you speak in a stage or a photo taken while you work are ideal choices. Please don’t choose mugshots taken for your identity cards or passports. 🙂

3. Career Summary

Share your career summary, vision and goals here. Make it personal, don’t copy and paste summaries you find in other CVs or in the internet. Don’t go much in details because there are other sections of your CV to explain details. Having few sentences to cover all those things is pretty much enough. Good grammar and spelling is a must!

4. Skills

Share your hard skills that is relevant for the position that you are applying for. Don’t put skills that is irrelevant to the position even though you are good with them. This is the point where you can convince the recruiter or HR personal that you are having a good understanding about the position that you are applying for. Adding few soft skill doesn’t do any harm only if you are really good at them. Putting rating for each skills is not necessary.

5. Contact Details

Mention essential contact information such as your mobile number, email address and city where you live. Mentioning the full postal address is not necessary here. Because nobody will write to your postal address at this stage.

Adding links to your social media profiles is not necessary but showcasing your online presence is advantageful sometimes. Be mindful to add relevant social links such as LinkedIn, Stackoverflow, Hackerrank or any other profiles reflecting your knowledge and skills.

Including links to your project portfolio, personal website, blog or links of your open source contributions such as Github will be a plus point definitely.

6. Personal Information

This is an optional choice to include in your CV. What we mean by personal information in here is details such as full name, birthday, NIC number, passport number, driving license number, nationality, marital status, etc. These information are not important at the early stage of recruitment.

7. Work Experience

Work experience section is to show your permanent, part-time or internship work experience. Make sure you have mentioned employer name, location, designation, period of work and duties and responsibilities (better in point format) of each experience. If your experience or learning outcome beneficial for the next position that you are applying for, explain your duties and responsibilities highlighting them.

If you have multiple experiences, include the most recent ones on the top. Don’t include any experience or position that is irrelevant to the position that you are applying for. Such information just distracts the person who will be reading your CV. Don’t write details about employers.

8. Education

Education section is to show your educational qualifications. Similarly to the Work experience section make sure you have included each educational qualification (degree, diploma or examination), respective institute (university, institute or college) and period of study at each.

When you add multiple educational qualifications, order them by the time of achieve which bringing most recent qulifications on the top. If you have taken really good grades/marks for your certificates mention about them. Otherwise don’t mention marks or grades.

One of the most frequently asked questions is “Do I need to add schools in my CV?”. If you are a recent school leaver, adding about your schools is fine. But in the industries such as IT, they really don’t care about schools if the candidate already have earned a degree or any other higher education qualification.

To be honest we still have the tendency to judge people by their school. Because it reflects a person’s attitudes as well as the social class they have been exposed and grown up. Ugly, but true! So if you are from one of those reputed/branded schools, just mention about them and take the advantage. (just my personal opinion)

9. Projects

Use this section to provide information about project you have involved. Include each project name, description explaining what it is about, period of time and technologies (for technical projects). Don’t forget to sort your multiple projects according to the time period same as work and education information. There are different types of projects such as personal projects, academic group projects/individual projects, professional projects, etc. So don’t forget to mention project type and your contribution to each project. Providing links to get more details about each project is really useful for anybody who care about them.

10. Certifications

Having a separated section for certifications section will bring additional credibility to your profile. There are mainly academic certifications and professional certifications. Keep this section for professional certifications because you have a separated education section to provide academic qualification details.

When you add certification details include crucial information such as certification name, organization, issued date and expiring date of each certificate.

11. Achievements

Having a separate section to telling us about your academic or professional achievements is adding extra colour to your profile. This is section is not mandatory to have in your CV. Please don’t add achievements such as winning sports meet events which is irrelevant to your profession.

12. Hobbies and Interests

This is not a mandatory section to have. If your CV is not lengthy and have enough free space, then add this section to fill it up. 🙂 You can show human aspect of your life everybody would like to see about.

13. Languages

This also an optional part to include in your CV. You can add this section to fill gaps in your document. When you add languages (ie. English, Sinhala, Tamil) mention the level of proficiency of each language too.

14. Referees

Providing information of non-related referees is a subjective matter. Human resource department of some organizations looking for this information of candidates because checking with referees is a part of their recruitment process. Usually they tell about this in their vacancy advertisements. So you could provide referees information based on the requirement.

If you add referees section to your CV you have to add details of 2 non-related referees which is the standard way. Make sure you have mentioned their name, designation, organization and address including their contact information such as Email and telephone.

Summary

A CV is document that we use to market our qualifications and capabilities catering to a specific job opportunity in the market. There is no absolute right or wrong way to write it. You could personalize it. A good CV is always tailored to a specific position or job domain in the market. In other words, the target position or job could be apparent just by reading your CV. Researching and having a solid understanding about the job position would result a brilliant CV. A good CV has a good presentation of information in consistent manner maintained throughout the entire document. Even though discussing the presentation of information or the layout was not the main focus of this article, we paid attention to each areas of a CV discussing them with what are the do’s and don’ts need to be followed.

The challenge of education in private sector. (A response to Tharunayaweb)

This post has been written as a response to the below video published by a Facebook fan page: Tharunayaweb 

I got my degree from a private institute affiliated with a foreign university and I work with a private academic institute as a lecturer. But I agree with the message of this video. Because I know some foreign academic qualifications/degrees offered by private academic institutes in Sri Lanka are either bogus or poor in quality. Despite the generalized terms and language style used in this video, it’s revealing a bitter truth about the gap between the marketing and actual implementation or outcome offered by those institutes.

I am not against the private education. Everyone has an unlimited potential by their birth. Using the right approach, people can be changed, trained, developed and guided to achieve whatever they wish to be. That is what I firmly believe as an educator. Learning opportunities should be available for everyone regardless their age level and history (exam results). It can be offered by the government for free, either it can be offered by any other party for money. This is why I fundamentally stand for freedom to learn, and freedom to run any ethical and legal business in this country.

The guidance given in this video for choosing a degree from a private institute is absolutely correct. Because quality matters in everything. Addition to that I recommend to do a research about employment rate of the graduates produced by them. The history, how many graduates they have produced so far, whether they are employed, unemployed or under employed, whether they are engaged in positions guaranteed by corresponding degrees, etc.

In the other hand, this video giving a good message for private education sector. Private sector has a big challenge and responsibility in this current context. Students who are dedicated, good with memorizing facts and writing exams are almost selected for the government universities. In here, let’s not talk about exceptional and talented students who start their degrees in private universities. Private sector has the challenge with the rest, to develop their skill and shape there lives for the future. Private sector has to pay more attention about the quality of their education. Ensure students have prerequisites for the degrees offered by them. Facilitate students to gain prerequisites if they are not capable to follow those degrees.

Specially private education sector has to handle their marketing strategies carefully to convince their responsibility to an educated society.

Academic Institutes and Information Society

free-knowledge

Few weeks ago when I was at an IT academic Institute, In my hand, I was holding some printed lecturer notes of a reputed university in Sri Lanka. One of the lecturers at there saw that and said, “Are you following any course there? Those lecturer notes are available only for the students who study at there. They never release those study materials in the public” Oh really? I just felt a lucky feeling. Actually, I was not a student of there, and I never had followed any course at there.

When comparing with the rest of the world where we are now as a country, as an educated society? How we collaborate. What is our contribution for the freely available knowledge into the world?

Knowledge should be freely available for everyone! It is not something to sell. It’s not something to hide away from others and make available for limited parties. This is the opinion of most intellectuals around the world now.

In centuries ago past, education and knowledge were something expensive which available only for some limited parties. Sometimes females and some minorities were not able to attend and learn at institutions.

World has changed so rapidly. Now, the information and knowledge available for free in various media. Any enthusiast individual can learn about any subject at least for some extent by using freely available knowledge on the Internet. The only limitative factor is having a computer, an internet connection and ability of reading. Some leading and highest reputed academic institutes around the world like MIT and Harvard university working on sharing their lecturer notes/presentations and classroom videos freely available to the world generously. We can adduce MIT open course ware project as an example. It is ridiculous to see when some local institutions are attempting to hide their course ware from the public.

Some “well frogs” in academia of Sri Lanka still don’t know about what goes around the world. “Never upload your presentations on slideshare.” I remember what which said by one of my co-workers!

Sharing these information with rest of the world reveals the business strategies to the competitive academic institutes (private sector). Someone argues!

What we expect from the academic institutes? Whether it is belonged to the public sector or private sector, I think their utmost purpose should be more than just providing raw information to their students! Anyone can find any information related to any subject quickly by using the Internet.  We always expect something beyond that from these institutions.  They should train their students to how to think critically, how to discover new knowledge and how to collaborate and share knowledge with others. Sharing course-ware would be a threaten for some academic institutions those who are dealing with just information! I have seen some lecturers are discouraging the Internet usage of the students. “Internet is full of craps, which lot of false information contain. Never rely on it!” They may be afraid for get questioned back by the students.  Are they afraid of exposing their nudity or losing the authority of knowledge?

Knowledge available on the Internet should not be a challenge to the teachers and academic institutes. When they realize their utmost duty, they can take an additional leverage by encouraging their students to use the Internet and explore knowledge. It may be the school, government or private sector university. This is the right time to think back and realize what should be the purpose and what should be the modern teacher’s role in the classroom in this modern era; information society. Because just selling freely available knowledge is a cheap business!