How to Land a Job Interview

Job Interview
Job Interview

What is the maximum time recruiters spend on a CV/résumé? I think I should rather ask this question first: are you still wondering why you are never invited for a job interview?  Now let me be clear: we all know what it takes to get a job in the civil/public sector, so the kind of job am referring to herein is private sector job. 

In 2019, the year Ghana hosted The Year of Return, I was part of a team to recruit for a particular company. We had reviewed several curricula vitae (CVs). Among them, there was one noticeable. Noticeable not for how professional it looked but for how poorly it was written.  It lacked a summary statement, and it was flooded with buzzwords and clichés like hard-working, team player, professional, analytical skills, and problem-solving skills. The applicant was therefore not marked for interview. 

But later that day, for some inexplicable reasons, he was also invited for interview. The decision to invite him for interview altered the cause of my life. It will marvel you to learn that that said applicant emerged the strongest candidate for the job position, after the interview. In that experience, I saw how CV has denied intelligent and talented jobseekers the opportunity to be employed. This experience led me to start training young people in CV and cover letter writing. 

Perhaps you are never invited for a job interview because your CV/résumé has repeatedly refused to effectively communicate your work experience, skills and accomplishments to recruiters/employers. Within six seconds, which is the maximum time recruiters spend scanning through a CV, if the summary statement of your CV refuses to sell you, refuses to hook the recruiter to read the rest of your CV, you will miss the opportunity for a job interview. 

We are taught everything, history, mathematics, politics, etc., at school. What we are not taught—and most schools don’t— is CV writing. Yet the primary aim of schooling to is to one-day get a job after graduation. Therefore, if I were to advise the stakeholders in education, I would suggest that the first thing students be taught in school should be CV writing. When students understand from the onset what employable skills and experience are needed to land a particular job of their wish, they will prioritize those skills and the pertinent work experience, and do all they can to acquire them during the course their education. And that, they can acquire through extracurricular actives and internships.  

But the fact that students are oblivious to the employable skills and work experience they need to land themselves their desired jobs, they go on accumulating information in the name of knowledge throughout the course of their studies, which is often not enough for employment. And this is true because it is common that after graduation, most graduates find it difficult enumerating the employable skills they have. They often enumerate the courses they read at school instead of the skills and work experiences they have. The courses we read at school are not enough to get us employment, but the skills and work experience we acquire are.  

If CV is what creates the first impression about the jobseeker, then I will implore jobseekers to spend their time to learn how to structure and format their CVs, to learn to write captivating summary statement, so that they can make it to interview.

The scourge of an employment is felt across continents. Getting a job now is elusive. Meaning, to get a job, one must distinguish himself with his CV/résumé.


Rahim Newton

Writing coach and consultant, Author, entrepreneur and social commentator

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