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CVs / Resumes

While many UN organizations now require online application through the Galaxy system (PHPs), there are some that accept/require CVs in addition to or instead of the PHP. This gives an opportunity to be more creative with the image and general layout of your application than is offered by the PHP structure. The traditional style of CV has been the chronological, where the emphasis is placed on employment experience in reverse chronological order. While this style is still common, for UN purposes, a functional or combination style is preferable. The differences in style are outlined below. In all instances, CVs/resumes should be concise, clear and easy on the eye in terms of layout reader-friendly (max.2-3 pages).

1. Profile Statement
The profile statement is your introduction. Its purpose is to give the reader a quick, or highlevel, idea of who you are professionally, and the primary value you can offer an organization. It should outline concisely your key skills, strengths and experience. In the past, resumes usually included an objective statement at the beginning. It was a way of summarizing the type of position youre seeking. The advantage of a profile statement is that it gives the opportunity to position yourself for the job more precisely. If you had 20 seconds with the hiring manager of the organization where you were applying, would you spend it telling him/her what you want, or would you try to highlight your skills and experience? Think of your profile statement, then, as those 20 seconds with the hiring manager.

2. Career History and Achievements


This section is the main body of your resume, demonstrating how you used your skills to achieve results and make positive contributions to your previous positions. It is important to build key skills phrases and to accurately outline your achievements. The two styles that are discussed most often are the chronological format and the functional format. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages when it comes to presenting your information. A third style, the combination, is a compromise between the two and has become more popular in recent years. Heres an overview of the three formats.

a) Chronological
This is the most common resume style, and generally the easiest to write. In the chronological format, the emphasis is placed on employment experience. The applicant's job history is presented in reverse chronological order, with the most recent jobs placed at the top of the list.

b) Functional
In this non-linear format, your skills and achievements are emphasized. Your employment history is summarized or avoided all together. Your skills and previous relevant experience (including educational experience) are presented at the beginning of your resume. They are organized so the employer can see how your skills relate to the job position you are applying for. It may take more effort to write a functional resume, but you are free to highlight your talents instead of your recent job experience.

c) Combination
The combination resume is simply a functional resume with a brief employment history added. Skills and accomplishments are still listed first; the employment history follows. You need to reveal where you worked, when you worked, and what your job position was. While most

2008 by cinfo www.cinfo.ch Tips for applying CVs / Resumes

employers might still prefer a chronological resume, this is a good alternative to the functional resume.

3. Achievements
In your Career History, emphasis is now increasingly put not only on listing duties and responsibilities, but also on quantifying your achievements while undertaking those duties. It is important to provide concrete examples of how you have provided value or made an impact in your current and previous positions. Providing the context, the specific actions you took and the results you achieved in carrying out your duties is a critical component in writing a successful CV/resume. Using the CAR statement model (Context-Action-Result), think of the WHEN, the WHO, the WHAT and the WHY in order to effectively contexualise your achievements.

4. Education
This section is used to profile and highlight your education in terms of completed degrees, diplomas, certificates or any of the above that are still in progress. Also include any evening programs that you are enrolled in. In other words, you are answering the primary question: What academic qualifications do you have that are related to the position?

5. Professional & Personal Development


This section is used to highlight any courses, workshops or seminars you have successfully completed to upgrade your skills and knowledge that are relevant to your career. In other words, you are answering the question: What have you done lately to improve and expand your skill set?

6. Additional information
Languages, computer literacy and extended periods of residence in other cultures should be included, the latter emphasizing cultural awareness and sensitivity.

2008 by cinfo www.cinfo.ch Tips for applying CVs / Resumes