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Kenya: Resume/CV Guidelines

by Goinglobal

In Kenya, applications for professional positions are written in English, unless there is a specific request for another language. Always proofread résumés carefully for typographical and grammatical errors. Do not rely solely on spellcheck program

Many organizations prefer online applications, and may or may not accept hard copies. It can be useful to set up an electronic signature, if possible. There are many tech-savvy individuals in Kenya, and a staff member in a cyber café or other organization that offers IT services will usually be able to assist with establishing a secure virtual signature.

An application, whether submitted online or by hard copy, will consist of a cover letter and a CV. It usually is not necessary to submit copies of certificates with an initial application, but if invited to an interview, it is important to have copies in case they are requested. Similarly, letters of recommendation and honors and awards should be mentioned in the CV, but not sent with the initial application. These should be taken to the interview, as well.

Begin your résumé with basic contact details (in general, a photo is not necessary), followed by a short summary of strengths and experience. New graduates should include educational details listed in reverse-chronological order; candidates with professional experience may include this at the end, after noting previous work positions. As with education, experience, both on CVs and résumés, is usually presented in reverse-chronological format, with the jobseeker’s most recent employment listed first. Most employers prefer this format rather than the functional format, which categorizes a worker’s experience by skill area.

Unlike the US, résumés submitted to employers in Kenya may be longer than two pages, and should include detailed descriptions of responsibilities and accomplishments. Usually, a résumé for a recent graduate is about two pages long, but a more experienced candidate may have a longer résumé.

Many development organizations — for example, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank (WB), the European Union (EU) and United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) — will have specific formats for the CV. These often can be found on the organization’s website.

While many development professionals have a long basic CV, it is usually necessary to select the information most relevant for the position, as there often is a maximum acceptable length — generally, three or four pages. It is critically important that you submit your CV in the correct format and of the correct length. For example, USAID provides clear directions stating which types of candidates require full CVs (usually for key personnel) and which require only a profile of a few paragraphs, about half a page total. The profile must be carefully written to convey the maximum amount of essential information in the fewest words.

A number of organizations do not acknowledge unsuccessful applications. While this can be frustrating for the applicant, it is a reflection of the fact there may be hundreds of applications for a single position.


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