Prof George Magoha, who has been nominated as the next Education Cabinet Secretary, appears to be going head to head with Prof Makau Mutua on the longest Curriculum Vitae (CV) in the country.
When he unsuccessfully applied to become Chief Justice, Mutua submitted an 85-page CV but the updated version posted on the website of the Buffalo Law School at the State University of New York where he is a distinguished professor is now 94 pages long.
Prof Magoha’s is 91 pages long after being updated in August last year. The CV, which was 81 pages long in January last year, has been doing the rounds on social media following his nomination by President Uhuru Kenyatta to take over from Amina Mohammed at Jogoo House B early Friday.
The former University of Nairobi vice-chancellor, who is currently the chairman of the Kenya National Examinations Council, is now set to be vetted by the National Assembly Committee on Appointments, which is chaired by Speaker Justin Muturi.
While there is little doubt his nomination will be approved given his track record, the length of his CV has sparked debate on how long an ideal CV should be and whether having a resume containing all academic work, job experience and other achievements increases one’s chances of impressing recruiters and employers.
According to Samson Osero, a human resources development consultant, a CV needs to provide information that basically shows skills and competences and record of work which are used to decide the suitability of the candidate.
“91 pages CV is offside. It sounds like a summary of an autobiography. Most people fill their CVs with lengthy stories of irrelevant information such as where they went for conferences or how they are good at golf,” adds Osero, who is a former executive director of the Institute of Human Resource Management (IHRM).
He says a good CV should be less than 12 pages and the most summarised one at 3 pages and should be presented for a specific purpose and should not delve into roles and papers written or published. Some people even end up including their job description in the CV.
According to Osero, the key information in a CV should be bio data; education and training (preferably 2 paragraphs unless you want to list all the courses including certificates you have). One should provide maximum of three referees.
“CV should be crafted to suit the position you are applying for. A KCE certificate of 1958 may not be something to belabor about. Start with highest qualification. Work-related accomplishments need to be summarized,” he told Business Today.
A CV should basically shows skills and competences and record of work which are used to decide the suitability of the candidate.
Osero says there is a misunderstanding on the purpose of the CV and content that is supposed to be there, adding conciseness of the CV projects the kind of candidate you are as you will be seen to be able to crystallise your skills and competences.
In Mutua’s case, for instance, most of the pages of the CV he submitted to Judicial Service Commission (JSC) contained his publications, papers, articles, books and seminars with his education background only takes a few paragraphs.
Three pages of the CV were consumed by the awards and honours he has received while 39 pages contain newspapers and magazine articles that took 39 pages.
Mutua attached four complete publications. Selected “invited lectures, speeches and presentation” took 15 pages of Mutua’s speech while the remaining pages were divided between his academic and university service and consultancies.
Despite his impressive record, he was not shortlisted by the JSC with Justice David Maraga eventually winning the battle to succeed Willy Mutunga.
In Magoha’s case, a personal statement in which he, among others, describes himself as a top grade Professor of Urological and Transplant Surgery since 2000 at the University of Nairobi, who trained in Nigeria, Ghana, Ireland and United Kingdom, takes 2 and 3/4 pages.
He reveals that his cutting edge original research on prostate, penile, and testicular cancer, erectile dysfunction and circumcision among others continue to positively impact on my international colleagues and Global thematic area.
Administratively, Magoha describes himself as a firm hands on and results oriented transformative
leader practicing professionalism, team work and team spirit rather than command and control.
Some of the memoranda he signed during his 10-year tenure at UoN with international institutions, many of them universities, take up 12 pages while selected engagements he had during the period cover 19 and 1/2 pages.
Another 15 pages are taken up by roles and responsibilities he held as head of various bodies, including as VC, and achievements realised. His membership of various learned professional bodies takes up 1 and 1/2 pages.
International academic and management conferences and seminars attended cover 14 pages. Undergraduate teaching and post-graduate teaching and supervision at UoN’s Department of Surgery cover just over five pages.
Academic scientific publications he has authored or co-authored take up nearly seven pages while national, continental and professional responsibilities he has held since 1999 take just over two pages.
The rest of Magoha’s CV contains awards and grants he has received, research collaboration, national and international launches for drugs used for treatment of erectile dysfunction and fields of current research projects.
The good professor also indicates he enjoys wide reading of current international affairs, walking and jogging, classical music, reading history as well as gardening and tree planting.
editor [at] businesstoday.co.ke