What is a CV?
Curriculum Vitae (CV) is a Latin expression; it is the expression used to define a professional document of an individual which especially outlines the qualifications and strengths he/she represents. The CV is a very important tool which an individual will need to explore any career openings and it is a sales document.
While a CV is a necessary tool for job seekers, there usually arises a lot of conflict about; what to write in a CV, the length of the CV, what should be included, and what should not be included in a CV.
In this article, we’ll talk about how to write a CV and how to ensure it sells and makes you stand out. Before I go further, I would like to point out that;
- Your CV is not a one for all document, it cannot serve for all job openings
- Your CV needs to be updated from time to time. It should be updated time to time to reflect new values, new skills gained, new qualifications and achievements.
Usually a CV should contain but is not restricted to;
- Name and Contact Details (Phone, Address, Email, LinkedIn URL/Website)
- Personal Profile
- Skills/Area of Specialty
- Professional/Career Experience
- Educational Background
Start your CV with your name; don’t start your CV with “CURRICULUM VITAE”. Anyone who picks up a CV by default will know that he/she is holding or reading a CV. More so, if it is in soft copy (which is most times the case nowadays), you can title the document with your name + Curriculum Vitae i.e Alimi Adeola’s Curriculum Vitae and that will be okay, but it is totally unnecessary to start your CV with “CURRICULUM VITAE”.
Figure 1: Don’t start your CV like this
The first thing to consider when writing your CV is what kind of template matches your profession. Don’t use an overly creative template for a profession that appreciates simple and progressive CV templates.
A lot of times you see some ads that show you something about a one page CV being the right CV format and that a progressive template is outdated, that’s not true. Your potential employer cares little about how fashionable your CV is; he is more interested in “how much quality you have and what strengths you can bring to company”. There’s a limit to one page templates, so a progressive template is still your best bet.
Download a Free CV Template Here:
Some years ago, this section used to be the section where people write something called “Objective Statement”. Well, that time is gone now, now the focus is on your personal profile.
What you write in your personal profile should be strong enough to serve as a hook and keep your reader’s interest to read further and find out more about you and your qualifications.
How to write a Personal Profile?
Your Profile/Executive Statement can be a combination of the following key points;
- Who/what you are (Position, Qualification, Certification etc)
- Where you are currently in your professional career
- What strengths do you have or what major contribution have you gained during the cause of your work.
- What contributions would you be bringing to the company that employs you.
Figure 2: Sample Executive Profile
This is not commandment though but your profile can be something in between those points.
Your Professional Experience section should include;
- Name of Company you worked for.
- Job designation/title
- Duration you worked there and
- Roles undertaken; clearly showing responsibilities, but more important achievements, quantifiable where possible.
It’s not enough to list the duties in your last work place; find a way to include the achievements and contributions you made while working there. Those are the things that will really indicate to your employer what he stands to gain by employing you. So, think about it, what contributions did you make, what new things did you bring on board. You may think there was nothing but if you give it a thought you contributed in one way or the other towards the growth of the organization so pick out those special achievements and include it. Did you organization celebrate any achievement? You were part of the success so don’t be shy to include it.
Figure 3: Sample Achievements/Duties
Indicating your achievements and contributions makes you stand out as an achiever and not just a doer.
Skills/Area of Specialty
Skill can be used by entry-level to mid-level professionals while senior level and above can use “Area of Specialty”. Reason is that senior executives by reason of specializing in a particular field, they have developed the necessary expertise and they know their areas of strength and the areas they can offer more value.
Ensure that the skills or specialty you are indicating in this session matches with your duties and achievements in your professional experience session; what that means is that if you include “Content Creation” as a skill or area of specialty in your skills session, there should be a reflecting duty or achievement made as a content creator.
Skill- Content Creation
Professional Experience-Provided contents for special reports on religion beats and edited the news scripts.
When applying for a job, it’s pertinent that you use the language that is used on the job ad. Doing this will ensure that you don’t miss out on some reasonable points if the organization you applied to uses Applicant Tracking System (ATS) to check CVs.
In this session, you are to highlight the certificates and further trainings you’ve acquired to show how qualified you are for the job. Ensure you have proofs of these claims in case you are asked for them.
Also, don’t forget to mention the name of the award/certificate, the body that awarded/certified you, and the time you where certified.
Try to include interests or hobbies that align to your industry and job role.
When necessary, you can include two or more referees who can attest to your character and qualities. They must not necessary be your family members. A former boss or colleague is just fine; or a prominent person in your community.
- Use the same font and spacing throughout your CV.
- Always centralize/justify your work.
- Use templates that are simple, clean and straightforward.
- Spacing and fonts should be the same all through your CV.
- Use bold/italics or bullets to highlight or emphasize some points but for the love of professionalism, please don’t overdo it.
- Proof read your work over and over to ensure nothing is missing out or misplaced. Have 2-5 people help you proof your CV. Crosscheck dates, names and figures.
PS: When writing your CV, your duty is to capture on paper the necessary details and information that will suit your potential employer.
PSS: Learn about the 3 types of CV format and which one you should use.
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