One rule you should note, however, is that there is no ‘one best way’ to write a CV. You can be creative about yours (it’s a free world), but there are certain things that MUST be included. We have put together some suggestions that will help place your CV in the spotlight.
Generally, CVs are of two kinds – Education-based and Experience-based. The first is used when you have got no work experience (fresh graduate) or you are applying for a research role in an educational institution. The rule is that your educational/professional qualifications come first before other information. The other, experience-based, centres more on the skills you have garnered while working. Your experience should be listed from the most recent to the oldest, not forgetting to showcase your exploits. For both, put to mind that one CV may not work for all the industries, thus, you will have to adapt each CV for each industry.
Usually, a CV should contain the following information:
1.Your personal details – name, address, age (not be compulsory), phone number, email etc Put these information in a strategic location and in legible fonts, easily noticeable by the employer and make sure the data are current. (Some job seekers can fix in email addresses that are not theirs!)
2.Education and qualifications (starting with the highest)
e.g. 2009 – University of Lagos
• B.A. History and International Relations
• Excellent diplomatic skills and versed in three foreign languages – French, Protugese and Chinese
• Graduated with a first class grade of 4.56 and won the ‘Best Graduating Student’ award.
3.Work experience (current first)
e.g. 2012 (present) – Iceberg Communications Limited – Marketing Executive
Iceberg Limited is Nigeria’s number one market place for electrical home appliances.
• Individually increased the monthly revenue from N150 to N235 in 6 months.
• Worked with the marketing team to spread our products from Lagos to all the 6 states of the Western Nigeria within a year.
• Won the ‘Salesman of the Year” award consecutively for November and December 2011.
Do remember to link your job experience with what you are applying for. It will increase the employer’s preference for you.
Keep this section short. As you build up on experience, this length of this section will diminish greatly. Key things to note here are:
• Avoid clichés – Scrub off words like ‘Team player’, ‘Motivated’ etc. Trust me, they will be lost among thousands others. Be creative!
• Be specific about your hobbies – Replace ‘running’ with ‘I jog about 300 km everyday’. This shows you are very active.
• If you have demonstrated leadership skills at any time, here is the part to show it. – I was Head Girl of The Baptist Academy High School, Ikeja from 2009 to 2010. During my tenure, the school won 3 academic awards through various competitions that I actively participated in
• If you had volunteered for anything even if it’s as remote as fencing in Gloucester
• Add any other interests that are relevant to the job you are interested in.
Normally two references are required: one academic (from lecturer or project supervisor) and the other from an employer (perhaps from your internship).
The lesser the pages of a CV, the greater attention it receives. As an employer, you would not want to be bothered by CVs that look like handouts. A 2-page CV is excellent. Therefore, be direct, clear and convincing. For design, use a quality A4 white/cream paper and check out for grammatical errors and misspellings. Use good font (like Times New Roman, Verdana) and normal font size is 12 with larger sizes for subheads and if asked to use write, makes lettering legible such that an employer does not need to squint.
So, there is it! Isn’t it time to give your CV a revisit?
Have a fun.