Tips on how to write a CV that can guaranty a job interview

how to write a good CV

In the competitive job market, you need a perfect CV to get ahead. Learn what to include or exclude from your resume; what to emphasise or de-emphasis in the document so as to attract the attention of potential employers

Ola Ishola

A perfect resume/CV will attract the employer to give you the chance to market yourself physically in a job interview. It is the door key to your desired job. A CV is an important document in the job search process. If you have a perfect CV, you will get job interviews and if it is not, you might likely not be called for the job interview for that desired job.

Your curriculum vitae is a document for marketing and selling yourself to prospective employers. It should state who and what you are that makes you the best candidate for the job: your professional work history, education, skills, abilities and achievements.

Even though in some cases, employers may require a cover letter and a completed application form, your CV is a must as it helps give the employer a glimpse of where you are coming from and possibly what you can do.

Even though there is really no perfect structure for this important document, your CV must include some details about you. These should be detailed in sections. These are:

Personal Details: These should include your name, professional title and contact details and should be used as your CV title, appropriately positioned at the top of the first page. It is not necessary to state ‘CV of Mr XYZ’. Your contact details should include your email address and phone number(s), and your address.   For other personal details, you should be careful and discrete and tailor these to the specific application the CV is to be attached to. In Nigeria, most Civil Service applications will require state and local government of origin. Also, if appropriate include marital status if it gives an advantage.

Personal Statement: This is your personal profile stating your career objective and professional profile. This major section should come after your name and contact details and should be kept brief. Its aim is to give prospective employers an overview of who you are and what you are. This section should be written to fit with each job application: highlighting specific qualities that match the role stating Who are you? What can you offer the company? What are your career goals?

Work Experience: state your former jobs, what roles and accomplishments were recorded. These should include former jobs, internships and work experience. List them in reverse chronological order- your recent role is the most relevant to the employer. Each previous position should state the job title, the employer, the dates you worked and a line that give a summary of the role. Then itemise your key responsibilities, skills and achievements on each. Note: highlight the duties most relevant to the job you’re applying for. Focus on accomplishments and vital roles in projects, tasks above and beyond your regular duties.

Education and Qualifications: List your academic and other qualifications. Include the relevant qualifications for the particular application, listing them in reverse chronological order with each including the name of the institutions and the dates you attended, the qualifications and grades you achieved. If you have a professional qualification(s) state as follows: Qualification/Title, grade – Institution/ association – Year. Include relevant professional Licenses, certifications, awards and publications.

Additional sections

These are to strengthen your CV and highlight your skills.

  • Key skills: this shoulg be placed after your personal profile. Choose the right skills for each application, tailored to the job you are applying for. These are hard or professional skills: IT, vocational, translation, video production, etc. Soft skills or personal trait like organized, team player, critical thinking, excellent communication, or problem-solving.
  • Hobbies and interests: Include hobbies and interests that help to show how well you fit into the company or the industry. Avoid hobbies that don’t add value to your CV or make you stand out or are relevant to the job.

Special Attention/ presentation

  • Update: Keep your CV up to date so that it can be sent out at a moment’s notice.
  • Length: The standard length of a CV is two pages. However, one or three pages may be more appropriate.
  • Headings: Each section should be have a big, bold heading.
  • Font size and page margins: This body should be between 10 and 12 point font, headings between 14 and 18 points and page margins around 2.5cm, but not less than1.27cm
  • Formatting/Proofreading: Formatting must be consistent throughout your CV. Check for typos and inaccuracies; proofread it thoroughly.
  • Use action verbs for your statements.

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