How to write a good CV (Curriculum Vitae) to land the job of your choice

Curriculum Vitae abbreviated as CV is an important element for all job seekers. In fact, hardly will you apply for any job without submitting your CV. Now, you have to compose a CV that is very appealing to the employer; so, how do go about writing this? In this article, I will teach you “How to write a good CV” and with a good cover letter.

Obviously, you need a CV with the right content that will command attention. In a word, you need a ‘WOW!’ CV. Yeah, just like any other content management, that of your curriculum vitae is equally important.

Before we dive into the subject matter; I need to point out to you that sometimes, CV can be referred to as “Resume”. Although, some people have pointed out that there are differences between a Curriculum Vitae and a resume; but to be honest with you, the ONLY difference between the two are:

  1. The length of each document; Contents included in the documents; and
  2. The actual purpose (the use) for the document.

Nevertheless, I will take you through the main differences between a CV and Resume at the bottom of this page. Let us just have our attention on the main topic of this article – “How to write a good CV”

How to write a good CV

Why do you need a good CV?

You may not know, but it is a fact – Job hunting success starts with your ability to write a good resume! Not only will a good CV command attention but also can land you the job interview.

First thing to remember, a winning resume is not just writing down your “course of life”, but a well written document that have all the necessary requirement to land you the best jobs. By the time you finish reading this article, you will have learn how to write a good CV like the professionals.

CV, Content of a CV, How to write a good CV, What is a CV

What is a CV

A Curriculum Vitae (CV) means documenting your “course of life”. That is, the summary of your work experiences to include skills, knowledge and your know how.

In general, a typical document of this type normally has two or three pages that will give a better picture of your work experience, educational qualification, achievements, hobbies and a general profile of yourself. You may or may net include references in it; and do not forget, your name, address, phone numbers and emails address should be included.

Wait a minute!

Before I take you through what should be included in a good CV and best way to lay it out, it is worth letting you know the general rule of thump in writing a winning CV.

The number one rule of thump is – you must match your CV to the position applied for. How do you do this? In a job vacancy advertised through any form of media either in the newspaper, on the internet or any job board, there are few indicators to gives you an insight on how best to match your CV to the advertised position.

These indicators are always in the Job Specification and includes Role applied, Responsibilities, qualifications and few others. In addition, match it to things that ‘required‘, ‘essential‘ and/or ‘desirable‘ in the job advertised.

Types of CV

In general, we have two types of CV namely – Educational based and Experienced based. The first type is mainly use by fresh graduate from the Universality of any higher institution while the latter is mainly used by those with work experience(s). Check out the list of Nigeria companies offering graduate jobs.

Similarly, individuals applying for research and project work with educational institutions such as applying for a Master’s degree are more likely to submit an Educational based type of CV while Experienced base resume individual applying for non-academic positions.

A well structure and tailor made Curriculum Vitae will do the wonders of securing you an interview – first step needed to secure a job.

Information to include in a CV (Curriculum Vitae)

In this section, I will point out the necessary information that needs to go inside your Curriculum Vitae. As earlier mentioned, this document you are trying to create should not be longer than two sides of a standard A4 paper. At most three sides of the A4 paper if you are including references.

1. Contact details

In the first place, it is very imperative to include your contact details at the top of the page. Contact details to be included are full name, address, phone number and email address. Let your name font and size stand out from the rest of the information.

In a standard CV, you are not required to include your date of birth or photograph unless you are applying for a job in certain industry. For example, a standard format is represented in the image below.

How to write a good CV, CV, best format for a CV

It is worth to know that there is no right or wrong format in writing a good Curriculum Vitae neither is there a specified fond for it;

2. Personal Profile

In like manner, your profile is best placed at the beginning of the CV to catch the attention of the reader. Although, an optional part, but it is the place to highlight your skill, personal and experience; a place to show your attributes and reasons why you want to take up that particular post.

By all means, let your profile be original and concise. Remember to be assertive when putting your wordings down and ultimately focus on the industry you are applying to. As mentioned earlier, make it concise – not more than 100 words is idea.

  • Example of a personal statement to go with your profile for an Oil and Gas job application (Managerial position): Accomplished operation manager with a proven track record in leading teams of managers to automate and develop innovative solutions that increases daily oil production and reduces downtime in an Oil and Gas Industry.

3. Education and Qualifications….start with the highest qualification

One of the most important thing that the employer will look at thoroughly is your educational qualification, Does it match what they are looking for?

List your educational qualification in reverse chronological order together with, any relevant major modules/courses taken that may be relevant (this is optional). Begin with the name of institution, course studied and qualification obtain. In addition, you should include date attended and work your way backward.

For example, below is a sample of how to complete the educational part of your CV.

How to write a CV in Nigeria, Creating a CV, CV for Oil and Gas jobs in Nigeria

4. Work experience

In this section, you are to list all your working experience. Remember not to omit any date, otherwise, you may have to give reasons why does dates were missing if selected for the interview.

In addition to the name of the company you have worked for, you are to give the company location, your role and responsibility and the year you worked there (if current job, state year till date). My advice is to start with your most recent job and work your way backward in chronological order.

On the other hand, make sure to mention things that are relevant to the job you are applying for. This gives you an added advantage.

Example of how to write your work experience:

  • ‘The Company’ Limited, Lagos, Nigeria, June 2015 – Present.
  • Business Development Manager (position)
  • Head the business team at the Lagos, Nigeria head office (responsibility)
  • Create, develop and present business proposal to prospective clients (responsibility)
  • Develop new sales channel across Nigeria that resulted in over 50% increase in revenue

5. Core Skills and Achievements

In the same way as above, use this section to list your key competencies that forms your core skills. In addition to you highlighting things you have achieved in your previous jobs. As a matter of fact, this is the section for you to shine; use it to showcase what you are made of. At the same time, talk about skills and quality you will be bringing to the company. For example, can you speak any foreign language or have any form of IT skills? Mention them here.

By all means, your listing in this section should be relevant to the position of interest. Do not over-hype yourself. This is very important!

  • Example of Achievement: While I was with ‘The company’ Limited, I successfully lead a team that won the best innovative company in Nigeria for the second time running in 2017.

6. Interests and hobbies…..this is optional

In conclusion, list what you are interested in and your bobbies. While listing your hobbies, make your interests and hobbies are very short in sentences – preferably a line or two. Depending on the kind of job you are applying for, you can simply put socializing (good for someone looking for a marketing position).

7. List two references…..this is optional

Two references are ideal to be included. Although, you are not required to include them on your CV; you may or may not include them in it, Employers will require to produce them before employing you. It will be ideal for you to have them ready.

My advice to all job seekers is that –

  1. Before writing your CV, think about the font and format to use. You also need to what sort of information to include,
  2. Tailor it to the job specification.
  3. Maximum of three pages is idea but if you can make it shorter, it is better. Most employers do not have time to read all the content of a CV. The shorter and accurate it is, the better for you.
  4. Your personal profile section should not be more than 100 words.
  5. Relate your personal statement to the employers requirements.

I personally wish you the best of luck in your job hunting search. Much appreciation from all of us at Yokebay – the online freelance website.

Special thanks to you for reading this article on “How to write a good CV”. If you feel that I have omitted anything that needs to be in the write-up, please drop me a message in the comment below.

In addition, if you find it useful, kindly help us to share with friends and family.

Citations: University of Kent – “How to write a successful CV – University of Kent”.

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