The purpose of a CV is to convey information of your skills, abilities, career aspirations. Recruiters shortlist applications by selecting candidates that they believe are a better fit for a job vacancy and it is your skills that show how much fit you can be to a vacancy. Hence, when preparing your CV, ensure that it contains information that portrays your skills.
The following guide should help you put together a CV in 3 steps;
Step 1 – Identify Sections You Need to Include in Your CV
Step 2 – Add Content
Step 3 – Review CV
STEP 1 – Identify Sections You Need to Include in Your CV
When compiling the sections to include on your CV, always ensure that the sections you are working with are relevant to your needs – that is, do you have data to fill in that section? Will this section enable you portray relevant information about your skills, abilities, career aspirations et?
In the cause of reviewing CVs, I have come to learn that most people simply pick up a CV template regardless of if they have the data to fill in information on such a template.
Your CV may contain the following sections:
A CV is effective only if the content conveys the right information to recruiters. Failing to add the right content could lead you to having a CV that;
– Packed full with too much information – poor clarity and hard to understand
Step 2 – Add Content
CV Content – Title
You may write your name and contact details in this section. See an example as follows;
CV Content – Personal Information
This section is a little about you and should contain information like Gender, Nationality etc. It really says nothing about your skills and your CV can do very well without it. If however you have chosen to include it on your CV, do keep it brief and avoid items like ‘LGA’, ‘place of birth’ etc as they really do nothing in portraying information about your skills/abilities to recruiters. Certain information should be provided only when requested and most of the items in the Personal Information section of CVs fall into that category.
CV Content – Education & Qualification
This section of your CV provides information of your academic achievements and perhaps your intellectual abilities.
Start the listing of your Education & Qualification by listing the most recent one first as follows;
CV Sections – Work Experience
In this section of a CV, you can capture information about your current and past jobs. The work experience section of your CV is one of the most important parts of a CV. The best way to convey information on your Skills when preparing a CV is through your activities – work experiences and the like. Merely stating in a section of your CV that you are a good team player or excellent communicator adds nothing to your CV. Instead, think of the skills you need to portray on your CV and write your responsibilities to convey such information. For instance by stating in ones work experiences “Dealing with customer enquiries by telephone, email, letter or face to face” this already tells a recruiter that the owner of the CV has worked in a position that required use of communication skills and hence the individual possesses such skill. The most important part of this section of your CV is the listing of your duties/responsibilities and this conveys information about your skills / abilities as follows;
CV Section – IT Competence
It’s a digital world and most jobs require you to have knowledge and experience working with certain systems and softwares. Ensure to state these here. Individual with the IT career path will find this as one of the most important sections of their CV and may perhaps make this one of the earlier sections of their CV.
Other sections you may have on your CV include Professional Memberships, Trainings, Publications, Interests/Activities. If you have the information to create these sections then include them on your CV but ensure they are relevant to your career path and/or the job you are applying for.
Referees are usually contacted at a much later stage of a recruitment process. You do not need to give details of your referee unless a job advert you are responding to has requested you to do so.
STEP 3 – Review CV
After writing your CV, review it. Check spellings, arrangement of items and most importantly the relevance of the information on your CV to the job you are applying for.
A few notes…
– Do not squeeze in your personal information into the Title of your CV. I have come across CVs with information like ‘Date of Birth’ squeezed into the header of the CV where the title is. Clarity is a key component of effective CVs, keep an eye on it.
– You do not need to state information like your Place of Birth, LGA etc on your CV. These items say nothing about your skills and thus add nothing to your CV. A recruiter that is impressed with your skill / abilities conveyed through the information on your CV will certainly request this information if needed (in other words, your application will not be ignored just because you did not state these). Some job requirements state age limits and it’s for that reason you may want to include your date of birth on your CV although just as I stated above, if the content of your CV is very effective, a recruiter that really needs this information will get back to you and request it.
– Information like your Primary School education is not relevant on a CV. Minimum requirements always start from SSCE and upwards. Also, avoid listing basic computer trainings in the Education & Qualification section of your CV.
Ensure the Work Experience section of your CV says something. Do not give a listing of the name of your employer and your job title then end it there. Make sure you portray your skills properly.
You may also download our free CV template below:
Download Free CV template now
After downloading the MS Word document, simply replace the details on the template with your information.