When it comes to landings your dream job, your CV is an important factor to look into. Get it right, and you’ll have an interview in no time, but get it wrong, and you may not be getting the offers you deserve. Every CV is different as you want to show why your set of skills makes you suitable for the position you’re applying for at that moment, but all would follow a similar structure. This guide will show you how to write a great CV that’s ready for this digital information age.
As part of my professional practice coupled with being an employer, I would have reviewed more than 10, 000 CVs till date. I have opened more than 1000 CVs this year alone, many have asked me to help review their CVs but because of my busy schedule, I think it is better I put all my thought together and make a post about what I have learnt over the years. That way, I can help more people land their dream jobs.
What is a CV?
A CV, short for curriculum vitae, is a personal promotional document used to sell yourself to prospective employers. It answers some questions about what a prospective employer may want to ask. In generic terms, It should tell them about you, your professional work history and your skills, abilities and achievements. Ultimately, it should highlight why you’re the best person for the job.
Appearance of a Great CV
- A CV in its entirety should address one important question - “what kind of value do you bear to offer an organization?”.
- It should not as well look too cumbersome because recruitment process is already a tiring process for employers; so your CV should have a look that shows you are trying to make their job easier.
- Your CV should look pretty and professional. Don’t attempt to design your CV yourself. Get a CV template instead and use it, you will save time and you will earn the respect of the employer.
The appearance rules for CV
- Write the CV yourself. The best person to answer the question about your value is you. You may however contract someone to review and update your CV for you. But don’t contract someone to independently write your CV on your behalf. Of course, a consultant can sit by you and guide you, asking relevant questions or providing insights.
- A CV should be brief. The best CVs are one-pagers. And if they have to be two pages, ensure the important informations are in the first page. Employers will most likely not check the other pages because of their busy schedules. Also Including more pages than necessary can send a wrong signal to anyone reviewing your CV.
- Except you are a badass professional graphic designer, you should not attempt to design your CV by yourself. You should get a CV template and edit it with your own information. There are a lot of free templates online. You can buy some professionally designed templates too. You should ensure you don’t leave any dummy content though. Also make sure you don’t tamper with the styling of the template. That’s how you stay professional in the eyes of an employer.
- A CV should be published as PDF except the employer ask specifically for another file type. It’s important because PDF is the easiest to view on most devices. Most people will send other formats that their employers will not be able to open easily.
- The file name of your CV should be your full name with “(CV)” appended to it. E.g. “Firstname-Surname-CV.pdf”
What should be in your CV?
While the structure of a CV is flexible, bending to your unique skill set and experiences, there are particular sections that employers expect to see on your CV regardless. Here are the sections be believe are generic information to include in your CV:
- Name - Your full name (Some Employers will google your name. So please google your name yourself first and have an idea of what employers will see when they google you)
- Phone number - (Put the best number here, you can indicate another for whatsapp)
- Email address - (Please use a professional email address e.g. email@example.com)
- Web address (Use a personal website, LinkedIn profile or any other online platform that includes your professional work). This is needed because your CV may not be able to contain all your work, including a link gives employers an avenue to learn more about you. Just ensure the link is well updated with your professional work. Remove anything that doesn’t portray you well on those platforms
- Contact details (Just City and Country - no full address pls)
- Previous relevant work experiences: list briefly - Organization name / Job Role / Year you joined them. If you have worked in many places, limit the space to those ones that’s most relevant.
- Educational background - briefly mention the institution name, qualifications attained and the year of graduation. If you have gone to many schools, mention only the last three schools max.
Things to exclude from your CV
Except prospective employer exclusively ask for them, please exclude the following from your CV
- Street Address - it’s no longer interesting to most employers nowadays. Putting the City and country on the address field is enough most times to give an employer an idea of where you are based.
- Postal Address - Email is the new postal address in the digital age. You won't be receiving anything in the mail.
- Career goals; Career Statements. - Employers now know most people just copy and paste this things, so most don’t read them or take note of them. If they must appear at all, ensure they are brief and not so generic.
- Interests; hobbies - Only include this if there are more spaces remaining in your single-page CV and you want to fill it up with content and of course, they must be relevant to the job.
- Title "Curriculum Vitae" - Employers already know what we are viewing, they know they are not reading your diary.
- Too much text content - Employers are busy trying to hire. They are not reading a story-book.