How to write a good curriculum vitae
Writing a good curriculum vitae is one of the basic skill you need for your employability. Curriculum Vitae abbreviated as CV is an extract from a Latin word which means ‘course of life’. Curriculum Vitae is a document that contains brief information about you and the career you seek to pursue.
Although there are different templates online which you can use to create your CV (though not free), yet it is very important that you learn to do it on your own. Most times, your school might not teach you how to write a good Curriculum vitae. But definitely, it is something you must be able to do. A times, your CV is accompanied by a cover letter, yet a cover letter does not replace your CV.
In this article, I will clearly explain to you how to write a good and attention-grabbing CV. But before then, let me answer the question of why you need a CV
- Your CV is a means through which you sell yourself and your skill: Your CV must contain detail of what you can do. Perhaps a company is to employ you, the first thing to be considered is “what value will you add to them”? Before you are summoned (that is if you will be summoned) for a personal interview, you CV serves as the first selling point. It determines if you should be considered for an interview or not. Most times, if vacancies are advertised and you apply but not called for an interview, it most probably shows that your CV was not worth it.
- Your CV is a document of whom you are: It is possible that nobody in the company knows you. As such, they cannot guarantee if you are good enough for the job. Therefore, it is your CV that speaks volume of who you are in your absence. Remember that your CV has vital information about you and as such someone can easily tell whom you are just by reading your CV without any face to face contact with you.
- It tells the company that you are the best candidate for the job and why: The same position you are applying for, there are hundreds and thousands of people applying for the same position. I saw a case where a Government institution wanted to employ about 5000 people and ended up getting about 500,000 people. As such, there are many other people looking for the same job. Therefore, your CV serves as a document through which you will convince your prospective employers that you are the best among the so many applicants.
So then, how do you write a curriculum vitae? There are a few things you must consider in order to write a good CV. To write a good and actionable CV, the following must be put into consideration;
- The kind of job you want: Many people use one CV to seek for all kinds of jobs. But they do not know that it is absolutely wrong. You need a new CV for every job you are looking for unless they are related jobs. For example, rapt attention is paid to the hobbies you provide in your CV. The hobby that suits a bank job might not suit a teaching job. The hobby that suits a marketing job might not suit an administrative job. Apart from your hobbies, your skills are very important. Every job needs matching skill and as such, you must understand that the skill needed for a computer operating job is different from the skill needed for a lecturing job. Therefore, you must first understand the kind of job you are looking for before you can then proceed to write a good CV.
- Your CV must brief and informative: I guess we learned how to write essays of between 450-500 words in the secondary school. Normally, if you are to tell the story in that essay with the words of mouth, it would probably be far more than 2,000 words. But with the essay, you shorten it and yet, it still retains the full details of your story. In like manner, a good Curriculum Vitae must be very brief and yet 100% informative. Most times, your CV should not exceed 2 pages, yet it must contain all relevant information about you. The information your CV must capture are, your bio data, Academic background, skill, hobby, reference etc. and you must not fail to provide this information. Most times, companies advertise that applicants for various positions must possess some number of years of working experience. But then, you can break this and get the job even without that stated number of years of working experience. If your CV is so informative to capture your skill and it turns out that your skill matches adequately with the company’s requirements, then you are good to go. Top of FormBottom of Form
Things to capture in your CV
As much as it is stated that your CV must be informative enough, yet it is very paramount to highlight some of the things you must capture so that you do not go off point and provide unneeded information or forget some important information.
Name, Personal and contact details
Your CV must begin with your full name. The name should appear thus, surname, first name, and middle name. You must be careful to ensure that the name provided here will correspond with the name used in other documents that are request for, example of which are, your certificate, statement of result and others. In a situation where the name does not correspond (in the case of a female who went to school as a spinster but now seeks for a job as a married woman), then a court affidavit must follow it to show that the two names in the documents provided are the same person.
The next thing is your personal and contact detail. You must provide your phone number, email address and full address of where you live as your contact detail. In your personal detail, you should provide information such as date of birth, marital status, nationality, religion etc.
Your personal profile is a very important part of your Curriculum Vitae that should not be omitted if you desire to have a good CV. It contains your career objectives which your prospective employers will be definitely interested in. Your career objective is the first point of contact, which will tell your prospective employer if or not you are fit for the job. Your career objectives should differ. Most preferably, it is advised that you know the company’s objective, vision, mission, and core value and with this information, draft out your career objectives.
Employment history or Working experience
This section highlights all the previous jobs (internship included) you have ever done. The more jobs you have done in the past, the more your chances of been employed. In stating you employment history in your Curriculum Vitae, you must also state clearly the period within which you did the job, your employer and the office you held. No matter how menial or small the job might be, include it. If you have been employed in many companies and as such, your employment history seems much, then reduce some of them and put the most important ones that are related to the position you are seeking for.
Education and qualifications
In this section, you state clearly, all the institutions you attended with your qualification. Qualifications here are the various certificates gotten from each of these institutions. Note that the qualification differs from one country to another. That is, the certificate you will be given after graduating from an institution in Ukraine differs from the one gotten in Ghana. You should also state the duration within which you attended the institution. If it is a higher institution, do well to also include the grade with which you graduated.
This is a great selling point for you. Your skills determine your employability. State all the relevant skills you have. For example, a good computer operator with great knowledge in Ms word, excel, PowerPoint etc, ability to work as a team and under pressure etc. These will go a long way to help you improve your chances of getting an interview appointment.
This is where a lot of job seekers disqualify themselves. Many people think that this section is for fun and as such, they include awkward hobbies. For example, you see hobbies like sleeping, seeing movies, traveling and so on. Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Apple, and other multinational companies cannot employ you with this kind of skills set. No bank will ever employ you when your hobby is sleeping. Therefore find hobbies that will help in selling you out. For example, if you are applying for a marketing job, use hobbies like, socializing and interacting with people. If you are looking for a lecturing job, use hobbies like, teaching, researching etc. In all, make sure your hobbies are relevant to the kind of jobs you are seeking for.
Here, you include your referees. Your referees are those people who know you too well and will not have any difficulties in recommending you for any job. Make sure none of the people you use as your referees have any record of wrongdoing because it can disqualify you automatically. Most preferable, if there you know some influential people who are respected, and they know you closely, you can go ahead and use them as your referees. Provide their name, where they work, the position they hold and the phone number. Referees are mostly 3 persons. Top of Form
Other things to note.
- Do not caption your CV with the term “Curriculum Vitae” or “CV”, rather it must be with your name
- Sometimes, you could attach a link to your social media profile like LinkedIn (for online applications)
- The length of a CV is usually 2 pages but in a few cases, 3 pages might be accepted.
- Each section should begin with a bold and easy to read the heading.
- Your font type should be clear. If you are confused on the kind of font to use, then I recommend times new roman, Calibri or Arial.
- Endeavor to keep your font size at 12 and then 14 for heading. The headings should be bolded.
- Keep a copy for yourself and if you are invited for an interview, go with it. Do not assume that since you have already submitted one, then there is no need to go with another.
- Some countries do not permit including your date of birth. But then, it is important because many jobs have age brackets for the applicants and as such, your date of birth speaks volume.
- Check your spellings and grammar and try to avoid abbreviations. Use abbreviations only when the full meaning of the word has been provided.