A company or an Organization you want to apply to for a job has asked you to send in a CV and you’re thinking, “wait…what?” Never worry! Your CV is the initial phase of interaction between you and your next possible employer. It should be concise and portrayed in simple ways to read, have simple fonts, minimal styling, and use bullet points to narrow down information.
What is a CV (Curriculum Vitae)?
A CV is a document or a tool used when applying for job vacancies. It helps you summarize your education, skills, and experience enabling you to successfully sell your skills to potential employers. A CV in most cases will be is accompanied by a cover letter as your employers will enquire about it.
In other countries such as the USA and Canada, they are also called résumés. Find out below, tips on how to make the best CV and what to include in your promotion document and hopefully secure the role you are hoping for.
What to include in a CV?
Now let’s look at the top tips on how to structure your CV and help you secure that job you hoping to apply for.
1. Create the format for your CV
Whether you are going to split each section up with a line or going to put each section in its box or list all your information, it’s important to understand that playing around with different formats to see which best suits the professional design is crucial. Tips when formatting your CV:
- At all costs keep away from double columns. These make it difficult for both a human and an Applicant Tracking System to read.
- Adequate spacing is also important in making your CV outstanding. Avoid placing all your information on one page.
- Formatting your CV is also an added advantage as it makes it easier for the Applicant Tracking System to scan through the document. You can use colors, bolding, bigger fonts, or all-caps to indicate your most important information.
2. List your Name, Address, and Contact Details
Insert your full name (should be a size larger than the other text), home address, mobile number, and email address. Your date of birth is not that important and unless you’re applying for an acting or modeling job there’s no need to add a photograph to your CV.
Tip: Include a link to your up-to-date LinkedIn profile within your contact details. This makes it easier for your potential employers to reach you.
3. Summarize your profile
A CV personal profile is an optional part of the CV that gives your prospective employer a concise statement that highlights your skills, experiences, and personal abilities. A good CV profile should be tailored for each sector or role you applying for and should also be authentic and well-written to make you stand out from your competitors
Tip: Use positive words such as compliant, purposeful, and courageous. Also, your CV personal statements should be short and snappy. The perfect length is 100 words.
4. Highlight a section of your education and relevant Qualifications
This section should include your educational history. It can be either at the beginning of your CV or you can choose to put it elsewhere in your CV document. The order of these sections is entirely up to you. Your education history should be in reverse chronological order, i.e. start with the university attended or currently attending going backward to the least educational level, i.e. primary level. Include the name and dates of all previous education levels, including professional qualifications.
Tip: Place the most recent first. Include qualification types and grades, and the dates achieved.
5. Create a section of your work experience
In this section in which you should list all of your relevant work experience in reverse dates and make sure everything you mention is relevant to the job, you are applying for. Include the name of the company or organization, the location of the company, the years you’ve worked there, and what was your occupation and responsibilities.
Tip: if you have a lot of relevant work experience, you should consider this section first before the education section.
6. Skills and achievements
This is where you talk about your competencies. The things you have accomplished at your previous posts and jobs, and the skills you have acquired through your experiences. Talk about the foreign languages you are good at, and those computer packages you are well versed with that are relevant to the job you applying for.
Tip: Don’t overdo your abilities as you’ll need to support your claims during your interview. Keep your skill list following the job you applying and in case your skill list is long, you might opt in making a skill-based CV.
Reading, swimming, going to the cinema and all those cliché phrases won’t catch your recruiter’s attention. Instead of such phrases use relevant interest that will paint you in the most positive light and also give you something to talk about during your interview session. A good example of interests includes being involved in tours and travel companies if you looking for a job in a tour company or being involved in activities outside catering if you looking for a job in a hotel company.
Tip: If you don’t have any relevant hobbies or interests just cancel this section out.
8. Put a section of other Information
In case you notice a gap in your CV or missing information that’s relevant to your course, this is the right section to put it. An example of such information is indicating that you had to leave your previous work to complete your master’s or finalize your research project.
References refer to those people or organizations you’ve worked with in the past. They might be your past employers, professors, or lecturers who had witnessed your work and can give credible information about the same and praise you. The company you are applying to may call these references to find out more about you and your previous work.
Therefore you should normalize talking with these people before actually listing them as your references.
Tip: it is advisable to cross-check that they still have the same contact information and that they are okay with giving you a reference, or that they still recognize who you are.
Also, make a list of their full names and contact details including their phone numbers and emails.
10. Final tips
- Use the correct keywords to make sure that your CV is chosen during word searches.
- Explain any missing information in your CV, and be sure to emphasize the skills that you have developed.
- Never involve acronyms or company-related terminologies.
- Put two modes of contact: email and mobile number.
- Spelling and grammar check: – make sure you counter-check your CV thoroughly for any spelling and grammar mistakes. You should call a friend or family to read through your document and check and help you check on any errors.
- If you are posting your CV online don’t add your home address, as you could be targeted by fraudsters and scammers.
- Use active verbs when necessary. For example, use words such as analyzed and devised to portray yourself as a person who shows initiative.
- Ensure your email address sounds and looks professional. If your personal address is inappropriate make a new account for professional purposes.