CV writing has become a necessary part of the job hunting process. In the world of Job hunting, your CV is a powerful tool; it puts your foot on the door and moves you a step closer to getting the job you desire. In the same manner, a bad CV can ruin the chances of an otherwise great candidate. In as much as a CV should be customized to reflect the candidate’s strengths and the role he/she is applying for, there is an acceptable CV structure that should be adhered to for the best results. CV writing has become a necessary part of the job hunting process.
A CV or curriculum vitae, is an introduction to the candidate, a tool for you to market yourself to the prospective employer. It should include your skills, professional journey, and basically highlight how you are the strongest candidate for position you are applying for.
THE CV FORMAT
There are basic things an employer or recruiter would want to know about the prospective candidate, and this cuts across industries. This is a recommended CV structure;
- Contact details
- Professional summary
- Career objectives
At the top of your page, before anything else should be your contact address. This information should include your Full name, physical address, box number (even though it is unlikely that you will be contacted through it), email address, and phone number; you may choose to include your LinkedIn URL, too. It’s not necessary to include personal details such as your date of birth, marital status, or religion.
This is one of the most important aspects of your CV. It is an opportunity to state who you are as a professional and why you are qualified for the position based on your prior experience, skills and qualifications. This should reflect how your career journey has been, don’t forget to leave a hint of your personality in the summary. Always remember to tailor this portion to whatever job you are applying for at the moment.
This is a short statement to indicate where you are in your career journey and what you are capable of offering in the new position. For instance, you can use this portion to indicate that you are at the beginning of your career and you wish to use the position as a learning curve, or that you are in the middle of your career and you wish to contribute meaningfully to the organization.
List your relevant skills and competencies that will be needed in the vacant position. This should include skills that have been highlighted in the job description to get your application selected. This is especially useful in cases where CVs are being sorted with the use of a software. Career skills keep changing and evolving daily and you have to always be abreast of the relevant skills that cut across industries. This gives your CV a good look and can go a long way for applicants who do not have experience.
Experience and Employment History
Indicate clearly all your previous jobs, internships and work experience. It is possible that you might have a lot to say in this section, so you can limit your work experience to the most current. Your work experience should be arranged with the most current at the top with the job title, company name, duration of employment and responsibilities clearly stated. It helps to choose the duties most relevant to the job you’re applying for.
Here is an example of how your employment history should look like;
Communications Executive at (Company Name)
(March 2015 – January 2017)
- Answering of phone calls
- Keeping records and entering of data
- Attending to customer complaints and needs
Like the Experience section, your education history should be arranged with the most current at the top. List the names of institutions you attended with the qualifications earned and the dates you completed the trainings. Include the name of the institutions and the dates you attended. You do not have to list all your qualifications if they are a lot; just choose the most relevant. If you have a degree, you could list a few of the most relevant modules you took.
Hobbies and interests
Stating your hobbies and interests gives the recruiter more insight into your personality. If you have hobbies that relate with the industry you are going into or that paints you in a positive light it is a good idea to highlight them.
Ideally, your referees should be previous employers or your educational tutors. You do not necessarily have to list all their details or list them at all. A person’s name, physical address, contact number, and email address are sufficient.
In cases where you have not been asked to provide your references on the job advertisement, you can simply state; References available upon request.
However it is a good practice to provide references with your CV.