A Curriculum vitae (CV) is a summarized representative document of a person. This document is one of the vital requirements presented to prospective employers for job consideration by job seekers which highlights an individual’s bio, skills, qualifications, education, career experiences among others. CVs have a significant role in the fate of a job-seeker’s quest to secure employment especially under conditions where the job is publicly advertised and the direct relationship between the employer and the job seeker is very minimal or at zero percent.

In this presentation, let us take a look at some common practices that can make or break a CV and affect a job seeker’s chances at being shortlisted for a job vacancy.

Making a CV great depend on a variable of options – first and foremost, knowing and understanding yourself is one thing that most job seekers take for granted but is highly vital in the job searching process. Secondly, knowing which job position you are applying for also comes in a long way in how to format and structure your CV to the highest of standard – The goal is one: to get shortlisted for an interview and ultimately get the job! Use this link to find our presentation on How to prepare for a job Interview.

Let’s get started shall we?

A. Knowing and understanding yourself
For most job-seekers, the question of knowing and understanding yourself is often overlooked but should not be. Ask yourself these questions; Do I process more than one major career quality? Eg. Can I apply a job as an Administrative Assistant while also excelling in accounting. Can the educational qualification or career experience I have strategically position me in different job positions or am I a single skilled candidate?

Knowing the answers to these questions goes a long way to help you know what to put down in your CV and what not to. This is because, as much as employers like to have experienced employees meeting the exact specification of the job vacancies posted, other employers are quite open minded and depending on your individual uniqueness reflecting on your CV, the recruiter can decide to shortlist you for a job or not. So ultimately, knowing and understanding yourself is your best bet.

B. Knowing which job position, you are applying for
For most job seekers, applying for a job means sending one CV to every single job that comes their way without examining the job they can applying for and taking a second look at their CV for modification – conforming towards the specific requirement of the job vacancy published. This can lead to a CV being rejected / turned down by a recruiter as every vacancy comes with its own requirements. Eg. A recruiter lists a job vacancy for Administrative Assistant. But due to the specific needs of the company, they underline it with the description “Additional skills in Accounting is a plus”.

Now a job seeker sees this position and decides to apply for the role but only focuses on the main job description, and although they have experience in accounting, decides to send their CV which only highlights them as being experienced with Administrative Assistant.

Now a recruiter who receives Seventy (70) CVs is most likely to only shortlist candidates with their CVs highlighting experience in both Administrative Assistant and Accounting in contrast to just the position Headlined. As much as possible, make sure the CV you are using to apply for a job represents you the best in relation to the specific job you are applying for. Most job seekers build more than one CV and submit the best CV when applying for a job.

Now being aware of these two major points, a job seeker can now go ahead and begin with their CV. The focus can either be within these two CV types.

  1. Work Focused CV.
    This type of CV focuses on your work experience and is recommended with job seekers with lots of working experience and desires to advance to a next career stage.
  1. Skills Focused CV
    This type of CV focuses more on the skills of the job seeker and is ideal for job seekers with relatively minimal work experience or gap in their work history.

These are a list of things to consider while you build your CV

  • Avoid photos or images
  • Black, easy-to-read font and font size (Ideally Times New Roman, 12)
  • Bullet points and keep information concise
  • Use a formal tone
  • Avoid abbreviations, slang or jargon and watch out for spelling errors.
  • Categorize your headings and avoid cluttering
  • A maximum at most – two pages.

Now The CV – Below are categories you can use to build your CV

  • Name
  • Address (Location)
  • Contact details (Phone and Email)
  • Bio (Objective or Personal Statement)
  • Work Experience
  • Technical and personal skills
  • Interests / Achievements / Other Relevant Information
  • Education / Qualification
  • Referees: you can include referees or note that referees are available on request depending on the job and the position you are applying for. For junior roles, it is recommended you add your referees in your CV.

As you build / develop your CV, don’t forget to save both a PDF and Word Document copy should in case you need to make modification or either format is requested.

Download our CV sample to guide you or contact us for one-on-one session to help you build your CV.

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