Do you want to learn how to write a CV for job applications and scholarship as a SSCE holder, fresh graduate, or student with no experience?
Do you need CV PDF samples, templates and examples?
If YES, this is the only article you need to read today.
A properly written CV can improve your chances of getting employed by 55%.
Your CV is the first opportunity to sell yourself a job seeker.
The steps in this article will help you with the best format in writing a good and professional CV for job applications in the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, The Philippines, Brazil, Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Cameroon, Egypt, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Senegal, Dubai, Malaysia, and perhaps anywhere else in the world.
What is a CV?
A curriculum vitae, often known as a CV, is a detailed document highlighting your professional experience, academic history, and talents that are typically used for job applications.
A CV is a document that your prospective employer would review before inviting you for an interview, so it is important to include the details related to the job role that would make the recruiter interested in meeting you.
A CV should include details such as your name, address, email, phone number while it elaborates more on your career objective or personal statement, skills and competencies, education and includes a comprehensive listing of professional history and most significantly how relevant it is to the role been applied for.
A CV is static and doesn’t change for different positions. The difference would be in the cover letter.
A CV can be two pages as long as you make it short as possible while still showing those relevant job experience, skills and certifications relevant to the role you’re applying for.
The current format of CV includes all relevant information that could convince the recruiter that you are the right candidate for the job which includes graduate and/or undergraduate education, fellowship, leadership roles in various educational institution attended for fresh graduates and your accomplishments in these roles.
The CV’s Purpose
A CV is used to apply for these opportunities:
- Academic positions
- Graduate school
- Honour societies
- Medical residencies
- Post-doctoral positions
- Postgraduate studies
- Professional programs
- Research experiences
- Research grants
How to Write a Professional CV
Here are the right steps to create an outstanding CV for job applications:
1. Name, Professional Title and Contact Information
The first thing the recruiter should see when they open your CV should be your name, professional title, and personal contact.
This information should be positioned at the top of your CV.
Putting this information at the top of your CV gives the employer an idea of who you are at a glance.
Your name should be the title of your CV, followed by your professional title.
You should not use titles like “Curriculum Vitae”, “CV” on your CV, because it does not serve any purpose.
In adding your contact details to your CV, your email and phone numbers are important.
A recruiter will probably call you on the phone to inform you of the interview after they must have sent you an email to that effect.
You can decide to add your social media account in this section.
Many employers search for candidates on social media to know more about them.
2. Career Objective
Career objective acts as the pitch of your resume.
It mentions the goal and objective of your career.
Even though it is not a strict requirement to include a resume objective in your resume, a well-written objective can help you catch the attention of the recruiter.
Now, let us have a look at general career objectives:
- To secure a challenging position in a reputable organization to expand my learnings, knowledge, and skills.
- Secure a responsible career opportunity to fully utilize my training and skills, while contributing significantly to the success of the company.
- Seeking an entry-level position to begin my career in a high-level professional environment.
- To secure employment with a reputable company, where I can utilize my skills and business studies background to the maximum.
- A highly organized and hard-working individual looking for a responsible position to gain practical experience.
- To make use of my interpersonal skills to achieve goals of a company that focuses on customer satisfaction and customer experience.
- To source and develop excellent service delivery strategies that improve customer satisfaction, service procedures, banking patronage, deepen brand loyalty and earn more service referrals.
Your skills are one of the most important information that you should include on your CV.
It is important to add skills that apply to the job you are applying for in a strategic section of your CV.
You can study the job description carefully to understand what skills are most important to perform the job.
Ensure you arrange your skills in order of relevance.
4. Job Experience and Employment History
This section allows you to list your previous jobs, work experience, and internships.
You must include this section in your CV because it gives the employer an idea of what you can do.
Employers find it easier to hire a candidate that has functioned in a particular role, rather than someone that has little or no experience at all.
That is why it is good for you to arrange your work experience in reverse chronological order so that the employer can see your most recent work experience first.
When you are listing your previous positions of employment, state your job title, the employer (company name), the dates that you worked, and a few sentences that summarize the role.
Put your key responsibilities, skills in bullet points to aid readability.
5. Education and Qualification
Your education is another important section that should be included in your CV.
Many job descriptions usually come with educational qualification specification.
Just like you listed your job experience, you should also list your educational qualification in reverse chronology.
Include the name of the institution and the dates you were there, followed by the qualifications and grades that you achieved.
If you recently graduated from school, you can list a few of your relevant modules, assignments or projects underneath your educational qualification.
If you have gone a little further along in your career journey and have many certifications, you can add that to your qualification.
CV references can be a super important part of your job application.
If done right, they can really give you the edge you need.
CV references are people whose contact information you give to recruiting professionals so that they can vouch for your character, skills, and work performance.
A positive character assessment from a reputable and reliable source could be what sets you apart from other equally qualified candidates.
But if you do it wrong, though, the references could make your CV look sloppy and unprofessional.
Recruiters like to use your references to double-check what you’ve written on your CV, as many candidates actually lie on their applications.
In fact, 85% of employers say they have caught applicants lying on their CVs.
If you provide references in your CV, the recruiters will either call or email them and request information about you, such as:
- What is their relationship with you?
- Are you an outstanding employee?
- Why are you no longer working for them?
- What are your defining characteristics such as abilities, work ethics, interpersonal skills, punctuality?
- Will you be a good fit for the job you are applying for?
When choosing your references, keep in mind that recruiting professionals will almost always check them.
So, be very careful with who you include in the list.
For example, you might be tempted to include a reference that sounds really impressive on paper.
This person could hold an influential position in your company or even be a well-known professional in the field.
But this won’t do you much good unless they actually know you well enough to have something meaningful to say about you.
Traditionally, provide at least two references on your CV.
The first one should be your current or former employer, and the second can be someone who knows you well in a professional or academic setting.
Are you a recent university graduate? In that case, it’s acceptable to include two academic references as opposed to a professional.
Also, keep in mind that if you are using a former employer as a reference, it should be the most recent one. Otherwise, the recruiter might think that you have something to hide.
Some good examples of references include:
- Current or previous employers
- Manager and supervisors
- Professors and teacher
- Colleague and business partners
- Trainer and coaches
Besides their relationship with you, you should also consider how well they will communicate your virtues.
Your references should be authoritative, well-spoken, and friendly.
It would be a bad idea to use a family member for a reference.
Though they might know you well enough, they aren’t reliable references in the eyes of the recruiting professional.
Their personal relationship with you makes them biased.
Also, it isn’t always necessary to include references on a CV. In fact, sometimes it might even be counterproductive to do so.
Key Elements of a Good CV
- Link achievements to business objectives like financial or strategic goals.
- List your strongest skills as it relates to both technical and people skills.
- Showcase your work experience, starting with the most recent to the earlier roles. Focus on achievements and projects worked on.
- Showcase your educational achievements from most recent to earliest. Include certification credentials awarded by institutes or awarding bodies.
- List professional institution membership and membership levels.
How to Write a CV for a Job
Here are the steps to write a CV for a job with no experience:
- Ensure to read the job description.
- Pick a CV template that you want to use.
- Identify and write your core skills.
- Begin with your name and include your details.
- List your work experience and key achievement starting with the most recent.
- List your educational qualification starting with the most recent.
- Include your skills and training/qualifications and additional information that applies to the job you are applying for.
- Proofread and make sure all the information listed is correct.
- Write an accompanying cover letter.
What Not to Include on Your CV
- Adding your salary information to your CV can make you earn lesser than you should earn or also disqualify you from the position.
- Always proofread your CV and cover letter to ensure it is void of grammatical errors.
- Any work experience that is not related to the position you are applying for should not be added to your CV.
- Browse the company’s website, local press and the job advert to make sure that your CV is targeted to the role and employer.
- Don’t put the term ‘Curriculum Vitae’ at the top of your CV.
- Even if you think you have a great physical feature, it isn’t necessary to add a physical description of yourself to your CV.
- If you’re posting your CV online, don’t include your home address, as fraudsters could target you.
- Never lie or exaggerate on your CV or job application.
- Personal information like your marital status, religious preference and any information that does not suggest that you are the best person for the job should not be added to your CV.
- Provide a professional-sounding email address.
- There is no point lying on your CV to please the recruiter. Lying about your skills and qualifications may even get you disqualified for the position.
- You should always include a cover letter unless the employer states otherwise. It will enable you to personalize your application for the job.
There is no one specific format for a CV and you will have to determine exactly the right CV for the position you are applying for.
You will always need to tailor your CV content to the individual jobs you are applying for because one type of job might need you to emphasize a specific area whereas another might ask you to elaborate on a different area and knowing which is critical to making sure your CV is perfect for your discipline.
One of the best ways to know what CV is right for your industry is to look at examples of what others have done.
You can do this by either researching them online or by reaching out and talking to either your mentor or peers who are already employed where you are applying.
Always remember that these examples are only examples and you should make sure your CV is specific to you and not just a copy of what someone else has done.
You’re an individual and your CV should reflect that.
People have rightly predicted who gets a certain job merely by their CV.
So, I will say, even if it would take you to pay someone to construct a very good CV review for you, please do as this is the very first step towards the attainment of your dream job.