Writing a good CV isn’t a lot of work as people assume it to be. A CV is basically an organized and brief format document that simply explains who you are, where you have been, what you have done, how much of a bad ass you are in your school/job, your career journey, etc. Typically, in every part of the world, a CV is required when getting into the professional or corporate space. In this letter, we will show you step by step on how to write that amazing and winning CV you need.
Let’s start with the basic; what content do you include in your CV?
The best CVs I have seen have the following sections:
- Name and contact information
- Work experience
- Volunteering/Extracurricular/Side Projects
- Honors and Awards
NAME AND CONTACT INFORMATION
This is quite explanatory, your name on your CV should be BIG and BOLD. Its font is typically larger than every other text. Underneath your name, you should include your home address, phone number, email address, LinkedIn URL or personal website. Easy peasy… piece of cake. Here’s a sample below:
Please, please, PLEASE, do not include your age, marital status, tribe, religion, gender, state of origin, bank details, social media handles, local government area and all of that weird stuff, UNLESS IT IS A REQUIREMENT IN THE JOB POSTING, details like the aforementioned can cause discrimination, e.g. an Efik man broke my heart so I’m tossing you’re your CV in the trash can because your tribe says Efik. Yeah, things like that.
Your professional summary should be about four to five lines. Just a bunch of words explaining what you do/can do and buttressing this point with your skills. Okay, this may be too much to take in so just check out the screenshots below:
This is one of the most important sectors for university students, given that most students do not have years of work experience, employers rely on your academic background as a proxy to access your fit for them. And even if you do have experience, this is still a very important section in your resume. Here are things you should include in the education tab:
- All the Universities you have attended (if you have attended more than one)
- Your CGPA (only if it looks enticing please, omit this if yours is < 4.0/5.0)
- Relevant course work to the post being applied for – say you’re going for a software engineering intern role, you may want to include that you had an A+ in Software engineering in the 2nd semester of your 2nd year, looks good- try to not put generic classes like English and Math, put exciting courses that can spark a conversation.
- Here, you can also include your extra-curricular activities and work engaged in in school, e.g. General Secretary of the National Association of Geography Students. Or this can be on a separate (extra-curricular) section. Both works.
Next up is your work experience, you want to write this in chronological reverse order (2019-2015). If you are a new graduate, it is okay to include retail jobs or customer service jobs you did. Work experience is really any type of LEGAL work done. It doesn’t have to be a paid job too, just any job role that trumpets your skills and impact made. So let’s say you helped your mom keep track of sales in her store during the holiday, that’s a “Sales Associate” role.
In general, aim to have 2-4 professional experiences on your resume. With each professional experience, put the company name in bold letters, the location of the job, and position title. Also put the date during which you worked at that company. Here’s a sample:
VOLUNTEERING/ EXTRA-CURRICULAR/ SIDE PROJECTS
Many companies in consulting, finance, technology, and other competitive industries crave students who showcase their leadership experience and entrepreneurial endeavors outside of the university curriculum. Let these experiences shine in this section with the same format as those from the Work Experience section.
Examples: Students club, school associations, side business/gigs, non-profit work, students body, anything that isn’t full-time but you participate in often (you do not want to give the impression that you have something else you do full-time which may interfere with work)
SKILLS/ HONORS AND AWARDS
This section is pretty much optional so if you are going to include it, it has to be absolutely amazing. Here you can list: Awards, Scholarships, Competitions, Academic Honors, etc. For each give a brief description of how competitive it was and LOUD your victory. See examples
- Won the Exxon Mobil Undergraduate Scholarship Award out of over 1500 Nigerians who applied in 2018
- Award for the Best Accounting Student by Etisalat Nigeria, 2015
- Deans award for the best in Electrical/Electronics Engineering, 2018
For Skills, you may want to highlight the core skills related to the job requirement, it is good you know how to use MS Word, but fill in with actual skills that will make your application stand out!
SIDENOTE (because we care) – Always submit your resume as a PDF with your first and last name in the file name. When you send your resume as a word document, it gets distorted on the reader’s computer due to Microsoft Word version issues. It is best practice to always send a resume as a PDF
The average job posting gets 250 applicants, many of whom also have strong resumes. We live in a world where anyone can apply to any job with a just a few clicks. What are you doing that’s different from everyone else?
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