Your Curriculum Vitae (CV) is often the first impression that a potential employer will have of you, so it’s important to make it count.
If you’re a student or recent graduate, writing a CV for a National Service, Internship or job opportunity can be a daunting task. But don’t worry, this article aims at helping you gain some tips and tricks to help you create a standout CV.
What is CV and what is its Importance
A CV, or curriculum vitae, is a document that provides an overview of your professional and educational history. It typically includes information about your work experience, education, skills, and achievements. A CV is often used when applying for academic positions, research opportunities, or jobs in certain industries. A well-written CV can demonstrate your professionalism and attention to detail and thereby help you stand out from other applicants.
Research has shown that Human Resource (HR) professionals spend an average of 6 seconds reviewing a CV before deciding whether to move forward with a candidate. This means that it’s important to make a strong first impression with your CV. Additionally, research has found that including specific keywords and phrases in your CV can increase your chances of getting noticed by an employer. Finally, studies have shown that having a clear and concise CV can make you appear more professional and organized.
So, what should you include in your CV
1. Your personal information.
Begin your CV with your full name, professional title if any, contact details (phone number, email address), and LinkedIn profile (if applicable). Make sure your email address sounds professional and avoid unprofessional or outdated email addresses.
2. Personal Statement/Objective.
This is a brief section at the beginning of your CV that provides a summary of your professional goals and qualifications. It typically includes information about your career aspirations, relevant skills, and experience. The purpose of a personal statement or objective is to give potential employers an idea of your career trajectory and what you can bring to the table. It’s important to keep this section concise and focused on your professional goals, as it can help you stand out from other candidates and make a strong first impression.
3. Educational Background.
After your personal statement, you should include a section outlining your educational background: List your academic qualifications, starting with the most recent. Include the institution name, degree certificate you earned, the program of study, date of entry and graduation.
4. Work experience.
This should include information about your previous jobs, including the company name, job title, dates of employment, and a brief description of your responsibilities and accomplishments. Arrange your work experience and education sections in reverse chronological order, with the most recent experiences first. This structure allows employers to quickly assess your recent achievements and progression.
5. Achievements and awards.
Provide a section to cover your achievements or awards. This can include any professional or academic awards that you’ve received, as well as any notable accomplishments or achievements in your previous jobs. You should be specific and provide concrete examples of your achievements, as this can help you stand out to potential employers and demonstrate your value as a candidate. Additionally, you may want to include any relevant volunteer work or extracurricular activities that you’ve participated in, as this can help give potential employers a more well-rounded view of your skills and interests.
6. Personal Skillset.
Skills in a CV are a section that outlines the specific abilities and talents that you possess. These can include both hard skills, such as technical knowledge or proficiency in specific software programs, as well as soft skills, such as communication or leadership abilities. It’s important to include skills on your CV that are relevant to the job you’re applying for, as this can help you stand out to potential employers and demonstrate that you’re a good fit for the position.
7. Hobbies and interest.
These are personal interests and activities that you enjoy outside of work. Including this section in your CV can help to provide potential employers with a more well-rounded view of your personality, interests, and skills. Your hobbies and interests can also demonstrate your ability to manage your time effectively, work well in a team, and show your creativity and passion for particular activities.
Lastly you need a reference. A reference in a CV is a person who can vouch for your skills, work experience, and character. This is typically someone you have worked with in a professional capacity, such as a former employer or colleague. Including references in your CV can help to provide potential employers with additional information about your work history and skills, as well as demonstrate that you have a strong network of professional contacts. However, it’s important to obtain permission from your references before including them in your CV, as well as ensuring that their contact information is up-to-date and accurate. Additionally, some employers may not require references as part of the application process, so it’s important to read the job description carefully to determine whether including references in your CV is necessary.
What to avoid in your CV
There are several “don’ts” to keep in mind when writing a CV. Here are a few:
1. Don’t include personal information such as your age, marital status, or religion, as this information is not relevant to your qualifications for the job.
2. Don’t include a photo of yourself, unless it’s specifically requested in the job description.
3. Don’t use a generic CV for every job application. Instead, tailor your CV to the specific job you’re applying for, highlighting the skills and experience that are most relevant to the position.
4. Don’t use slang or informal language in your CV. Instead, use professional language and avoid abbreviations or acronyms that may not be familiar to the reader.
5. Don’t include irrelevant work experience or qualifications. Instead, focus on the skills and experience that are most relevant to the job you’re applying for.
6. Don’t make your CV too long or too short. Generally, a CV should be no more than two pages long and should include all relevant information in a clear and concise manner.
7. Don’t forget to proofread your CV for spelling and grammar errors, as these can make a negative impression on potential employers.
How to format your CV
When formatting a CV, it’s important to keep it professional and easy to read. Here are a few tips:
1. Use a clear and elegible font; such as Times New Roman or Arial, and keep the font size between 10 and 12 points.
2. Use bullet points to break up long paragraphs and make your CV easy to read.
3. Use headings and subheadings to organize your CV, and make sure the layout is consistent throughout.
4. Include plenty of white space to make your CV look less cluttered.
5. Use bold or italicized text to highlight important information, such as job titles or key achievements.
6. Include your name and contact details at the top of the CV, along with a professional-sounding email address and phone number.
7. Save your CV as a PDF to ensure that it looks the same on any device and is easy to print.
In conclusion, writing a CV can seem daunting, but with the few key tips, you can create a compelling and professional document that showcases your skills and experience. Proofread your CV for spelling and grammar errors, and ask a friend or mentor to review it for feedback. By following these tips, you can create a CV that stands out to potential employers and helps you land your dream job.
Story by | Frederick Kunzote-Ani |univers.ug.edu.gh