How to write a CV (Download 50 FREE CV templates)
How to write a CV is a question that all graduates must face at some point. But even people looking to doing their internships are also not left out. Experienced professionals equally need to constantly update their CVs with that latest certification. As long as you are educated, you are always going to need a CV. Read our detailed guide on how to write a winning CV, but you can equally scroll to the bottom to download your 50 CV template.
Everybody can write a great CV, however, most people are too scared and they believe there is an almighty formula to writing a CV. Some other sets of people don’t actually know what to include in a CV. This blog post will address all these issues.
Why you shouldn’t even pay to have your CV written in the first instance
Anybody you pay to write a CV for you will ask some questions or ask you to fill a questionnaire. They will ask for details like your name, email, DOB, education, work experience, research, certifications, and references. Such a person will now sit down and write a CV based on details that YOU YOURSELF PROVIDED. Which means in actual fact, that you are the one who wrote the CV! You are just too scared to believe in your ability.
Even at that, what happens when you need to change something little like color or change the design? Are you going to keep running back to that fellow? This is why all graduates must learn to write their own CV. But they actually don’t need to learn what they already know, they just need to understand how the format works and what is deemed important. This post is just the right formula you need.
Components of a good CV
Without wasting anytime, we shall delve into 7 most important component of your CV. I also recommend that you write your CV in the other in which I have listed them.
This is an important part of any detail CV as it addresses an obvious question of who you are. It might not sound as though it is a big deal until you miss an alphabet when writing your email and you wonder why you don’t get invites. They include:
- Phone number
- Email address
- Age/date of birth (optional)
- Photos are also recommended but optional
2. Personal statement
This is a brief comment on the kind of person you are, what you have done and what you intend to achieve. Well, except you really know your worth and your CV is quite “loaded”, you may leave out this one. The reason being that most recruiters don’t have time to start reading what is essentially some “stories.”
3. Relevant Work Experience
Ahha, this is the one that all graduates really dread the most. “I don’t have experience,” “my age is too old:” just calm down. Internship experiences and the NYSC experiences also count but sadly, almost all other graduate have this same work experience. Relevant certifications are what might just make you stand out. On the flip side, most Nigerian employees know that all manner of discipline will apply for their opening. For one, I know that KPMG will usually open their door to all candidates provided you meet their age and grade requirements. You should read the best practices about job recruitment processes here.
For experienced professionals, listing of work experiences from the most recent one is usually the most ideal. Also, note that the HR personnel will like to query certain gaps in your CV such as two years of no work.
How to write your work experience and achievements
As I had previously discussed regarded best practices for a job application; I had specifically mentioned that job seekers need to avoid the use of vague words in their CVs (read more here). Examples of such words are:
- team player
- ability to think on one’s feet
- ability to work without supervision
- punctual at all times
- Very honest and dependable
Nobody needs all these no matter how sincere your intentions are; at best, they are a big waste of keywords and the ATS software will always overlook your CV. Everybody does the same, a job is not going to be handed to you out of pity.
Take a look at these two statements as I mentioned in a previous post
- “I worked as a cleaner in Hotel X for 2 years, and always did my job diligently that my supervisors are always proud of me”.
- “I worked as a cleaner in Hotel X, a 200 room hotel with about 500 guests per week. My regular shifts include dusting, scrubbing, mopping, cleaning, making the bedsheets for 20 rooms per day. I can also handle washing chemicals…”
the first statement is saying a lot and in essence saying nothing while the other is more focused and list actual achievements. These are what you should be aiming for in your CV.
Your work experience must include these:
- Title or position held
- Name and location of the organization
- Years of work
June 2014 to Oct 2017
- Maintenance of the company IOs and Android apps for bug fixes and monthly update.
- Team lead for the web-app that was used to solve vessels logistics issue using React Native framework.
How not to write the “roles” section
- Performed job functions as outlined by my superiors (Excuse me, which job?)
- Ensured that jobs meet regulatory requirements (who are the regulators? Exactly what role did you play? Which type of job?)
- Ensured that more customers turned came to patronize. Rather, ensured a 30% year on year increase in the number of customers. Numbers are important (read more here)
This should be written from your highest education down to the lowest. It should contain the following:
- Name of institution
- Course of study
- Duration of study
- Grades (if they are good)
- Skip out your secondary school education, nobody cares except they specifically asked for it.
Education is definitely a vital part of a CV as the reason why you even have a CV to write in the first place is because of your education.
Mentioning relevant research undertaken during your study is surely a good one to add to your CV/Resume. People learning how to write a CV are sometimes puzzled on which research to write. However, what about the Internship report that you wrote? What about the elaborate term paper or mini project? And of course, what about your final year project? They all count and you should do well to include them.
6. Relevant competencies/Certifications
These are skills that you can include that can very well help to make you stand out. If you study marketing, including a digital marketing certification will surely make a lot of sense. If you are in the accounting/ economics niches, ICAN is a sure one. Others can be HSE, HRM certification, Customer service certification, Java, Excel, Driving, AutoCAD knowledge etc. Some of these certifications, you don’t even need to pay. You will be surprised the number of free certifications you can do on UDEMY or Alison, or EDX. Visit any of these sites, type the skill you want and see what pops up, you will always find free ones.
You can list two or three people who are not your relatives as your references. References must also be people who have supervised (not necessarily your project supervisor) you either as a teacher or at work/internship as this are the people that can talk about your professional line.
You can also skip it altogether and write something like “References are available on request.”
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