A good CV opens doors for you and sets you apart. There are different templates or designs of what would make your CV stand out, but there are certain elements that are key to helping you get shortlisted for an interview stage whether your CV goes through a review by an ATS or HR professional.
Let us take a quick look at the several important elements your CV must-have.
1. Introductory Section: This section contains your name, contact number, email address and home address. Ensure you do not write “Curriculum Vitae or Resume” here or anywhere else on your CV because that is totally wrong and just the name of the document.
Keep your addresses short as well. E.g Surulere, Lagos rather than 57 Babs Animashaun, Off Adeniran Ogunsaya by Mr Biggs Bus Stop, Surulere, Lagos.
2. Career Objective or Personal Summary: Whenever I am reviewing CV at Career Fairs or during my career guidance classes. I find that a lot of candidates use different things for this key feature of a good CV. Don’t sound cliche or go online to copy all the mumbo jumbo you can find.
Your career objective should be a personalised statement that gives short and direct insight into your experience, skills and career insights or trajectory.
Think about it like 3 line elevator pitch. E.g I am a user-centric online marketing specialist with a passion for helping businesses thrive online via social media marketing, SEO optimised content marketing and digital strategy.
3. Work Experience: Your work experience is very key to landing interviews. Sell your skills, achievements and major projects or highlights with detailed bullet points. Make sure to start with your most recent work experience.
Most candidates focus on highlighting what they were asked to do on the job rather than what they accomplished. The latter makes you look like a candidate that can own their job and ensures HR managers and team leads have minimal concerns about your ability to deliver on the job when hired.
My tip here is ensure you are data-drive here, using numbers/percentages and action words to create an emotional picture of your achievements vs tasks E.g Grew social media following for Cool FM by over 52% in 9 months from 522,000 to 1 million | Developed and Implemented Chat App Marketing Strategy that grew website visits by 12.5% in 3 months.
4. Education: This section allows you to showcase your educational qualifications and achievements. Some candidates choose to include professional certifications and other relevant courses taken here while others create a section for Training and Professionals certifications. Both would work but ensure to list them starting with your most recent and ensure they are relevant.
5. Key Skills: Highlight your technical and people skills in bullet form. For the sake of ATS during a job application, I will advise you to always compare your listed skills in this section with the job description before applying; you might have to change or optimise them to match the advertised job description.
Having a matching skills-list or keywords would count for a higher score and this is an “expo” (evil laugh).
6. Key Achievements: This is most suitable for experienced professionals when applying for executive and senior management job opportunities. It helps recruiters find your top tier achievements that would fit into business goals for the position they are seeking to hire you for.
Be strategic here, it is often important to link it to financial achievements. E.g Developed models for the sales team which ensured they surpassed annual financial targets year-on-year for 4 years.
7. References: Use “Available on Request”, when applying for a job unless stated otherwise until they are requested by the recruiter. The more experienced you are, the more managerial level professionals from past places of work you might need to include. Please, ensure that your referees are constantly reminded and notified when you make submissions with their contacts.
Good CV Conclusion
You might be wondering what about age, local government (especially Nigerians, hahaha) religion, hobbies and all the extras people add to make their CVs look voluminous? My answer is this, if you are not applying for public sector jobs and these are not specifically requested in the job advertisement, kindly do not include them as they are a waste of time and space.
Once your CV captures the relevant skills and experiences needed for the job, you are likely to be included for the job interview. The only question is: how many persons can the recruiter accommodate for their shortlisting.
If you have any questions, comment below and kindly share this post to spread the word, thank you!