Couple of months ago I was to apply for Andela Fellowship, but that needed me to have a curriculum vitae. So I went back to my communication skills classes and whipped up a two page summary of myself and went ahead. Apart from the Andela application, I used the same document to try score some jobs but that also didn’t quite work out as most tries didn’t even come back with responses. I knew something was wrong, so I sought for some assistance from my lovely cousin Rosie. [Asking is free, don’t suffer alone]. She not only helped me come up with an awesome vita but also schooled me on its importance. See your CV has only one job and that is to get you THAT job. (You gonna have to read that slowly. Sounds cooler). I promised myself I wouldn’t do a how to article but, been breaking lots of promises lately so I figured why not add to the pile. Here’s how to make your CV the bomb!
- Be clear and Organized
Every job market is flooded this days, competition is too high which means you are definitely not the only one looking for a job and most certainly not the only qualified candidate. Employers are not going to go through all the applications and even if one would they will only consider the ones that are catchy, and that is your goal. Most will run a scan on your CV from top down in a quick second and only read it in depth if something catches their eyes. The appearance that is. It’s like marking a composition of a primary school kid. If they have good handwriting you will read with joy, otherwise you’ll just award some cooked up marks. You want yours to be well structured with clear headings and good spacing. Make use of the whitespaces.
- Be neat and concise
Your vita is not a novel so don’t go telling people about that trophy you won in kindergarten for singing baba black ship. Summary is a skill and if you can encapsulate your whole life in a three page document, bravo! This is why we love (d) twitter 140 characters before yesterday. Twitter teaches people to be make sense without making noise with unnecessary long text. So join twitter and learn. You have to be neat as well. First don’t use Times New Roman to write a CV, that’s just wrong and unprofessional in many levels. Second, don’t underline or bold or capitalize your subheadings.
- Do not be to embellish
Remember I said it has to stand out? For that, you will have to give it life. Give your headings a color, maybe blue or grey. Under no circumstance should you use red or yellow or orange or any other shouting color. That be just sad and too far. No one will take you serious with something like that.
- Follow a particular chronology
People like order, so try as much as possible to flow with the details. You wanna make the person reading your document easy time. Things like work experience, education, you wanna list them in order of precedence.
- Give priority to your contacts and experience
Your contact information should be on top of your document. Easy to read, easy to find just in case lady luck decides you need to contacted. Also you want to emphasize more on your experiences. If its attachments, state clearly what your duties were and if at all there was an achievement earned. Your experience is what interest the recruiter more than anything else.
- Avoid unnecessary information
Totally desist from putting curriculum vitae at the top of the document. You’re not fooling anybody. Do not put name in front of your name
Like this …
NAME: Person X
AGE: Age X
You’re trying to sell yourself so try as much as possible to lay down your skills and prowess. You want to mention that which you think they need and should be willing to pay for. But in doing so, also remember to be relevant. Try and horn particular skill sets that are required for the job in pursuit. You can’t go telling the recruiter that you are a great cook when you want to work in the IT department! Focus!
Since I’m not really good at this, I’ll stop there. I think this few tips will make your CV scream your name in obedience to you wherever you send it. And it may probably not end up in the trash can or the trash folder on someone’s desktop machine. A reminder though, I’m not a professional CV writer (if there’s such a thing) and neither am I an expert in all this. I don’t even know if I’m making sense here at all but just in case it helps, you’re welcome.
Oh, and there are lots of CV layouts in the internet that would do you good too. It won’t also hurt to say if you feel your CV need a touch up or something, email me and at a small fee we can work something out. Ama namna gani?