Hey there! In our last post, we highlighted what a CV is, the need to be intentional about having one, and strategies undergraduates and recent graduates, with little to no experience, can use in building a CV.
Today's article will give a more practical approach by highlighting 6 tips that'll aid in professionally documenting and structuring your academic credentials, professional experience, accomplishments and honors, publications, and technical skills.
Without further ado, let's kick in;
Structure your Content
Yes. This may sound so basic and generic, however, it's highly pivotal to crafting an impressive CV.
An amazing CV doesn’t require flamboyance. Consistency and simplicity are key. Structure the content of your CV based on sections such as: academic experiences, work & volunteer experiences, leadership experiences, publications and achievements, and skills and interests.
Also, ensure details provided under each category are listed in reverse chronological order (most recent experience first).
Honesty is non-negotiable
Lying to enhance your CV may seem attractive at the start. However, the consequences when that lie is exposed are enormous. Organizations, in recent times, are taking background checks of their employees very seriously and outsource the responsibility to firms dedicated to and with the resources to check employee background.
Avoid the disgrace and consequences and ensure everything stated on your CV is the truth.
Numbers & Positive Keywords are King
This is especially true under the Work experience section of your CV. Employers are looking to identify your achievement, work ethic and transferable skills under this section. For example: Under your work experience as a Finance Intern at XYZ Company, simply writing: “Filed important documents in the department and handled customer queries” sells yourself short, if you did contribute significantly during your internship. Ensure you are wielding the power of words to communicate your achievements, work ethic and the skills gained.
Responsible for the filing of transactional and confidential documents using a predetermined filing system to ensure ease of access to documents and reduce turnaround time on projects
Provided timely and relevant assistance to approximately 1,000 customer queries on pre- and post-sale support; significantly reduced response time from 2 hours to 1 hour
Design and Typography matter
Consistency of font sizes, font types, font colors, spacing, heading choices, bullets and other forms of font/design formats cannot be overemphasized. The greatest let-down to a good CV is a lack of attention to detail because it makes an employer second-guess the suitability of a candidate.
Your CV design should be simple, legible, and visually-pleasing with a consistent use of alignment, bullets and spacing. You can never go wrong if you stick to black as your font colour and use font sizes, italics and the bold functions to highlight headings and sub-headings. Also, ensure you use readable fonts like Times New Roman, Calibri, Roboto, Arial etc.
Avoid Images, Personal, & Demographic details
A CV isn’t an autobiography. Avoid including photographs of yourself and personal information such as: Nationality, Date of birth, Gender, Marital status, Religion etc. Generally, employers do not need this type of information and also, it prevents any form of unconscious bias.
Let your skills, experience, uniqueness and suitability be at the fore of your CV. Adding extra, irrelevant personal or demographic details only demonstrates a lack of professionalism.
and finally, know who you are
“Man, know thyself” - this quote is as true in life as it is in CV writing. Spend your four years or more in the university (and before then) getting introduced to yourself and getting to know what makes you unique, what you are good at, what you want to accomplish and as you craft your CV, that will shine through.
Employers can easily identify someone who has foresight, drive, ambition, focus from the content and structure of their CV.
Your CV is an identity; you are talented, unique and able - let it show.