Do you remember any course in your higher education that teaches you how to write a good and attractive CV or Resume?
Well, I spent over 4 years in Delta State University, graduated as a top student in my department acing over 20 courses but none directed towards helping me learn how to write a good CV.
And that’s my job here!
What I try to do with my podcast and weekly blog is to provide that missing curriculum for undergraduates, soon to graduate and even fresh graduates.
When you spend 4 years or more, learning that course, your goal is to be able to land a good job after graduation. But beyond just graduating with a degree, you must pay careful attention to HAVING the requirements for a job and SHOWING the requirements for that job.
One key thing- HAVING the requirements. For me, this is where the journey begins because no employer or organization employs you because you have just a class of degree. They employ you because you have or show you have the requirements – Requirements here refers to knowledge, skills and abilities to do the job and succeed on the job.
While I won’t dwell so much about having the requirements or how to acquire the requirements – that’s a focus on another post, but my goal is to dwell on what you can do to show you have the requirement through your CV.
What are the most important things to include in your CV?
Before I proceed, you may want to ask what the difference between a CV and Resume? Well, most people in our space and community use those words interchangeably however they have a slight difference.
A CV is a longer document showing details of your whole life while a Resume is that your one or two-page document showing the key facts about your professional experience, educational background, and skills. Your CV helps you prepare your Resume because your CV is usually longer and shows your course of life, from primary school to university to your side gig, undergraduate volunteer experience, etc.
But if you want to prepare a Resume, a Resume is more targeted to ensure the information on the Resume matches what you want to use it for so it is usually short and precise.
With these definitions, which do we use for a Job search? A Resume.
Having said that, what are the most important things to include on your Resume?
1. Your Full name, as shown on your credentials. This is usually the first detail because it gives identity to the document and it is easily to track who owns it. Well, in my few years practicing HR and majoring on recruitments of young talents, I have been opportune to see a couple of CVs with omitted names while on some CVs, the names are usually placed somewhere by the side or below other information.
You want your name to be seen easily by the recruiter or whoever is going through your CV, so make it very visible, most preferably on the top page of your CV.
2. Contact Information: When I was working as a Recruitment team member with a Bank’s Human Capital Department, I was handling a recruitment project for a Financial Reporting Analyst and one of the good candidates we identified omitted her contact information from her CV. When i say contact information, i mean no phone numbers and no email address. What was on top of the CV was just the name and house address.
The recruitment was urgent, she had the skills but there was no way my colleague could contact her because she had no contact information.
I went out of my way to get it, because we live in a digital world and if you find a good talent, you go the extra mile to get that talent to your organization.
But why am I sharing this? Put yourself in this candidate’s shoes. Imagine how many opportunities you would miss if you omit your contact details from your CV. I rate your contact information as important as your name. Please don’t forget to add your contact information.
What makes up your contact information? A working phone number – please ensure the phone is reachable always especially if you are expecting a job.
A working and well spelt email address.
Gbenga Totoyi once told me a story about double checking your email address because some candidates have missed mails or job invites because the email address was spelt wrongly.
3. The third most important details on your resume is Work Experience. As a recruiter, once I see your name and contact information, I want to quickly check through your work experience to confirm details of what you have done and have the potential of doing.
The work experience section is one that comes with confusion especially for career starters, fresh graduates and even undergraduates trying to land a job,but the work experience section is a crucial element on your resume because it shows that you have the necessary qualifications to be an asset to the potential employer. But i think the most scary thing is how do you sell yourself, skills, achievement in that section with a limited space?
The work experience section of your resume should contain information about your professional history including previous titles, name of organization/employer, dates or period of work, responsibilities handled, skills learned and accomplishments.
Depending on your current phase, this section can accommodate full-time positions, part-time jobs, temporary roles, internships and even volunteer work if you do not have extensive paid work experience.
Provide the names of the companies you worked for or volunteered. Write it in full. My recommendation on selling your skills within your work experience section is to identify and decide on 5 most important achievements in each task you handled that covers the scope of your work and list them in a bullet point.
The work experience section is the place where you commit a lot of work and time to making it appealing to recruiters that you have the skills. focus on your most relevant responsibilities and duties.
5. Education details. Once I pass the experience section, i want to quickly confirm the educational qualifications, professional qualifications and certifications especially if it’s related to the role.
Another thing – I recommend sticking to the most updated education e.g Bachelors degree/Masters degree. You may not need to add your primary and secondary school details here. That should be on your CV.
There are many other things you will find on people’s Resume but the most important thing is to keep the most important thing important. If you have these details, you won’t go wrong.
What other details do you think i omitted?