HOW TO WRITE A PROFESSIONAL CV
HOW TO WRITE A PROFESSIONAL CV
Author: Fasthire Nigeria
By the end of this post, you would have learnt how to write a professional CV. Because this content contains what you need to understand to write an outstanding professional CV.
Truth is, you don’t need to be a Human Resource personnel to be able to write a professional CV. However, you need to have an understanding of how a CV should be written in other to get you past the application stage to sit for an interview.
So, let’s get started!
What is a CV?
CV is an acronym that represents the Latin word “Curriculum Vitae”.
It means a person’s course of life i.e. the totality of everything you’ve done in your life that is relevant to your career pursuit.
In other words, Curriculum Vitae (Course of life) = Academic + relevant work experience + relevant activities.
Not everything you’ve done in your life is needed to acquire a job. That’s why the word “relevant’ is used to describe the kind of activities or experiences you should include in your CV. Look at the definition again.
CV is a written overview of your life work (academic formation, publication, qualification, etc.)
Differences between a Resume and a CV
If you’ve been job hunting for a while, you would have noticed that many job vacancies don’t ask for your Resume. They only ask you to submit/send your CV. Your CV and Resume are the same. However, a line of separation appears in;
- Length: A Resume is believed to be longer, and contains more information than a CV.
- Nationality: What the US calls Resume, the UK and its former colonies call CV.
- Details: A CV is believed to contain more details than a Resume (usually 2 pages max.)
How to Write a Job-Winning CV
Your CV must stand out because you’re competing with at least 250+ people per Job opening. So, you should write your CV to get the attention of the Hiring Manager.
Try now, pick a pen and paper let’s do this!
Easy Steps for Professional CV Writing
Mind you, a CV doesn’t have a “must follow” rule. There are different ways you can write a CV but some information must appear first. This information includes; your name, Your Number, and Address.
Follow this link to download free CV templates that you can use to write yours.
Step 1- Name
The top of your CV should be your name written in a bold font. Preferably, a 26 font size and aerial theme font.
Step 2 – Contact Details
Beneath your full name should be your contact details;
1.Active phone number
- Current Address
- Active email address
- LinkedIn URL
Note: This information should be written in smaller font size than the font size used for your name.
Details you Should not Include in Your CV.
Date of Birth: it’s not necessary to include your age. It should be optional and at your discretion. Except when requested by a vacancy.
Marital status: There’s no need to include your marital status on your CV unless requested/specified.
Photo: Unless you‘re asked to include your photograph, you shouldn’t. Your look is not an option for securing a job.
Nationality: your nationality is not important unless it is obvious that you are applying from abroad. You might want to include information about your eligibility to work.
Step 3 – Professional CV Summary
The professional summary contains your CV Summary and Objectives.
A career summary explains who you are, what you’re about and why you’re a fit for the role. It can include your achievements, experiences, educational qualification, and skills.
Data Analyst Resume Summary
Teamwork-oriented Data Analyst passionate about helping businesses succeed. Possess a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and professional certification in data analysis with strong technical skill rooted in substantial training as a data analyst.
Electrical Engineering Resume Summary
Top-performing electrical engineer, with 13+ years experience in operations management, project design, installation and maintenance of electrical machines. With a deep knowledge of; energy stations, hybrid solar generators, distribution line transformers, industrial air compressors, motor starters, valves, pneumatic systems, changeovers and isolators. Excellent relationship builder; with progressive career growth, sustained by successful hands-on people management, implementation of effective work ethics, and continuously exceeding company-wide targets.
Tip: In your CV summary, do not make use of cliché or meaningless buzzwords.
Check out these sample CVs for more summaries.
Step 4 – Skills
There are two types of skills. Hard skills and Soft skills.
- Hard skills Are related to specific technical knowledge gained by experience, and/or training.
- Soft skills: Are personality traits that make up a person such as leadership, communication, or time management.
Example of Hard skills: Email Marketing, Sales funnel building, Copywriting, Accounting, Etc.
Examples of soft skills: Communication, writing skill, team-work, Etc.
Step 5- Work Experience
Next is your work experience. This is very important and likely the most important aspect of your CV. Your work experience should be outlined in this format;
- Name of the company worked for
- Address of the company
- Duration used
- Work description (Features and Achievement mix together)
To properly record the achievements you’ve made during your career, try answering these questions;
- What have you done differently?
- Where have you gone the extra mile?
- Where have you demonstrated flexibility, creative thinking, or innovation?
- What projects have you been involved in and what was your contribution to the outcome?
- What legacy have you left behind?
- What problems did you solve?
- What did the team/business look like when you left compared to when you started and what part did you play in that?
Tip: Use detailed figures where needed. For example;
- Increased the company’s income with 50% or generated $40,000 for ABC company.
- Grew Fasthire Nigeria Facebook fan base from 0 to 12,000 in 4 months [LINK to the Facebook page].
What if You Don’t Have Prior Work Experience?
Now, if you have no work experience;
- Write something you’ve volunteered for. Maybe in school, church, or association.
- Write down any relevant activity you took part in or a leadership position you’ve held. This will improve your CV if you don’t have any work experience.
Step 6- Educational Background
The best places for your education section are:
· Before your experience section.
· After your experience section.
The first three sections of your CV are very important sections to show your best accomplishments. If you‘ve just graduated, put your education before your experience
If you‘re a professional who recently went back to school to get a new degree, you may want to consider putting your education section first. Especially, if your new degree is relevant to the work you’re applying for.
How to Organize the Education Section of your Professional CV
Compared to the previous sections of your CV, the education section is the easiest to write.
Here are the basics:
- Start with your highest degree first.
- Add all other degrees in reverse-chronological order.
- State the name of the institution, the location, the year you graduated, and the type of degree you obtained i.e B.SC., HND, MSc., etc.
Tips: GPA is optional. You should only add it if you graduated within the last three years and if it is above a 3.5. Otherwise, don’t write it.
Most hiring managers don’t care about your GPA.
Step 7- Achievements
Write your professional achievement, the award you have received, and other information that will show you are qualified for the job.
Steps 8- Interests/Hobbies
Lastly, include your hobbies and Interest. After writing, put yourself in the position of the hiring manager and read your CV through. Grade yourself, you might need someone else to look into your work.
Tip: You can’t write a winning CV if you don’t have any job you’re targeting. This is because in Job description there are certain keywords you should use in your CV. And these keywords are compatible with the applicant tracking system.
Frequently Asked Questions about Professional CV Writing
What is an Applicant Tracking System?
ATS is used to scan an applicant’s CV. The system is already programmed with the words in the job description. If your CV doesn’t the ATS scam, it might not get to the table of the hiring manager.
How Can I Beat the Applicant Tracking System?
- Use keywords customized for the job
- Use standard section headings
iii. Don‘t be too fancy
- Check your spelling and grammar
- Use full acronyms and titles
- Apply, even if you might not be qualified
vii. Follow up with the employer
More: Read this easy guide on how to write an ATS Compatible CV.
Hope you found this post on how to write a professional CV helpful? Let us know how well you’ve written your CV in the comment section.
Author: Fasthire Nigeria
Profile: Fasthire is the job website for entry-level and mid-level careers. They help young professionals get better at CV/Cover Letter Writing, Job Search, and Interview Preparation at www.fasthire.com.ng