CV (curriculum vitae) is a written summary of your educational qualifications, achievements, employment and work experience which relate to a specific role.
In some countries such as Canada and the USA CVs are also known as resumes. Resumes are less detailed than conventional curriculum vitae and place more emphasis on skill and work history.
Curriculum vitae has an array of uses which include an application for employment, and application for admission into certain institutions of higher learning.
Table of Contents
Types of curriculum vitae
There are different types, and the type of curriculum vitae you need depends on what you want to do with the CV.
Traditional curriculum vitae: This is a chronological list of your education and work history. Starting from the most recent(in reverse chronological order).
Skill-based curriculum vitae: This is designed for job-related skills and personal capabilities.
Creative curriculum vitae: This type of CV usually includes infographics and other digital tools, mostly used in creative and digital arts.
Academic curriculum vitae: This is based on research and papers, it is usually longer than other types of CV and is used for teaching or research carrier paths.
Develop a CV for each Job application
Before you develop your curriculum vitae for a particular job opening, do detailed research about the company, establishment or employment opportunity you intend to apply for.
Research the company, by reading through its websites, and company profiles and speaking to the staff of the company for questions and clarifications.
Use a clear font such as Times New Roman, Arial or Calibri, the font should be eligible, preferably size 12 or bigger.
Make use of headings, bullets and appropriate spacing to make the work easy to navigate and read.
Match the words in the curriculum vitae with the keywords in the job description and company website or publications.
Ensure you provide all the information required by the company in your CV.
Optimise your curriculum vitae for applicant tracking systems (ATS), which is software that companies use to collect and organise a large number of applications.
ATS saves the company the stress of reviewing each application one after the other.
The applicant tracking system uses keywords such as job titles, qualifications skill set and so on to filter out suitable applications.
The best way to get the correct keywords is by studying the Job description, publications, conferences and communications from the company.
Use editing(spelling checker) software such as Grammarly to check for spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes. Texts should be in black colour.
Don’t exaggerate your curriculum vitae or give false information. Avoid altering your credentials and claiming to have skills that you don’t have because this will not only deny you the job but may also result in a prison sentence.
Layout of CV
The following are essential components of a CV, the arrangements of the CV will depend on the type and intended use.
This includes your name usually at the top of the first page, mobile phone number and a professional email address.
This is a concise summary of who you are and what you hope to achieve. This should align with the job you are applying for. The write-up should portray you as the right candidate for the job.
This should include the qualifications obtained, the name of the institution(s) attended, and the dates the qualification was obtained.
The qualifications should be arranged in reverse chronological order with the most recent qualification appearing first. However, the most relevant qualification should be the first on the list.
This should include all the places you have worked with dates, starting from the most recent. Your employer(s) name should also be stated in your CV.
Job experience should be relevant to the job you are applying for and should be in reverse chronological order.
Your referees can be left out and provided when requested.
Length of CV
The length of a CV varies according to the type and country of use. Generally, two pages of an A4 paper is adequate except for an academic CV which is more lengthy.
Optional components of CV
These are non-essential components of a CV which can be added if they are relevant to the purpose of developing the CV and includes the following:
Useful when your degree/qualification differs from the job you are applying for. Also quite useful when you are applying for a scholarship.
Add to your CV if there are relevant, especially organizations that are interested in academic excellence.
One of your referees should be someone you had worked with recently, so may include your head of unit at the last place you worked.
The other referee should be someone who has known you for a long time and who has positive impressions of you.
The applicants should remember to take permission from the referees before including them on their CVs.
The name, title, organization, email address and mobile phone numbers of your referees should be stated in your CV.
Short courses, certificate courses and personal skills development may be added to your CV if there are relevant to the job you are sending in your application for.
You may include the professional bodies you belong to if these are required such as practising licences and certificates.
This might be important in an academic CV, especially if you are applying for a teaching, research or academic job opening.
Interests and hobbies
This section should contain interests which are relevant to the job you are applying for. For example, it will not make any sense to talk about swimming and reading novels as your interest when you are applying for an engineering job.
Do not include the following in your CV except when specifically requested
- date of birth
- marital status
Curriculum Vitae is simply a way of selling your qualification, skills and capabilities to a company or individual for a specific purpose usually for employment purposes.
A well-written curriculum vitae will surely earn you an interview. Good luck.
Read also: Ways to get a job abroad