I have observed that writing a CV in Nigeria is something people put off for as long as possible and when they eventually get to it, they have the impression that so long as important elements such as work experience, educational qualifications and bio-data are in place, a CV is complete.
I beg to disagree. I believe that your CV is an account or narration of yourself. It is YOU talking about YOU in YOUR very own words and in the best way possible. It starts from who you are, to all the places you have been and how you have contributed to those places; your achievements, how you spent your time, and even personal details like your marital status and so on. Bearing this in mind, every detail and information provided must be meticulously considered and articulately presented. Put your most flattering qualities or accomplishments up front and then move gradually to less flattering qualities.
In writing your CV in Nigeria, presentation is everything! Your content, layout, template, font type, font size, line spacing, bullets and borders are all crucial in achieving a great looking CV. If someone has 3 years of experience and another has 6 years of experience, and they are both applying for the same job, the ONLY thing that differentiates them is the way they both present their work experiences.
The basic elements of your CV in Nigeria should be profile, work experience, achievements (if any), trainings (if any), educational qualifications, bio-data, hobbies and referees. Please note that no particular format or template is cast in stone, every template can be amended to suit a particular requirement at any given time.
I would rather a profile to an objective. An objective is simply a goal while a profile is a brief description that summarizes your qualities, vis-a-vis where you are coming from and where you hope to be. It shouldn’t be more than two sentences or three short sentences at most.
Your experience(s) should indicate the name of the company, your designation/title, your job description and the duration of service. The address of the company is not compulsory except you are applying for a job outside of your state or country of residence. Your experience(s) should follow a chronological sequence (most recent to least recent). Also stick to the present tense when describing your current job description.
This is a run-down of exceptional accomplishments you have bagged over a period of time. It can include a record breaking GP, an award, a surpassed target, an impeccable record and the likes. Your achievements are supposed to score you extra points with a potential employee but if it does otherwise, chuck it.
Your bio-data which consists of your date of birth, sex and state of origin are not necessarily your most important details. Infact, it could serve as a disadvantage. Should you apply for a particular vacancy and you are past the age requirement, if your age is the first thing a potential employer sees, you are likely to be disqualified even before your CV is given a proper appraisal. So it’s best to keep those details at the tail end of your CV.
Points to bear in mind:
1. Chose bold and legible fonts
2. Use simple and unambiguous words. Leave no room for vagueness.
3. Have a focus and find a way to infuse your interest and specialization into your CV
4. Be accountable. Always account for time spent. Ensure your CV reflects that you are constantly adding value, honing your skills or getting more education.
5. Never include in your CV what you are not a 100% certain will be a plus.
6. Keep your CV to a maximum of three pages except you have had several years of experience.
7. Ensure that you can defend everything that you have written in your CV
8. Lastly, don’t forget to KISS! (Keep It Short and Simple!)
See you at the top!
Adenike Fadina is the Project Manager with several years of experience in the Nigerian Media/PR industry and is passionate about empowering the Nigerian job seeker with the right tools to improving their job search process.