BusinessDay

5 HR experts on how to write compelling CV

Writing a compelling Curriculum Vitae (CV) is very important especially at a time when the job opportunities in Nigeria are reducing by the day.

To most recruiters or Human Resource (HR) professionals, a CV is the first advertisement of yourself to show the kind of person you are. This is why having a good, detailed and well written CV can help attract the right jobs.

Five HR professionals polled in a Business Day survey gave tips on how to write a compelling CV that attracts employers.

Here are some of the tips:

JENNIFER OYELADE, director of Transquisite Consulting, an international human resource consultancy and expatriate management services

When reviewing a CV to get the right candidates for interviews, I look at result-driven ones that stipulate the achievements of the applicants. Another aspect I pay attention to is the use of English and punctuation marks. That may sound basic, but I have to trash several CVs for this reason. I am a fan of long CVs, because I believe it conceptualises your personal experience.

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For example, if I am hiring a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to manage a million dollar organisation, you will not hire a CFO with a two-page CV. So basically I like a CV that tells a story and is thought-provoking. Like why they took that exam, course, what professional development courses they did after their degrees and the reason. This gives the employer an insight into their thought process.

Winnifred Omobolanle, Operations Lead at Utiva, an Edutech company

The first thing I look at when seeing CVs is neatness and presentation. If it doesn’t tick these boxes, it just speaks to the individual’s lack of excellent communication skills and disorderliness because in almost every job you see out there, communication skills are very important both written and oral.

It is also very important that people include and briefly explain their responsibilities on their current jobs. It is never enough to simply state the jobs, locations, duration or name of a company. It is helpful to list out the responsibilities you had on that job because employers want to see if a person can match the responsibilities that they want to recruit the person for.

Additionally, CVs should have the person’s right and complete information. There are a lot of people that have holes in their CVs. For example, I wanted to recruit someone that had the right skills that I was looking for but the person only stated his email address but no phone number. Very sloppy.

Unini Mosimabale, HR at Alles Charis Gas Limited

A CV should have a professional summary of a few lines and should be written in the third person. It should contain the individual’s personal values, career goals and what they the value they bring to any organisation.

Experience and academic qualifications should be arranged from the most recent, down to the oldest one. Also, we look out for experiences that matter to the organisation, so edit your CV in such a way that it fits the requirements that the recruiter is looking for.

Another one is to write in the present continuous tense not past tense especially if you are currently engaged by one organisation but still looking for other opportunities. In addition, you don’t need to put references in your CVs unless the recruiter asks for it.

Then put hobbies that are behavioural controlled e.g. reading, mentoring, travelling, playing chess etc. those kinds of hobbies are seen as productive.

Adebambo Aina, HR Advisor at Afrinvest (West Africa) Limited

Always make sure that your fonts are legible and clear, it saves the recruiter a lot of time and increases the chances that your CV is actually read. Your font colour also matters. It is advisable to use the black colour and not flashy ones.

Then grammar and punctuation are also key for me. When you are supposed to use capital or small letters, please use it. If I were to follow this standard, almost 85 percent of candidates would fail. How can I trust you to write a business memo, letter or document?

Funbi Matthew, a business management and human resource professional

Some of the things that make a CV standout are relevant experience, qualification and possibly grade where required, well formatted and good abstract, accomplishments, training and possibly relevant certifications.

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