How to Prepare an EXCELLENT CV or RESUME

Are you a fresh graduate ready to hit the job market to show your know-how in your field of studies? Are you considering getting a better job than the one you're currently doing, hoping for better working conditions as well as a higher paycheck? Are you advancing in your academic ladder and want to secure yourself scholarships and grants, or maybe you are considering applying to lecture at a university? Are you tired of your Resume or CV getting rejected by prospective employers?


If you answered yes to any of the above questions, then you've got to know how to write the “perfect” Resume/CV that will land you exactly what you're looking for and more. Yes, we are here to show you HOW. So buckle up for it will be a long ride.


Let's start by looking at what these two documents are.


A resume is a document that presents a concise picture of one's skills and qualifications for a specific job opening.


You’ve probably heard of the term Curriculum Vitae (CV) more than once. In some cases, it’s used as a synonym for resume. In others, it seems like it’s something entirely different.


The term CV is an abbreviation of the Latin word Curriculum Vitae, which is translated to mean “the course of your life”.


sample resume or cv

A CV is an in-depth document that describes your career journey step-by-step, including personal information. You can look at the CV as a comprehensive description of everything you have ever done, all the achievements you are proud of, and all the publications that bear your name.


At this point, you can see that these two documents are thoroughly different. However, many people use them(verbally) interchangeably. We'll see more about their differences as we proceed.


Let's take a more profound look into what a resume looks like, shall we?


What are the different Resume formats? Yes, a resume has different formats too, which include:


1. Reverse Chronological Resume

This resume format is suitable for people who have much work experience related to the position they are interested in


2. Functional/Skill-based Resume

This is used mostly by people who do not have relevant work experience, probably because they are still in school or making a career change.


business meeting

3. Combination Resume

This type of resume format is mostly used by job seekers with diverse skill sets. It is useful when applying for a job that requires expertise in different fields. Let's say someone applying for the post of senior manager that requires expertise in management, sales, and maybe software development.


The layout of your resume layout plays a huge role. It can either be tossed aside if it's chucked up or immediately screams, “read me” when the HR manager comes across it.


Here are the sections to be included in a resume:


1. Contact Information

This should include your full name, phone number, email address, and your physical address. Since we live in the digital age, you might consider adding the link to your website/blog or social media handles where you have an online presence, that'll be a plus to this job search.


Do not include your date of birth (it's irrelevant at this stage). Avoid unprofessional emails. Imagine Mr. Nelson having an email address such as nelisco2@gmail.com.


Your email should bear your full name, or at least two names if you happen to have more than two long names.


cv or resume image

2. Resume Summary

It is a 2-3 sentence summary of your career. The first impression matters, so you should choose your words wisely to capture the attention of the HR manager to read on.


3. Work Experience

This is the most important part of the Resume. This is where you sell yourself by displaying past accomplishments and responsibilities. Did you know that over 50% of resumes submitted to the HR department never get read??

You heard it right!


This doesn't mean that these resumes are thrown into the garbage can. This is because there exists software called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that help them to filter through hundreds of resumes received daily.


Therefore, you have to pay attention to the skills required for the position you're going in for and mention them in your resume. NEVER LIE because the time will come when you'll have to defend everything you wrote to be considered.


4. Education

Start from your most recent academic achievement. You can mention your GPA if it was impressive (at least 3/4). If you barely graduated with an average GPA, do not mention it.


study group


5. Relevant Skills

Here's where you talk about the know-how that makes you a perfect candidate for the job. Two kinds of skills can be mentioned:


  • Hard skills (measurable abilities): These include management, marketing, Microsoft Office, handling drilling machines, etc.

  • Soft skills: These are intangible skills including social skills, communication, personality traits, leadership, etc. Always remember to tailor your skills to fit the job requirements.


Let's say you're applying for the post of a journalist, you need to have a mastery of communication, eloquence, and the courage to speak without stuttering when facing the cameras. If you're shy, I don't know how far you can go with this job.


Other important sections to include in a resume:


6. Language

Are you bilingual or maybe trilingual? Always include that in your CV. It might just give you an upper hand. Maybe you're a Cameroonian whose first language is English and you can only understand French a little without being able to speak, or maybe you use Google Translate to chat in other languages. If this applies to you, do not include this language.


7. Hobbies

Your hobbies help to show aspects of your personality. You may just have some hobbies in common with your interviewer.

youth basketball game

In a nutshell, this is what your resume should look like:


  • Your Contact Information should include all the must-haves

  • Your Contact email must be professional

  • Use the right resume format

  • Your resume should fit on a single page unless you have essential information that needs to be added and which can't be squeezed into a single page.

  • Include your most relevant work experiences

  • List more of achievements than responsibilities

  • Tailor the resume to the job you're applying for

  • Don't forget educational achievements suitable for the job

  • List the right skills

  • Add any optional resume sections (hobbies, languages)


Always proofread your resume or CV.


If all these boxes are checked, congratulations, your resume is ready to go and it will stand out from among the rest.


Now that we know all about a resume, let's get to know what a CV looks like too. It is worth noting that there's no limit to what can be included in the CV. With that in mind, let's briefly look at the sections of a CV.

sample cv template

1. Full name

2. Contact information

3. Professional title,

4. Research interests

5. Education

6. Publications (both academic articles and books)

8. Teaching or lecturing experience

9. Work experience

10. Conferences and courses

11. Skills

12. Certificates

13. Languages

14. Grants and Fellowships

15. References




Differences between a Resume and a CV

1. Length

There's no limit to what can be included in a CV (don't just mention your favorite meal!)


Unlike a CV, a resume should be kept as short as possible. In 99% of cases, you would want to keep your resume to 1- page maximum. If you have so much experience on the job and think everything counts, you can extend it to two pages.


2. Usage

A CV is mainly used for academic purposes such as applying for a research program, a Ph. D., or applying for the post of a university lecturer.


A resume on the other hand is written for a regular job in a company, institution or organization.


3. What to include

A CV is an academic diary where you include all your academic qualifications, achievements, and certifications. It can be updated as you go, whereas a resume has to be created or at least customized for each job you're applying for and it is focused on your achievements rather than academics.


Wheeewww! That was long, wasn’t it?? This is literally the last piece you need to read about resumes and CVs. We’ve covered it all and now it’s your turn to write that killer resume or CV. If you need help, we’re here to guide you. Just schedule and appointment with us TODAY.





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