How to Write a Curriculum Vitae That Attracts Employers

Now, the important question is, "Can your CV secure that coveted first cut in the eyes of a recruiter?" If you find yourself uncertain about the answer, this article will guide you on crafting a curriculum vitae that attracts employers' attention within the 11-second window.

How to Write a Curriculum Vitae That Attracts Employers

Most of us are familiar with the term "curriculum vitae" or CV, whether it's part of a job application we're submitting online or a common phrase we hear when job hunting. The simple instruction to 'submit your CV' is a constant in the job-seeking process.

Position yourself to land a remote job anywhere in Africa

In remote work hunting, the curriculum vitae, or CV, holds significant power. It plays a pivotal role in determining whether you'll receive a congratulatory email or, in less fortunate situations, a rejection notification. Startling statistics reveal that a staggering 80% of resumes fail to pass the initial screening, and the average recruiter spends a mere 11 seconds reviewing a CV. This underscores the reality that your CV has a mere 11 seconds to make a lasting impression.

Now, the important question is, "Can your CV secure that coveted first cut in the eyes of a recruiter?" If you find yourself uncertain about the answer, this article will guide you on crafting a curriculum vitae that attracts employers' attention within the 11-second window.

Importance of a well-crafted Curriculum Vitae (CV) for attracting employers

Imagine you're asked about the importance of a well-crafted CV in an interview. While the obvious response may be "to get a job," there's more to it than just avoiding the email trash bin or securing employment. The significance of a thoughtfully created curriculum vitae (CV) goes beyond these immediate outcomes. Here are a few reasons why having an excellent CV matters:

  • Professional Marketing Tool:

A well-crafted CV serves as a personal marketing tool, enabling you to showcase your skill set, formal education, and professional experiences effectively.

  • Career Planning Resource:

It becomes a valuable resource for career planning, aiding individuals in identifying areas for improvement, setting future objectives, and tracking their professional development over time.

  • Networking Asset:

A comprehensive CV proves beneficial for networking purposes, whether you're attending industry events, joining professional groups, or connecting on social platforms like LinkedIn. It provides a concise summary of your professional background for meaningful connections.

Key components of CV

Understanding the key components of a strong CV is crucial not only for your job search but for your overall career development. Knowing what to include and exclude in your CV can significantly impact how hiring managers perceive you as a candidate.

Personal Information and Contact Details

Your personal information is the initial point of contact on your CV. However, it doesn't require divulging your entire life story. Recruiters don't need details like your marital status or a glimpse of your appearance unless it's on your professional social media page or during an interview. Include only essential details in this section—your name, email, and phone number. Avoid using email addresses with nicknames like "prettybey1997" or "lilfrosh88"; opt for a professional email format with your name.

Professional Summary or Objective Statement

A professional summary condenses relevant experiences, skills, and achievements into  about 2–4 sentences. It highlights the skills necessary for the position, your job or industry-specific experience, and notable achievements that strengthen your candidacy. Your objective statement communicates your career goals, indicating the type of job or industry you aspire to work in.

Relevant Skills and Keywords research

Skills relevant to your particular role is another excellent component of a good CV. In this part of your resume, highlight specific skills you possess relevant to the job position you're applying for. A keyword research tip is to go through job descriptions and requirements peculiar to your role, and highlight the most sought after skill. Common skills include technical skills, soft skills, and computer skills relevant to the job.

Work Experience

One of the most essential sections of a resume is the experience section. This is where you list out all the previous experiences you have had.

The reverse chronological resume is the most common and traditional type of resume. With this resume format, you list your relevant work experience in reverse chronological order, beginning with your most recent position and proceeding backwards.

Using action verbs to highlight achievements in your resume can make your accomplishments stand out and convey a sense of impact. Instead of just saying you did something outstanding in your previous company, you can put a figure to it. For example: “Streamlined operational processes, resulting in a 20% increase in efficiency and a reduction in production costs. Led a cross-functional team to successfully launch a new product, achieving a 15% increase in market share”

Education and Certifications

Education is an important section to include on your resume, as it helps potential employers build a picture of your qualifications for the job. Some roles may even require a particular degree, and your resume is the best place to show that you have it. The education part of your resume outlines your educational background, highlighting any academic awards or achievements. A good education section provides the following information: the school name, location, degree of majors, and graduation year.

Rank your highest degrees first and continue in reverse chronological order. Make sure to include anything listed under the “requirements” or “education” sections of a job listing.

If you’re applying for a nursing job, for example, you may be required to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Since the field of study is key, you may choose to list your degree first and institution second.

Additional Sections

Have you taken relevant courses? Won awards and achieved certain feats in your career journey? It is also a component in a CV.  An additional information section on your resume can include activities and pursuits outside of work that will help a prospective employer know you better. Here are some additional information categories you might include on your resume:

  • Certifications and licenses
  • Training or continuing education
  • Skills
  • Special awards or commendations
  • Publications
  • Testimonials from clients
  • Job performance reviews
  • Languages spoken
  • Charity or volunteer work

Formatting and Design Tips for an SEO-Optimized CV

Recruiters make use of ATS, which is short for "Applicant Tracking System." It's a computer program that lots of companies use to organize and make their hiring process easier. It assists employers in sifting through the many resumes they get for a job opening. To attract a recruiter and also bypass the ATS with your CV requires proper formatting, a clean and professional CV template. The first thing you need to do is choose the proper resume format.

There are 3 resume formats you can choose from:

  • reverse-chronological resume format
  • functional resume format
  • combination resume format

The best choice for most optimized and recommended resumes is the reverse-chronological format. It shows your most recent experience, education, and skills first. Make good use of legible fonts; the most common font type used is black Times New Roman at 12 points in size, white space, and headings to guide the recruiter through all of the valuable sections of your resume; use bolding, italicizing and CAPITALIZING to emphasize important information such as your name and section headings, but be consistent.

Finally, don’t forget to save your resume as a PDF so the formatting is properly secured and ATS software can scan it.

The small typographic symbols used to introduce items in a list can also confuse ATS. Stick with solid round bullets, hollow round bullets, or square bullets. Avoid any symbols that might not be recognized.

Graphics and images can be problematic for ATS programs. You may have a creative logo or designs that you would like to include, avoid using image files like .jpeg, .png, or .tif. The text should always be in a machine-readable format.

Finalizing Your CV

When you are done sectioning and inputting all necessary information in your CV, the last job you have is to proofread  for grammatical error and accuracy. Do the dates align? Are there  mistakes with the spelling of your previous workplace?

To have the best SEO resume in the pile:

  • Start with a compelling resume summary or objective statement.
  • Experience is king, so brag about it in your work experience section using power words, numbers and achievements.
  • Include good case studies only.
  • List tools you can use and mention you develop your SEO know-how all the time.
  • Tailor your CV and if required, cover letter to the position you are applying to.

Here are few pointers to take out of this article:

  • Your CV is more than a job application formality; it's a dynamic tool shaping perceptions, opening doors, and evolving with your career.
  • Recruiters spend just 11 seconds reviewing a CV, emphasizing the need for a polished, easy-to-read and ATS optimised document.
  • Regular updates ensure your CV remains a true reflection of your capabilities, making you a standout candidate in a competitive job market.
  • Incorporate recent courses or achievements to highlight evolving skills and experiences.

Your CV is not merely a formality for job applications; it is a powerful tool that shapes perceptions, opens doors, and, most importantly, evolves with your career. In a world where the average recruiter spends a mere 11 seconds reviewing a CV, the need for a polished, updated, and strategically crafted document is paramount and is the key to an interview session with a recruiter. (Check questions to ask in an interview)

For every career path, there is a CV template that can guide you through writing the perfect CV that attracts employers on the Remote4Africa’s resource center.