Your resume should be easy to read, summarize your accomplishments and skills, and shine light on your professional experience.
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While the structure of a CV is flexible, bending to your unique skill set and experiences, there are particular sections that employers expect to see on your CV regardless:
- Your updated contact information
The first part of your CV, positioned at the top of the page, should contain your name, professional title and contact details. Rather than title your CV with ‘curriculum vitae’ or ‘CV’, treat your name as the title.
When it comes to your contact details, your email address and phone number(s) are essential. Additionally, given that digital presence is important, feel free to include a link to your LinkedIn profile – and ensure that it’s up to date. Lastly, if you work in a creative field, this is also the place to add a link to your website or online portfolio.
- Your resume introduction
This section sits below your contact details and is one of the most important parts of your CV. How you kick off your resume depends on several factors including your industry, the stage of your career and the role you’re applying for. Here are four ways that you can introduce yourself:
- Resume summary: showcase your accomplishments in bullet points which include quantifiable data i.e. numbers and percentages.
- Career objective: this is typically 2-3 sentences that are targeted towards a particular role and are aligned to the company’s goals.
- Professional qualifications: this is a combination of the resume summary and career objective. These are not targeted towards a specific role and can be in bullet point or paragraph format. Ideally, this would best be applied when distributing your CV to career sites like https://careerlaunchafrica.com/ .
- Qualifications summary: This is typically 5-6 bullet points that emphasize your skills and would be particularly helpful when applying for a role in a different industry.
Remember to keep it short and sweet.
- Your experience & employment history
Your work experience is the heart and soul of your resume. This section needs to be in top form!
When listing each position of employment, state your job title, the employer, the dates you worked and a line that summarises the role (in reverse chronological order). Then, bullet point your key responsibilities, skills and achievements, and strengthen each point with powerful verbs and figures to showcase your impact. The most important thing to remember about this section is that it needs to be accomplishments-oriented. Show your prospective employer that you have the motivation to do and accomplish more.
- Your education and qualifications
Like your experience section, your education should be listed in reverse chronological order. Include the name of the institutions and the dates you were there, followed by the qualifications and if relevant, the grades you achieved. If you have a masters and/or bachelor’s degree, leave out your highschool experience.
- Your skills, certifications & volunteer experience
This section should be targeted at the position you’re applying for, and should include the best resume skills for that industry. Don’t forget to add transferable skills that would be beneficial across industries!
Over and above this, applicable and relevant certifications can be incorporated. These include:
- Licenses and certifications
- Professional affiliations
- Professional memberships
- Awards and recognition
Creating a separate section for volunteer experience on your resume would also be apt (especially if you are in the early stages of your career and don’t have many years of experience).
PS: Adding your referees to the end of your CV is no longer standardised, so it’s acceptable to remove this action and send them upon request.
Oh, and before you hit send, make sure to review and edit your resume (leverage a mentor or pathfinder for this). Read over your descriptions to double check that each line brings value to your resume as a whole: Are your statements clear and active, are each of your points unique? Finally, make sure your formatting is consistent. Your typography – including the spacing, font size, bolding, and headings – should be styled consistently throughout the page.
For more career tools and resources, connect with us at careerlaunchafrica.com