Your curriculum vitae can make or break your job search. It goes ahead of you and represents you before you enter the room. As a job seeker, you must understand the CV format in Nigeria. Your resume needs to present the best version of you, and a poorly formatted CV could be the reason you never get interviews.
Although organisations may ask for different information in your CV, the basic Nigeria CV format is standard. You should strive to be unique from other applicants. However, be careful not to exaggerate your skills and expertise so much that it looks fake.
What is a CV?
A curriculum vitae, also sometimes called a resume, is a document that gives your career summary. It contains your experiences, skills and personality traits. In job seeking, your CV helps recruiters determine your job suitability.
Latest CV format in Nigeria
What should you include in your CV? The latest CV format in Nigeria has four main compulsory sections and two optional ones.
- Personal information
- Professional summary
- Work experience
- Education background
- Qualifications and awards
This includes your name, job title and contact details. State your name in full, your phone number and your email address. Make sure your contact details are up to date and easy to spot when the recruiter wants to reach you.
Your physical address is optional, and you are advised to omit it when applying for online jobs. In addition, career consultants recommend that you exclude any other personal information that recruiters could use to discriminate against you. Your photo, age, gender and ethnicity, for instance, are unnecessary.
Your professional summary
Your professional summary or personal statement is a brief explanation of your career. Consider this your ‘elevator pitch’ and answer the question “why you” right from the start. In a short paragraph, state who you are, give a quick summary of your work experience and state your career goals.
Aside from your professional summary, your work experience is the most crucial part of your resume. If you have had many different roles, only include those relevant to the job you’re applying for. Always list your roles, starting with the most recent.
When listing your work experience, state the job title, the company, and the dates you worked there. Three to four bullet points describing your function will give a clear view of the role and highlight the skills you used and gained.
After work experience, you should add your educational background very briefly. You only need your tertiary qualifications as a professional unless you're applying for an entry-level job. As usual, begin with the most recent university courses and include dates.
Qualifications and awards
If you have qualifications that will set you apart from other applicants, list them briefly in this section. Awards received in your line of work will also highlight your competence at the job and give you an extra edge.
Many local platforms like the WAEC recruitment portal require your references upfront. In this case, add their full names, professional titles and their current place of work. You should also state how you know them, for instance, if they are your former colleague or boss, and where you worked together.
It is essential to talk to your referees beforehand to inform them that their contact information is somewhere out there. Additionally, they should be aware of the job you’re applying for and why you included them as your reference. They could mess up your reference if a recruiter catches them off guard.
The latest curriculum vitae format in Nigeria doesn’t always require references. Omit your referees if the job application does not explicitly state that you must include them. You can add a line at the bottom of your CV to say that your references are available upon request. This ensures you protect your references’ personal information.
How to write a CV in Nigeria
There are essential points to note when writing your CV, so you don’t bore the headhunters:
- Keep your CV short. Two pages are the maximum for an entry-level to a mid-level job.
- Be clear and concise. Use bullet points rather than paragraphs so your CV is easy to skim.
- Make your CV attractive. You can use free resume builder sites online to customise your CV and make it jump out at the recruiter.
- Avoid flashy fonts and too many colours. While your CV shouldn’t be boring, it has to be professional.
In addition to these points, these secrets will make sure you write a great CV in Nigeria:
- Always customise your CV to every role.
- Go over the job description in the advertisement and highlight all the required experience and skills in your CV. Many recruitment companies use artificial intelligence (AI) to filter through CVs. So including the required experience and skills in your CV helps you beat the system.
- Prioritise the required skills and experience. Headhunters spend an average of 5 to 7 seconds on each resume before they move on. They have to be able to spot what they are looking for immediately.
- Proofread your CV thoroughly before you submit it. There is no point in including “attention to detail” as one of your skills when you have grammar and spelling mistakes.
- Use simple but professional language. Avoid filling your resume with technical jargon unless you are in a technical field.
- Include a link to your LinkedIn. In today’s job-seeking environment, having an active and up-to-date LinkedIn page can set you apart from other applicants. Not only does your LinkedIn give more details on your work experience, but it also gives the recruiter a clearer picture of your interests and network.
CV sample in Nigeria
Have a look at a good CV sample in Nigeria. You can use this for reference to draft your interview-winning CV.
Should I add my photo to my CV?
Unless the role requires your photo for some reason, it is advisable to omit your photo. The same goes for your age and gender. Such information is not essential to your performance on the job. Furthermore, headhunters could also use it to discriminate against you and lower your chances of getting that interview.
Should I include my hobbies and interests in my CV?
Modern job applications don’t require that you include your hobbies and interests in your CV. They add no value and only lengthen your resume. Instead, mention them on your LinkedIn profile and add the link to your resume.
Can I use the same CV for different job applications?
No, you should customise your CV to every job application, just like you do for the cover letter. This will allow you to highlight exactly what the recruiter is looking for. It also shows the recruiter that you are taking the application seriously.
What are the common mistakes while drafting a CV?
Failing to tailor the CV to the job advertisement is the most common mistake. Using the wrong format and making the CV too long are fatal mistakes in the job hunt. Also, spelling and grammar mistakes can ruin your chances before you get an interview.
As long as you stick to the latest CV format in Nigeria outlined above, you should have no issues in writing your own resume. Make sure you present yourself in the most advantageous light possible in order to get the job of your dreams.
Your application letter is supposed to tell a recruiter who you are. You should explain why you are applying for that job and why you are the best candidate for the job. An excellent application letter will make a recruiter interested in meeting you to hear more about your experience and skills.