By: Adeshola Aliogo

I decided to write this article because I felt I needed to clear some air. I am actually worried and feel sorry for our young and undergrads. There is too much complication and confusion on CV writing especially with tailoring CVs to fit a role or ATS "palaver".

Every day on one platform or the other, I hear and read phrases like "never use one CV to apply for two different jobs", "Use the keywords on the JD or brief to rewrite your CV" etc.

Obviously, tailoring your CV could work when you are interested and have diverse skills in different roles, so even when your CV is tailored to a JD; you can defend it when you get an interview opportunity.

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On the other hand, I have a slightly different opinion when it comes to young graduates. I had a session with some amazing upcoming professionals and one of them asked "How can a passionate fresh graduate show numbers and percentages on his/her CV?" I was shocked and my response was "Metrics and numbers are for experienced professionals, it is not the reason you are not getting interviews. However, if you have something relevant to show: it is well and good". What if I do not have any work experience? I personally never had holiday jobs while growing up, it was all school for me and I was not so involved in school activities so does it mean that as a young graduate, my CV will be ignored if I am not able to quantify my achievements and experience (If any) ? My answer in NO.

Dear young graduate, all you need are an error free CV and a cover letter that speaks to who you are, what you want and what you have to offer. Your CV & Cover letter must be flawlessSo you must always check for errors. Furthermore, your CV must have the following:

  • Name, Location and Contact Details - You know this one, your name has to be bold. Location should be written on top (you do not need full address), phone number and email must be visible. NB. Please, professional and simple email are acceptable. Ditch that email you used in school; the one that reads etc.
  • Include your LinkedIn profile - If you have an impressive LinkedIn profile. If you do not have, then get one.
  • Summary - Just in case you are not sending in your cover letter, this is where you state who you are and what your ambition is. Make your job goals clear, state your target role and state why you are a good fit.
  • Educational History/Academic Qualification: Whatever your qualification is, please state it clearly with dates. You can include your class of degree, this is where you can shine at entry since you do not have the experience. So by all means, "brag" about your honours.
  • Knowledge of: Are there courses you took in school that are relevant to the job you want? By all means, list them here.
  • Key Skills: What skills do you have that are relevant? State your core technical and soft skills here. You can also separate them if you like.

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Other elements to add (If any and relevant) 

  • Related work experiences (Volunteer or internship experience)
  • Hobbies & Interests
  • Relevant academic activities
  • Humanitarian Causes
  • Language skills (If you are fluent in more than one language)

If you have a perfect CV and you have been applying right but not getting interviews or feedback on your application, do not relent. Keep building up your skills and keep applying for jobs you qualify for. Volunteer with organisations who are willing and keep faith. It will come to you soon.

Generally speaking, the world of work is a very competitive one so you have to stand out. Research relevant employability skills and build on them. The truth is that some skills are only obtained through hands on experience so do not overburden yourself with trying to have it all now. Some skills get better with practice and implementation.

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Tips for Job Search

  • Learn some new skills
  • Polish your digital presence
  • Organise your network
  • Decide what you want and Plan
  • Do your research about organisations you are interested
  • Update that CV
  • Volunteer
  • Apply right and with confidence
  • Follow up

Top Sites to Find a Job

  • Indeed
  • Glassdoor
  • LinkedIn
  • MyJobMag
  • Hot Nigerian Jobs
  • Jobberman
  • Jobrapido
  • Google
  • Ngcareers
Don't give up! Be patient! Be Persistent

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About the Author

Adeshola has over 10 years diversified exposure spanning the FMCG, Logistics and Management Consulting sectors; delivering value across the HR service delivery, with practical knowledge and experience in Talent Management, Talent Acquisition, HR Transaction Services, Performance Management as well as Learning and Development.

You can reach her on LinkedIn here.

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