If you are like every other job applicant, you would have had the never-ending pounder about what ‘an ideal’ curriculum vitae (CV) should look like, or whether there even is anything called ‘an ideal CV’.

You have combed through hundreds of CVs, written in hundreds of different fonts, with hundreds of different formats, including and omitting tons of details; and all of them claiming to be the ‘ideal’ CV, and that, it turns out, is the bane of the confusion.

Think of your CV as a marketing tool or strategy used to sell yourself to a lucrative buyer. As a storekeeper, it is the set-up of your shop or showroom that draw customers in and gives you the opportunity for a sale.

Without a proper, attractive CV, you don’t even get yourself into the room to get an opportunity to sell yourself. This is one of the reasons why there are loads of potential going to waste out there; not because they are not valuable, or cannot add concrete value to organizations seeking talents, but because they don’t have a marketing tool that allows them to showcase.

So, could it be that the reason why you don’t have a job yet is that your CV is not doing enough to get you through the door? How can you hack your CV to become a marketing tool that will drive at least an 80% conversion on sales of the product called YOU?

Curriculum Vitae is a Latin Phrase that means ‘course of life.’ It is a document that highlights the course of your life; which is mainly your academic and professional history, to date. It has graduated to a document that showcases the skills, certificates, training, and achievements a person has amassed over time in the course of his/her life.

A CV should portray a person’s strengths and through it, the recipient should perceive the value of the person the CV is marketing, and what he or she can add to the company based on what they have done in the past.

It is a short, concise, and straight-to-the-point way of saying, ‘I have what it takes to bring value to your company. Here is what I have done and achieved in the past to prove it. I am open to further conversations to show my fitness for this role.’

With this in mind, how then can you hack your CV to specifically say this? This is the information you will be armed with by the end of this article.



These tips were carved out from hours of conversations had by HR Experts, weeks ago. The conversation was fueled by several questions, but in the end, these tips answered the agelong question; what does an ideal CV look like?

Make it Short and Concise:

This is key. With your CV, don’t think in terms of the number of pages, but the quality within the pages that make up your course of life. According to the Experts, even if you have 30 years of experience, your CV should be, at the very most, 3 pages.

Don’t paste all your job responsibilities from all the roles you have occupied in the past. That leads to too much information that eventually tires the recipient out.

In less than three pages, you can cover all your educational qualifications, your previous job roles, and the vital achievements in each of those roles.

This essentially means that, if you have less than five years of experience, and your CV is crossing the borders of two pages, you are doing something wrong.

If you have a lot of content to write behind each of your roles, you can have a separate portfolio for that and make it an attached link to your application.

Engage Proper Formatting:

The truth is, there is no one right format for a CV. However, some of the principles that can guide you towards a proper format are;

  • Ensure your CV is in a readable font type and font size;
  • Make sure your spaces, lines, and paragraphs are properly aligned;
  • Don’t make the formatting too complicated;
  • Leave it in an editable format, in cases where there are third-party recruiting partners. This means your CV should always be in either word or convertible PDF format, and finally;
  • Always choose a white background.

Again, don’t make your formatting too complicated. It might end up scattering the details in someone else’s device.

Leave out Unnecessary Details:

Asides from the fact that this will help reduce the number of pages on your CV, it also gives strength and a ‘wanting to know more’ feel to a recipient.

There are a lot of unnecessary details that have passed through the pipelines down the years on CVs, details that are now considered a must, when in fact, they have no business in CVs.

Some of the details you might want to exclude from your CV include; your full address (city and state are just fine), your religion, your gender, state of origin, job descriptions from previous job roles, date of birth, etc.

Except otherwise stated during solicitation by the specific organization, these details are considered unnecessary to be in your CV.

Also, unless you strongly believe that any of these details will make you more sellable, you should opt to leave them out.


The best thing to name your CV is your full name. There have been cases where candidates sent something else instead of their CV simply because they weren’t sure what they named it. You might be thinking that you have sent your CV when in fact, what you have sent is another document, and you blame your lack of engagement on some mystical forces, when in fact, you have sent the wrong thing.

Order of Experience and Qualification:

This should be a part of the formatting point, but has been separated so it doesn’t disappear within the mix. No recipient wants to start scrolling down your CV to look for what you are doing right now. Your experiences and qualifications should be arranged from newest to oldest (chronologically), not from your first year.

This gives the recipient an idea of your freshest experience and also your most recent skill. These things are truly considered.

What guides you to an ideal CV is knowing exactly what you want the company to know about you, and leaving room for more to be known, so their interest is puked enough to want to meet you.

At the end of the day, all your CV does is bring you where you express the magnitude of value that you can give to the organization. While you are adding value to yourself, ensure that you can market that value in your CV.


Finally, even whilst investing enough into your CV to get you into the room of opportunities, ensure you are armed with the right skills to sell yourself when you eventually get into the room. Your CV is the catalyst, and you are the product.



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