How to Format your CV

Perhaps you are about to write a CV for the first time, and you want to know the CV format in Nigeria or you are here to know more about CV writing, therefore, honing your CV writing skills. Whichever be the case, I will try as much as possible to explain CV format in Nigeria in succinct.

Before I continue, let me make it clear that my target audience for this article is fresh graduates, graduates with work experience, and even dropouts. I ought to use the word Resume, but because everyone is used to the term CV meaning Curriculum Vitae, thus, I will use the word CV for the entire writeup.

You see, CV goes beyond booting up words; you need to think carefully about what the content, design, layout and font say about you as a professional. Recruiters have passed the age of reading CV from head to toe… That is bygone days. We are living on a fast track. After admission, it takes only 6 seconds to decide the fate of your CV.

Your CV should reveal everything briefly. Is this possible? Yes. A recruiter should be able to notice for example; Work experience and Skills without hand tracing on your CV and this could only be achieved if you understand the required CV format in Nigeria.

Whether you’re sending your CV via email, portal or in printed form, you must consider the CV format. The format of your CV is the first thing a recruiter would notice at first glance, it holds so much power and influence – Your CV format could spell the beginning or the end of your job search in an organization.



CV format in Nigeria for fresh and experienced graduates

  • Contact details
  • Summary/Objectives
  • Area of expertise/Skills
  • Work Experience
  • Professional Qualifications (optional)
  • Academic Qualification
  • Additional Sections (Certificates, Awards, Interests)
  • Reference

I going to briefly talk about each section through the eye of a recruiter so you can better understand the purpose of this CV format. Please note, this is the CV format in Nigeria and may have a different approach in other countries. I am going to use different jobs for this article to avoid copy and paste by some readers. Moreover, Preferential CV format is another CV format in Nigeria you may also want to consider.

Let’s start with;

Personal detail: The only section a recruiter will never ignore at first glance is your personal details. I know and I have heard many so-called experts say personal details like, age, state of origin is not important. If you are wise you will include that information in your CV. For example, a recruiter who wants to employ people from a state may discard your CV if there is no information about your location.

Ndukwu Ezionum

No 5 Palace Road, Asaba, Delta State

Telephone: +2347********* Email


Summary/Objectives: So now I have seen your personal detail, the next thing I would look at is your CV summary or Objectives. From here I can tell whose CV I am reviewing. If you have good work experience on the job you are applying for, you should use Summary. If you have little or no experience use Objective for this is the right CV format in Nigeria.

Let me explain better. The summary statement in your CV uses work experience and skills to show the hiring manager why you are the best job seeker for the position. While Objectives only focus on your needs and future goals; Objectives talks more about you.

Summary Statement
Managed multiple websites simultaneously and efficiently by overseeing the daily operations of 17 Facebook Pages. A publishing executive with a multi-faceted background encompassing international licensing and brand management. Developed specialities in editorial planning, global marketing strategy, and design.

Area of expertise/Skill:
When I’m satisfied with your Summary or Objectives the next thing, I will look at in your CV is your Skills or Area of expertise. The skills section of your CV shows employers you have the abilities required to succeed in the job you are applying for.

I often see job seekers listing soft skills and hard skills while some will only list out computer skills on their CV. If you want to follow and practice my CV format in Nigeria, then stop writing all those soft skills and hard skill stunt you see on the internet (fresh graduates exempted). If you have real job experience, your skills/Area of expertise must be related to the job role.


  • Computer Organization & Architecture, Single-cycle & Multi-Cycle Datapath, Memory Architecture, Pipeline Concepts, 22 years
  • Operating Systems, Process, Threads, Memory Management, Deadlocks, 2 years
  • Data Structures, Trees, List, Hashing, 3 years

Work Experience:
I have seen your Skills/Area of expertise, now I am very interested in your work experience which will prove why you possess those skills you have mentioned. For those who have experience in the job, please avoid using Work experience.

Let‘s assume you’re applying for a Banking job; I’d like to see for example – Banking Experience – in lieu of Work Experience. At first glance, I would grasp that I’m dealing with a fellow who has real experience in finance and the skills to prove it. If you don’t have a job experience you can read about how to write one here.

CV for format in Nigeria demands that you list your previous jobs in chronological order with the most recent employment first. Begin each item by stating the name of the Company, Location, job title and date, and responsibilities. Describe your responsibilities in relation to the job you are applying for and only mention work experience related to the job.

Supreme Davic International, Lagos State.
Process Engineer, 2008 to 2010
Served in lead or key participatory roles for top-priority initiatives for F500 company’s oil and refining operations.
Representative Projects:

  • Plant Design: Completed preliminary process design for a proposed oil refinery in Sometown, TX. Delivered Front End Loaded Stage 2 (FEL-2) package that became the key decision-support tool.
  • Diesel Production Increase: Completed root-cause analysis that identified production bottlenecks, increasing output by 20% and margins by 6%.

Waterspring Limited, Ondo State
Receptionist | Administrative Assistant, 2006 to 2008
Served as executive assistant to the management team, handled a busy phone system, functioned as primary liaison to customers and ensured a consistently positive customer experience. Results:

  • Helped drive a 10% increase in customer satisfaction based on a customer survey in 2007.
  • Automated daily statistics report that provided management with a key decision-making tool.
  • Became a trusted assistant to company president, executive staff and office manager and earned a reputation for producing high-quality work.

Professional Qualifications:
It is an advantage for you if you add your professional Qualifications because many recruiters are now looking at this qualification for evaluation. Professional Qualification is usually made up of short courses and put a great deal of focus on real-world application, which allows students to gain extensive on-the-job training and boost their CV.


  • The Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA)
  • Certified Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)
  • Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA)
  • Certified Management Accountant (CMA)

Academic Qualifications
If a recruiter should read through your CV to this section, half the battle is won. Other section will only make your CV interesting albeit don’t spoil the mood by going off the scale. Except you are applying for a government job, please exclude Primary School. List the degree, the name of your school and its location, followed by the years you graduated. Start with your highest degree in reverse chronological order.

MSc Information and research, 2010
The University of Lagos
Lagos state.

BSc. Library and Information Science, 2007
Delta State University, Abraka,
Delta State

School Leaving Certificate, 2001
Federal Government Boys College,
Lagos State.
CV format in Nigeria includes Hobbies; no prospective employer would want to employ a robot as an employee. The Hobbies section on your CV shows the prospective employer a bit of your personality. One of the benefits of Hobbies in a CV is that it may create an atmosphere for an informal discussion with your prospective employer during a job interview.
Remember to always tailor your Hobbies to match job specification and not just that, make sure there is a connection with your Skills /Area of expertise. Your hobbies should not be listed but rather written in a sentence.

I love board games and painting. I am also a part-time blogger. I write and edit articles about all topics related to programming languages (specifically PHP and Java)

According to (Wordweb) Reference is a formal recommendation by a former employer to a potential future employer describing the person’s qualifications and dependability. Do you understand? You must be careful when writing a Reference because it is one of the sensitive parts of a CV. A Reference person in a CV is someone who can vouch for you and not some random person.

For a Fresh Graduate who have no work experience, your Reference can be a Coach, Former Teacher, Acquaintance. Never use your parent as a Reference. Graduate with work experience can draw resume Reference from a Past Boss, Managers, Supervisors and Close Associates. Except, the job you are applying for specifically state that you should add a reference, please do not include it on your CV. Get details here.

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