How to Prepare/Organize a Curriculum Vitae (CV) for a Job Interview

A good and standard CV is one of the important prerequisites when searching for a job.  A well-outlined and arranged Curriculum Vitae will create

A good and standard CV is one of the important prerequisites when searching for a job.  A well-outlined and arranged Curriculum Vitae will create that first impression that is always a lasting impression.
(You can download a sample template of a standard CV in .docx format at the end of this article, edit and insert your details to easily produce your own standard CV).

One unfortunate irony about organizing a standard CV is that, it throws most applicants into panic. This is likely because they fidget and wonder how best to present an acceptable curriculum vitae which will help them excel in their job interviews.

Read Also:
Some Job Interview Questions and How to Answer them 
Some Questions You May Ask Your Job Interviewer

It is worthy to note that a prospective employer spends some good time studying an applicant’s curriculum vitae. This is because your CV is the first ‘you’ an employer is coming in contact with. It gives him that opportunity to know whom he is hiring and what the person could be up to generally.


An outstanding and a creative CV is all you need to get closer to your dream job. It is certainly a good way of showing off what you’ve got. How fancifully arranged your CV appears may not matter. What is necessary is a CV that contains the vital information about you, and is error free. A curriculum vitae that is full of mistakes is the very first sign of letting your employer know how bad your work can as well be.

Furthermore, be sure not to present a Curriculum vitae with make-up information about you. Employers have a way of finding out, and what always follows is a sack, even when you are already on the job. On no account should your CV appear deceitful. Be it the information contained therein, the arrangement of information, or even typographical errors. Everything about it must be immaculate.
There is no laid down rule on a particular format your curriculum vitae must follow before guaranteeing you a job. However, here are few basic principles generally used to organize a standard CV:

  • Personal Details
  • Education/Qualifications
  • Employment History/Work Experience
  • Personal Skills (if any)
  • References
  • Others such as intellectual work: Project, Thesis, Paper Presentations, Membership of Professional Bodies, Hobbies/Interests, Vision/Objectives, Language (Spoken and Written), etc.

Personal Details 

This includes information that unravels your identity as an individual. It is a straightforward thing, and it gives a holistic overview of who you are. It may include such details like: name, occupation, address, telephone number, email address, date of birth, place of birth, sex, nationality, state of origin, marital status, number of children, health condition, religion, next of kin, etc.
However, you may skip some information that seems not to be too necessary in this section. But it all depends on how the job advert was positioned. Such things like name, and occupation should be conspicuously written at the top part of the curriculum vitae especially when the job in question relates to your present job. If there is any graduate qualification and letters that comes after your name, it may be wise to attach such.


Here, a concise history of your academic details is required. The institutions or schools attended, the period of such learning, qualifications obtained and dates are all necessary information in this section. In listing your educational history, it may more be interesting to start from the current or most recent one down the earliest. It will interest your prospective employer more to know about your graduate or post graduate studies than your primary or secondary/high school studies which may have little or no relevance to the present situation. If the grades obtained were not as good as they should be, you may consider not listing them at all. In this case, listing only the subjects of study and their certificates may be enough rather than laying out a substandard grade. Listing such grades may serve as a sort of reminder to your interviewer to probe further your ability on handling the job in question. The low grades if listed may pose some doubts, hence it is better to leave it out except otherwise required.

Employment History/Work Experience

This is the section that deals with your career history. It demands the listing of all jobs you have done inclusive of your present one (if any). This is one area your prospective employer will pay rapt attention to. He wants to know what you have done previously, and if it in any way relates to what you want to do now. This is the section where most applicants feel quite uncomfortable with, especially when they are fresh from school or have not been engaged in any paid employment. However, there is always a place for everyone to start from.

In listing your career history, you are expected to do that in a chronological order, starting from your last job down to the very first. In the case where someone has been working for a pretty long time, to avoid making your CV appear cumbersome, it may be advisable for such a person to limit his job listing only to the last five (meaningful) jobs held or the last ten years of work.

It is pertinent to note that in this section, the name of the organization, address, telephone, period of employment, position held and duties performed are all necessary information to be provided.

Personal/Special Skill

Apart from acquiring loads of certificates and work experience spanning over a long period of time, one may still have an attribute that is peculiar to him or her alone: a thing that makes you different from the next person, and stands out from the crowd. Under the special skill section, it is much more  important that you state those things you can do which does not reflect in your education or work experience. Who knows? That may be what will get your employer interested, and thus finally open the door.


Referees are people who have known you in one way or the other. It could be your former teacher or lecturer, your colleague or boss in employment, friend or even a relative.

Usually, it is normal to list two or three references except otherwise stated. Endeavor to select your references to span the areas you have laid claims to. Thus your references should be one academic, probably your former lecturer or head of department, another your previous or present employer, and the other a relative or friend who knows you from the home front.

In listing references, the name, address, telephone number, occupation and position of your chosen referees are all important  information needed.

Note that you must let your references know that you have chosen them to stand for you, except where it is totally official, like in the case of academic or employment situation. Be sure to choose persons who are of credible status.


Other information on such things like intellectual work: thesis, project, paper presentation, books, membership of profession organizations, hobbies/interests, vision/objectives, languages (written and spoken), could also be included according to the ones that apply to you.

Sometimes, your prospective employer may demand that you include your current remuneration in your CV. Where this is not the case, it is safer to leave it out.

In all, endeavor not to make your CV unnecessarily lengthy. A two-page CV or at most three is most appropriate. Anything more than that seems ridiculous, hence some unimportant facts should be avoided.

A Typical Example of a curriculum Vitae is Shown Below

Walter Wright
To continuously bring in creativity to bear in my work and thus, create a career that will stand the test of time
Account Officer
1 Bedford Mews,
23 April, 1977
2002 (Part-time)
Aptech Computer Institute:
Certificate course in Computer.
1995 – 1998:
University of Aberdeen, Scotland.
Bachelor’s degree – Banking and Finance.
1993 – 1995:
Ikeja High School, Lagos, Nigeria.
Senior School Certificate Examination (WAEC).
1982 – 1987:
Bethel Primary School, Lagos, Nigeria.
2004 till Date:
Manes Communications,
2 Dave Avenue,
Tel: +234803333001
Account Supervisor
Duties Performed:
Overseeing the day to day running of the financial sector of the company with regards to sales, Purchases, payments of salary, etc.
2001 – 2014:
Fizl Consultants Ltd,
Suite 32 Gold Plaza,
Apapa, Lagos,
Tel: +234803333002
Position held:
Finance Officer
Duties performed:
Daily book keeping and approving money for minor purchases, etc.
1999 – 2001:
Allenchydoe Publishers,
33 Agric Road,
Ikeja, Lagos,
Tel: +234803333003
Position Held:
Finance Officer
Duties Performed:
Taking records of inflow and outflow of cash.
1998 – 1999:
Afribank of Nigeria,
(National Youth UTC).
Beam Street, Ikeja.
Lagos, Nigeria.
Tel: +234803333004
Position held:
Marketing Officer
Duties Performed:
Sourcing for customers and creating awareness for the company’s products.
Great interpersonal and articulateness skill.
Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIB).
Reading, Travelling, meeting people and exploring new ideas.
Dr. Odibo Mbaka:
Afribank of Nigeria.
Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria.
Tel: +234803333005
Head of Operation
Mrs. Judith Asuquo:
Manes communications,
23, Dave Avenue, Lekki,
Lagos, Nigeria.
Tel: +234803333006
Executive director


Click here to download

The file is in .docx format and can be opened in any document editing software that supports docx files. A typical example is the Microsoft Word Software.

After downloading, open it in the editing environment and input your details by editing the ones in the CV already and remove the unnecessary parts for you.

Note: The Template is in a table. This will help keep the original arrangement of the document intact even after copying and uploading online. After editing to suit your taste, just highlight the entire document and set no border line for the table to make the lines invisible and make it look exactly like the one above.

I hope this article offered you the needed assistance? Tell us on the comment section.