How To ... Compile a killer CV

2014-07-13 06:00

You have about six seconds to make a good impression with your CV, research by US-based job-matching service TheLadders has found.

Robert Olufsen, a specialist in CV writing and career development, and Gerard le Roux, CV writer and job-search specialist, share their tips for achieving just that.

“Start your CV off with an executive summary, which clearly states what job you are applying for,” says Le Roux. Your personal details, work experience and education should follow, in that order.

» The most important information your CV should contain, is personal data, educational background and work history. “Employers aren’t really interested in your primary schooling. Under education, include where you matriculated and any major achievements that you had in that period,” says Olufsen.

» Don’t include your matric marks, especially if you did badly. “Do not include matric marks or copies of certificates unless requested – especially if you got Es Fs or Gs,” says Le Roux. Bad academic results create a negative impression with the prospective employer and can cost you the job.

“You have moved on from matric. You are no longer that person. Put your best foot forward,” adds Le Roux.

» Under educational background, include any degree, diploma or certificate qualification obtained after matric – with the dates and institutions.

» “Work history is the most important information,” says Olufsen. Start from the most recent job and end with your earliest job. Name the company, the position you held there, the duration and your responsibilities. “List your work responsibilities in short bullet form. Five or six. It shouldn’t be too long,” says Olufsen.

» Don’t include any attachments. “Anything you want included in your CV must be written in the body of the CV and it shouldn’t be longer than three to four pages,” says Olufsen. Attachments should be avoided as they make the CV too long. “Big no-nos are CVs that are 10 pages long. Too many pages become an irritation to the employer,” adds Le Roux.

» If you are applying for a position in customer service, public relations or any industry that is image conscious, Olufsen suggests adding a small head-and-shoulders picture. But Le Roux warns that any picture won’t do. “Pictures are not a problem, but people don’t understand what a good picture is. A picture you took at a braai when you were a bit tipsy and then decided to crop is not on. You need to use a professional picture – smartly dressed; no cleavage or muscle tops.”

» Don’t neglect grammar and spelling. “It’s the simplest thing you can do to make sure you leave a good impression,” says Olufsen.

» All CVs must be typed and should be in black and white – strictly no colour.

» Most importantly, keep the CV concise and neat.

Le Roux warns that a good CV will not always guarantee a job, but it is a step in the right direction.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.