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.

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