When it comes to job hunting, you are only as good as you look on paper, which is why it is essential that you have a great CV to get you that first interview.
Companies and recruitment agencies have the same complaint – there are simply too many “poor candidates” flooding their HR departments and account managers out there. But the reality is that these companies aren’t necessarily receiving poor candidates, but rather poor CVs.
How to compile a winning CV
Whereas many online sites and books (and even professional services) provide templates and format suggestions, more emphasis should be placed on content.
(If you need more tips as either a job seeker, or a job poster, there is an online resource centre available).
As a general rule of thumb, you should use a clear and easily readable font and an uncluttered layout – but spend most of your time perfecting the actual description of your past experience and qualifications.
Your personal details
Most recruiters and HR professionals simply scan your personal details to immediately qualify or disqualify your application.
If, for example, the job in question is only open to SA citizens or individuals with a drivers’ licence your application will be dismissed right away if you don’t match the criteria.
Make sure to list the basics right at the top of your CV and ensure that relevant details are included.
If you are living in Cape Town but moving to Durban, make sure that you state clearly that you are aiming to relocate soon to avoid being disregarded purely by your physical address. Keep the section short and succinct.
If you are quite far along in your career and experience, there is no need to delve into all the details of your education. It’s enough to state where you matriculated and obtained your qualifications.
If you’ve done numerous courses over the years, only state the ones most relevant to your job and most recently acquired – your certificate in wine tasting won’t impress if you are applying for a position as an accountant, and a typewriting maintenance course completed in 1979 is definitely not going to land you a job in 2014.
If however, you feel that this section is a little thin, scour the Internet for some free courses
Even large international universities such as Harvard and Oxford offer free online courses in a range of subjects and, if completed, will issue you with a certificate to that effect.
Again, this section can be short and to the point – include your subjects that are relevant, the year of completion and your final marks.