One of the biggest problems encountered by job seekers in South Africa is the high level of competition in the job market. It seems like almost everyone is looking for work, meaning that employers are always inundated with CVs from potential candidates. If you’re looking for a new job, this means only one thing: you need to find a way to make your CV stand out.
1. Be Clear And Structured.
There is no way recruiters are going to read all the CVs in detail. They begin by scanning the CVs received by reading them diagonally. Only those that catch their attention upon first reading will be examined more closely. Choose an attractive layout by structuring your ideas. For this purpose, use paragraphs and clear titles.
2. Avoid Embellishments.
A CV is a professional document. Don’t try to make it stand out by using an eccentric font or colours. Stay sober. When there is too much stuff going on, it’s going to make you appear immature and unprofessional.
3. Be Concise.
Your CV isn’t a novel. Avoid telling the story of your life. Make sure the document doesn’t exceed 1 to 2 pages of A4. Indicate a few relevant elements regarding your professional experience (tasks, responsibilities, etc.) and possibly your education.
4. Give Priority To Your Contacts.
If the recruiter wants to contact you, they must be able to find your personal information at first glance. Put it at the top of the first page. Think of putting your age rather than your date of birth to make things easier for the person reading your CV.
5. Avoid Unnecessary Information.
Avoid putting ‘curriculum vitae’ at the top of the document. Similarly, don’t put ‘name’ in front of your name, ‘address’ in front of your address, etc. If your CV is clear and well structured, there will be no room for uncertainty.
6. Put The Emphasis On Your Experience.
Your experience is what interests the recruiter above all. It is more important than your training and must therefore be mentioned first. Make sure it is relevant to the job for which you are applying. No professional experience yet? Then emphasize any placements and student jobs. If you really don’t have any relevant experience, begin with your education.
7. Mention Relevant Training.
Of course you have to mention your basic education and your specialization relevant to the job, but make it brief. If you have a degree, the recruiter won’t be interested in your primary and secondary school studies, for instance. Have you done any training during your career that you think is pertinent to the job in question? Speak about it briefly.
8. Work In Chronological Order.
Whether you are writing about your experience or your education, the most recent information is the most important. Always put it first.
9. Be Precise.
Don’t forget to mention your language and computer skills. It is essential but also mention your level of knowledge. For example: excellent, good, average, and basic. As regards languages, make a distinction between your reading, spoken and written abilities.
10. Never, Ever Tell Lies.
This may not strictly make you stand out, but it’s the best advice on CV writing. By all means embellish your achievements; everybody does this but never lie on your CV. If you tell your new employer you’ve got a 1st class degree from Oxford and they decide to do a little background checking, you’re in serious trouble.