Get That Dream Job

CV - Curriculum Vitae

Getting that dream job starts with making sure you have a professional CV.

If you don’t know where to start, we have good news: We have a CV template on our website which you are welcome to use. Click here to start the download.

CV Preparation Tips

  1. Your CV is like a photograph of your ability. Take time ensuring it portrays you accurately.
  2. Remember when writing and structuring your CV that it is essentially marketing you and that a potential employer will use the details provided to form interview questions. It should be clear and easy to read. Gaps in career history should be explained and falsehoods and inaccuracies avoided at all costs
  3. The completed CV needs to be checked carefully for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes and to ensure that it makes sense. Ask an 'independent' party to review the whole document before it is sent out. 
  4. Emphasize the last 5 to 7 years of experience. Keep your CV concise and to-the-point. Some companies will only accept a maximum of two pages, although this is not the common practice in SA. We would not recommend a CV longer than 5 pages max.
  5. A basic CV may need tailoring to each job application. Focus on what is important to each employer.
  6. Allow for lots of white space in the margins. Make your CV visually appealing.
  7. Focus on accomplishments. Show what you can do for a prospective employer. Use action verbs.
  8. Avoid too much color, fancy borders, boxes, shading, or cute graphic designs. Use white paper.

CV Components

1. Personal Particulars: 

  • Include Contact information (name, email and postal address, preferred telephone number) - this information should be at the top of the first page and your name repeated on the top of the second page, and thereafter.

2. Objective: 

  • Brief, focused statements of the type of job/occupation and industry you seek and/or experience you have.

3. Work Experience:

  • The most widely accepted style of employment record is the chronological CV. Career history is presented in reverse date order starting with most recent. Achievements and responsibilities are listed against each role. More emphasis/information should be put on more recent jobs. 
  • Aim to ensure the content is clear, structured, concise and relevant. Using bullet points rather than full sentences can help minimise word usage 
  • Give basic company information (name, dates of employment, reason for leaving employment). If a company is not well known, include company statistics (website, line of business, revenue, number of employees, etc.).
  • Show job title(s) and dates with each employer.
  • Highlight accomplishments for each position. Give brief descriptions of responsibilities using action verbs. Choose accomplishments and responsibilities that relate to the job you seek.

4. Education & Qualifications:

  • Show each school, degree, degree month and/or year, major and accomplishments
  • Take care to include the names of institutions and dates attended in reverse order; university before school results.

5. Other Sections:

  • Professional certifications
  • Reference particulars.
  • Job-related technical skills, such as computer proficiencies and (genuine) foreign language skills and any other recent training/development that is relevant to the role applied for.
  • Community awards (list only significant, job-related awards)
  • Hobbies and Interests. Keep this section short. 

What to Exclude:

  • Personal data (avoid superfluous details, such as religious affiliation, children's names and so on.) - we'll get to know YOU in the interview.  It is important to keep your CV professional.

CV Covering Letter

While you can (and should) create sample letters in advance, each letter you send should be personalized and customized to the particular situation. Letters should be concise, to the point, appreciative, and have three parts:

  1. The opening sentence or short paragraph should state your objective. If you have a personal referral to the addressee or the company, be sure to mention the referring person’s name first.
  2. The middle part should tell something about you, including one or two related accomplishments.
  3. The final paragraph should include a call to action, telling the person what you would like for the individual to do or what you will do next.

Good luck with your job hunt!

TIP: The person who gets hired is not usually the one who can do the job best, but the one who knows the most about how to get hired.

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