CV Tips and Guidelines

Employers receive an average of 60 qualified applicants for every advertisement for a low-skilled job, and 20 qualified applicants for every skilled job. Realistically in the South African context however, this translates to 100+ unqualified applicants for both skilled and unskilled jobs over and above the qualified applicants.

Significantly, almost half of these qualified candidates are perfectly suitable for the role, according to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

So that makes their resume all the more important when attempting to stand out from the crowd.

Experts say there are some golden rules for getting a CV correct, not least accuracy, spelling and grammar.

Don’t repeat the mistakes, they say, of a lawyer who stressed his “dew diligence”, or the applicant who ignored commas when describing his interests as “cooking dogs and interesting people”.

Key points:

Applicants will often need to complete an application and send a CV.

If sending a CV as a hard copy, along with a job application, then it needs to be neat and typed. The layout, presentation, fonts and graphics used can say a lot about the individual submitting the CV.

Increasingly, applicants are asked to send a digital copy of a CV. If this is the case then the first set of “eyes” to see it might be an automated search for key words, so experts suggest applicants ensure mandatory requirements in the job advert are included in the CV.

Digital CVs should be in a simple format and font so readability is not affected on different screens.

Other tips include:

  • Tailor a CV to a specific job – it is vital to ensure the script is relevant to each job application, rather than sending the same generic CV.
  • Keep it simple – it should be easy to read and use active language ie. “I am” versus “I did”
  • Include key information – personal details including name, address, phone number, email address and any professional social media presence should be clear.
  • A photo is a matter of choice but adds personality to the application.
  • Showcase achievements – offer evidence of how targets were exceeded and ideas created, but always be honest.
  • A CV should be a clear description of your character, skills and successes – The CV should differentiate you from the other candidates that submitted their CV’s.
  • Check and double check – avoid sloppy errors, take a fresh look the next day and ask for a second opinion from a trusted friend or colleague.

Changing CVs:

It is important that applicants put modesty aside and show self-confidence in their CV.

“If you are not confident about your skills and abilities then why should an employer have faith in you,” she says.

Video CVs are used more regularly to adapt to the evolvement of our technology changes in recruitment. Some employers ask for video CVs where applicants describe their skills and experience on a short video filmed on their smartphone. Alternatively, a video CV may be required to complete application forms online.

Social Media is used quite extensively by future Employers to evaluate overall behaviour and activities – Be careful of what is shared on these open platforms.

Help and examples:

There are plenty of useful tools and templates to assist people writing up their CV for the first time, or brushing up an existing one.

2 x Great Templates are available on our Site “Create your CV”