How To Write A Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Many people are intimidated when writing their CVs mainly because they are misinformed about what it entails. A poorly presented CV often leads to employers discarding it and never looking at it again. It is extremely important that the way a potential employee presents themselves makes a good first impression.

Applying to a company or organisation is exciting. It is a new adventure that often promises a better outcome for most applicants. However, it is difficult to enjoy the prospects of what a new job will bring when you are stressing about that dreaded document; two letters that can make a grown man perspire: a CV. It plays such a vital role in the job-hunting and applying process and it forms an integral part of employer-employee interviews.

The CV is the first connection that the employer makes with the employee and, as the old saying goes, first impressions count. They often can’t be erased.

Whether you are applying for a job for the first time or whether you are ready for a new venture, here are easy steps to solve the CV-writing anxiety.

Stick to The Correct Structure

As stated above, the CV is the connection between the employee and the company. Not only does a CV have to elevate the potential employee, but it also has to fulfil a more basic function.

CVs introduce potential employees by containing personal details as well as previous work experience. In just a few pages employers will be able to identify promising candidates and forget about those who simply do not fit the bill. As with most things in life, there are rules and structures and the CV is not that different.

What to include in a professional CV:

Personal Details: The CV should first and foremost include relevant and personal details of the potential employee. If a CV is outdated, it should be updated immediately. Name, surname, date of birth, home and second languages, as well as contact details, should be provided.

An Introduction: This document is really used to sell yourself! The beginning should start with a short synopsis of the CV, highlighting strengths and weaknesses. It also contains a motivational paragraph that should encourage the employer to hire the applicant.

Work Experience: It is wise to list any work experience that the employee might have whether it be relevant to the job or not. This is especially important for those who are applying for the first time.

Academic Record: Employers want to see whether the candidates meet the academic requirements which is why it is important to list them. Consider listing primary and high school education as well as tertiary education. Any and all short courses should also be added to the list along with the year in which they were completed.

Also Learn: How To Write A Cover Letter

Good Impressions are Formed in the First 30 Seconds

Recruitment experts have noted that a CV has a 30-second eyeball time. This means that within the first half-minute, the employer is already forming an opinion and the employee has to leave a memorable mark. This is difficult to do as the employee will not be presenting the CV themselves.

In order to make a good impression, a few factors need to be considered. It is important to do some research on the company to ensure that there is a clear understanding of what it stands for. If it is a company that prefers a more traditionalist approach in its manifesto then a traditional layout of the CV will make a better impression. If it is a company that prides itself on modernity then a contemporary style would suit the CV better. Another factor is the importance of the content. Decide which points should be highlighted better than others and rearrange the CV so that they attract the most attention.

Declare Yourself a Problem-solver

Problem-solvers are sought after in almost all careers and jobs which is why it is important to highlight this in a CV. All working environments will run into problems at some stage and if the employer sees the employee will be a hands-on problem-solver the better the chances will be of them getting the job. It is good to remember that each and every interview is a problem for the company: they need someone to solve a problem otherwise they would never have advertised the position.

A good way to approach this is to study the advertisement or job posting. The employee should completely understand what is expected of them and what the job requirements are. When this information has been identified, think of a solution to the problem that can be presented during an interview or as part of a cover letter. For example: if the company is looking for sales person, think of ways in which sales can be boosted and how a surplus of stock can be sold at a faster pace.

Research The Company

The more information the applicant has on hand about the company, the better structured the CV will be. Companies are never the same and the same CV should not be sent out to different companies. It would be a good idea to read up on the company’s current projects. A professional applicant will then be able to include what their role in these projects would be and how they can improve on it. Another piece of information that can be included will be the reason why the applicant was attracted to the advertisement. This will show that the applicant understands the company, what it stands for, and how it can enrich the company’s needs.

Also Learn: 7 Interviews Tips That Will Get You The Role

Update Your CV Regularly

This is an important point that many people often forget. A CV needs to be updated regularly. As soon as a new certificate is completed or as soon as a promotion has been awarded, it needs to go onto the CV. Do not fall prey to outdated CVs and miss out on a dream job.

Writing a CV does not have to be an intimidating or daunting aspect. These 5 steps allow all applicants to set up their own CVs with confidence.

We are here to provide you an overview of all the latest internships, bursaries, apprenticeships, graduate programmes, learnerships and jobs opportunities that are available for application in South Africa.

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