CV Advice

Your CV is a summary of three key areas: personal details, employment history (relevant job experience) and education.

A potential employer always requires a CV when looking for suitable candidates to fill their vacancies. The CV is used to screen and shortlist applicants when making decisions on who could be potential employees.

Your CV must highlight the benefits of hiring you over other candidates and make it easy for the recruiter or employer to see the specific advantages of hiring or buying your skills.

Structuring your CV

Length

CVs should optimally not cover more than three pages, meaning you need to balance content against length

Synopsis

Your synopsis and the CV need to describe what sets you aside from other applicants. It should also highlight the most relevant aspects of your work experience, education and achievements.

General Information & Personal Details

A CV should contain the following concise general information: First Name, Middle Names, Surname, Non Specific local address (Suburb or Residential Area only); e-mail address; landline contact phone numbers, mobile phone number.

Resume Objective or Personal Profile

This section is often combined with the Synopsis and informs prospective employers of what you are looking for as a next step in your career? This is a short, concise statement that informs the employer what kind of position, type of position, experience, role and situation you are looking for. It can also contain a very brief statement about what drives you and your key attributes.

Education on your Resume

You must list all of your qualifications in this section from academic and non-academic institutions. List the qualifications in date order or from most relevant to job vacancy to least relevant. You should at least list: name of qualification; institution issuing qualification, date qualification obtained and awards received.

Remember to include professional licenses or association membership have the relevant documentation available for reference should the employer require proof of such documentation.

Professional or Work Experience

When completing this section please list working experience in reverse chronological order i.e most recent relevant experience first. This section includes work experience even if the post was unpaid, voluntary, summer job, internship, co-op experience or extracurricular activity. When listing these work experiences include what kind of job was it (internship/full time/part time etc). Make sure there are no time gaps in your CV and if they are you must be ready to explain them.

Each position should include this basic information: Title of position; Start Date; End Date; Length you held the post; Duties & Responsibilities; Name of organization. Explain the contribution you made to the company.

Resume Skills Summary

If appropriate your CV can contain a Skills Summary that includes your main skills. In this section rather use keywords and do not go into lengthy descriptions of your skills.

Activities and Interests

Keep this section short. Include any activities that you do in your free time that can positively influence the perception of an employer. Leave out any activities related to politics, religion or controversial topics that could alienate the reader.

References

If you have references that you are willing to provide include them in this section. Ask people if they are willing to serve as references before you give their names to a potential employer.

Otherwise include the statement: “References available upon request”

Things to watch for:

Language

Be concise and straight forward with your language and avoid long winded paragraphs. Look for key words and phrases in the profession to integrate into your CV without losing clarity. Use lists and be careful with using acronyms or abbreviations – do not use slang or CAPS as this is like SHOUTING at the reader.

If you are applying for a technical job make sure that a non-technical person is also able to understand your CV.

If you do get the interview then you must be in a position to explain what is in your CV.

Readability

Keep your CV professional

You need to make it easy for a reader to find his way through your CV. Each section should be clearly demarcated and labelled and the detail in each section should be easy to read. Section should follow a logical order and the reader should be able to easily find a section that they are looking for.

It is very important that your CV immediately obtains and holds the attention of an employer or recruiter.

Objective Review

Have a qualified and independent person give you objective feedback of how well your CV reads and CV sells you.

Your CV needs to detail your best and most marketable qualities as fast as efficiently possible. Keep in mind that people are short of time and they only scan documents meaning you need to capture their attention. Check carefully for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.