Ever wondered if your Curriculum Vitae (CV) is good enough to make it to the top of the pile and what to do to get it there? Especially when applying for a role that you know you are perfect for and can’t imagine not being successful in?

Every person I have ever interviewed has their own way of compiling a CV so there truly is no right or wrong way of creating one. However, it is about ensuring the correct information is clearly visible in order to align more closely to the role you are applying for. You want your CV to reach out and grab the recipient’s attention! They need to realize that you have the skills they require for the role they are recruiting for; and perhaps a little something extra which holds on to their attention a little longer than the next applicant’s CV.

In the days of fax machines, there was always an underlying rule of ‘the shorter the CV, the better’. These days it seems that employers like to see as much detail as possible in order to establish things like: do you go above and beyond what is considered to be the ‘normal’ duties and responsibilities as outlined in your job description?

The main purpose of a CV? To represent yourself as best you can in order to sell your expertise; in relation to the job you are applying for; expressing to the potential employer; beyond a shadow of a doubt; that you are indeed their most desired value add.

A functional CV should not include your family history or a long list of the things you like to do outside of the workplace – remember this is not a social document aimed at meeting people and or finding your next life partner!

There a few things which employers look for on a CV and here are some pointers based on their feedback:

  • Always ensure that your personal details are clear and at the top of your CV. Be sure to include your ID, residential area, nationality, driver’s license, notice period, perhaps the role applied for and a short outline of your hobbies.
  • You need to ensure that your education is clearly outlined for both secondary and tertiary education. List the qualifications, institutes and year of completion.
  • A nice thing to include next is a brief outline (in a table) of your employment history, listing only the employer, job title and dates to and from in your list.
  • In the more detailed employment history, include a breakdown of all duties and responsibilities. This will include all duties outlined as per the job description as well as any duties performed over and above the actual title’s expectations.
  • Within the employment history, try to include technologies and systems used and learned for the role. Also include achievements highlighting your abilities and goals within the role.
  • At the end of each role/tenure at a company, it is imperative to include a comprehensive reason for leaving. (Remember this is not a platform to slate your old Boss, or the company as this is highly unprofessional)
  • Should you be an IT candidate, it is always a good idea to include a fully comprehensive skills matrix which shows potential employers how far your IT knowledge extends.
  • For specific roles, a nice to have would be an outline of the projects you have completed and an indication of the level of your involvement in the project from cradle to grave.

When applying for a position, be it an internal or an external position, always ensure that you address the prospective employer with respect and in a professional manner, this should be a non-negotiable, especially when writing an introductory letter to accompany your CV.

There is no shame in tailoring your CV in accordance with the role you are applying for! Remember we often forget about tasks as they seem insignificant but sometimes when reading a job specification, those tasks are highlighted and should be included in your CV.

A golden rule to remember, which us Recruiters deal with on a daily basis: Do not apply for a role you have absolutely no business applying for! If your experience is that of an administration clerk please do NOT apply for a management role or that of an individual who requires technical skills that are beyond your capabilities! You are not doing yourself any favours wasting your energy on roles that your experience doesn’t align to.

We hope that you found this blog helpful and that you are able to apply these hints to your next job application. Good luck with your search and may you successfully make the next career move you are perfect for!

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