Pick the most important information
It is important that you include all the information in a way that is clear, not only to you but to everyone else as well.
• List your personal details such as home address, work address, phone number, cell number, e-mail address, date of birth, identity number (if required), race and disability status (if required for employment equity purposes) and any other information of a personal nature which is relevant to your application.
• Create a profile – this is a summary of your skills and competencies and the qualities that the prospective employer is seeking for the position or in the organisation.
The aim is to grab the attention of the reader by demonstrating that you are a good potential candidate for the position. If it is pertinent and crisp, it will encourage the reader to peruse the rest of your CV.
Remain factual and do not overstate and exaggerate your competencies and qualities as this can be disconcerting.
• List your ability in other languages (understanding, reading and writing). Your competence in using standard computer packages should also be listed if applicable. The possession of a driving licence and the code can also be included.
• You can also briefly list your interests, activities or community or volunteer work in which you are involved, but only when these relate to the position for which you are applying, e.g. when you have a position of leadership or responsibility.
• List your work history as well as the knowledge, skills and abilities that you have gained and obtained over that period.
• List your most recent experience first. Give the name of your employer, job title and date of employment. Provide brief information on what you actually did and achievements in the position.
It is not necessary to list each and every duty and function that you performed – rather concentrate on the responsibilities that are relevant to the prospective employer.
• List your educational qualifications. List the institutions together with the qualification that you obtained, with the most recent qualification first.
Only provide details of the subjects that you passed or the year that you obtained the qualification if it is relevant. If you have a tertiary qualification the fact that you passed high school and when you passed the final exam and the subjects that you wrote are of no real benefit.
If, however, you are applying for a position after just completing high school or while studying, you can state the subjects and the level at which you completed these (higher grade, level, distinctions, etc.).
You can also note special achievements that you obtained while studying – special awards, merit positions, sporting colours and awards, positions of seniority in student societies, etc.
• Provide at least two references with the necessary contact details.
Make sure that referees are willing to give you a reference – you do not want a situation where the person who you considered as someone who would be able to competently comment on your knowledge, skills and abilities gives a reference which does not enhance your application.
Include a strong covering letter.
This document is the first one that the prospective employer will read before perusing your CV. You therefore want to make sure that you also have a crisp, professional looking and easy to read letter that will encourage the reader to turn the page to start on your CV.
Click here for tips on how to compile the perfect cover letter.
There are six issues that you want to work towards with your CV – it should be unique, well-presented, accurate, brief (no more than four pages), contain relevant information and, most important, it should be a positive reflection of who and what you are.
Karel van der Molen is Women24's career expert. Ask him a question here.
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