I am not sure if 24.com is simply a fabulous place to work or if our corner of the office is a particularly sought- after one, but I get a helluva lot of CVs. We also get lots of letters asking for "magical CV templates"...so I thought it was time to combine the two.
And while there is no such thing as a magical CV template, there is such a thing as a CV flawed enough to mean that a perfectly good candidate misses out on an interview. Make sure that doesn’t happen to you.
It sounds so rudimentary, but I discard over a third of all CVs I receive because of typos. I used to discard a CV as soon as I found a typo, but that only left me with a handful, so now I discard CVs with typos in the covering letter. And it's STILL over a third. (Now I know as well as anyone that it’s easy to make spelling mistakes, but not when you are applying for a job that involves subbing. P’raps it’s different in other professions.)
Read it again. Get your picky friend to read it. Then read it AGAIN. And then only print it.
Your high school marks
Unless you are 18 years old, I honestly don't care. I need to know you have Matric (and even then, that's only when you have no other qualifications) but I don't need to know that you got a standard Grade C for Biology. In fact, all I get from such a statement is that I assume you failed it on Higher Grade.
When should you include your Matric marks? When you got 8 As. Can't really think of another reason.
Timeline your career from now backwards, not chronologically.
I'd like to know what you are doing now, It's not that relevant that you spend 3 days as a Cosmic Chess Sales person on a temporary gig at the Sandton Hyperama in 1987, so leave that for the back. (Actually, that was me. Nothing like a true life example to get the point across!)
Don't use standard Word templates
I’ve seen them all before, printed in more colours than you can imagine. I am not impressed by your ability to find a standard button, I am worried by the fact that you think that makes you stand out.
Ditto the pictures loaded with your Word. When it comes to CV layout, the simpler the better.
Don't be trite
I may be alone in this, but I don't care if you like jogging, watching movies with friends or reading novels. I care slightly more if you are a base jumper, but honestly? Still not that much. And you know what I care about least of all? That you think you are a "perfectionist".
But hey, that's just me. Anyone else who does a lot of interviewing want to chip in here? The more advice the merrier. Add in your 2c below.