The word Curriculum Vitae literally translated means the story of your life. Your CV is a very important document; with it rest your hopes and dreams for the future – that next step up the career ladder, a better position, more money, new challenges, etc. Your CV, therefore, has to represent the best you have to offer if you do not want to miss out on that job you saw which was ‘perfect’ for you. These days employers often receive a lot of CVs for each advertised position – jobs advertised in national papers can often attract hundreds of applicants. So your CV has to be just that little bit special to stand out if you want to obtain interviews.
The good news (for you) is that most people do not know how to write a CV and only spend a short time preparing a CV. Writing professional CVs is a skill, which these people have not learnt. Of course, your CV can continue to work in your favour even after it has obtained an interview for you. It can help you at an interview by carefully focusing the interviewer’s mind on your good points and on your achievements. Once you have left the interview it will continue to work in your favour as the interviewer will probably reread it before making a decision, either on who should be invited to the second interview stage or who the job should be offered to.
When it comes to salary negotiations a well-written CV can help. If your CV conveys your full worth you are likely to get a higher salary offer than you might have done with a poorer CV. So do not skimp on the time you spend on writing a CV as it will probably be a false economy.
HOW TO PRESENT YOUR CV:
The following points should be found on your CV:
• Your personal details:This part should contain your full name, ID number, address,
telephone number, fax number if available, cell phone number and e-mail address. You can also add
useful information such as your birth date, your marital status, if you have a drivers licence and
what languages you speak.
• Your education and qualifications: In this part, you should have the details of your
including dates, it is not necessary to mention your primary school. Start with the year you
matriculated, from where and what subjects you passed. Highlight your tertiary qualification
including dates, qualification achieved and any achievements awarded. Add in this part all relevant
training/courses you may have attended.
• Your professional experience: Starting with the latest, clearly separate all your previous employment records, each one of them must contain a starting and ending date, the name and address of the establishment you worked for and the position you held. Then add a short description of your job or responsibilities and some achievement you may have attained in this specific position. Tip: Make sure there is no gap of time between your jobs, if you have taken time off or worked in another direction, let the employers know on your CV, a long gap in your CV could play against you.
• Your referees: It is important you have at least 2 referees on your CV, preferably your latest employers. When adding those referrers, make sure to mention who they are and how to reach them. It is advisable to make contact with the referees and ask them if people may contact them for a reference. Alternatively, you may insert: Referrers available upon request.
• Other information: Highlight what computer packages you are au fait with, you may add other information at the end of your CV which you believe may market you to prospective employers such as hobbies or interests.
To have a maximum impact, your Curriculum vitae must be:
• Clear: Use simple and clear fonts, use the bold, italic and underline without excess, separate clearly all parts of your CV, only put in what’s necessary (see below), do not add too many colours or tables.
• Easy to read: Use simple text, do not elaborate too much.
• Up to date: Always update your CV before you send it.
• As short as possible: A three page CV is the ideal size, keep your CV as short as possible.
• Be honest: Only enter things you have done, if you lie about yourself, you will more than likely be
caught out during the interview
YOUR INTRODUCTION LETTER
When sending your CV, whether you send it by mail or e-mail, it is necessary to add an introduction letter. This letter should be brief, simply introduce yourself, let the employer know which position you are applying for and where you have found this position, when you would be available and your motivation for this job.
• Sending your CV by mail: Make sure to send your letter and CV and eventually your latest references on paper in a large envelope, avoid bending your documents. Make sure it is correctly addressed to ensure that it lands successfully on the desk of the recruiter.
• Sending your CV by E-mail: Replace the introduction letter by a short e-mail, you may copy and paste your CV into the body of the e-mail or send it by attachment, if you do so, make sure your CV is written using a well-known text document such as Microsoft Word. Always add a small subject to your e-mail. Avoid any large picture files that require a long time download and don’t put a border on your CV as it takes longer to print.