Improving your CV
So, you’re looking for a job. The first thing you need is a Curriculum Vitae. Regardless of the mode of delivery, once your CV has entered the pile with all the others, it’s the only way a potential employer can learn about you and figure out whether you are right for the job.
At Basadzi, we receive a high volume of CVs from job seekers weekly and we read and evaluate each one. Below are some useful tips on how to avoid common mistakes which often decrease your chances of job-seeking success.
Try to keep your CV as short as possible. Of course, the longer you’ve been working, the longer your CV will become. However, a basic guideline should be to keep it within 2 double-sided pages (four pages of text). We know you want to tell us everything you’ve accomplished and how it makes you the perfect candidate… but remember that yours is only one in a large pile that a recruiter will have to go through at any given time. Brevity is your friend. Don’t give your potential employer enough paper for them to get bored or frustrated halfway through reading. If there are things you wish to highlight and personal experiences which you feel are relevant to the position applied for, the cover letter is the place to put all that. However, again remember to try convey as much as you can with as few words as possible.
Never forget to include your list of references. This should come at the end of your document and include the name, position and at least two methods of contacting the individual (typically work email and telephone number). If you have reference letters from previous employers, include these in your application. If you’ve not been working for long or are a first-time job seeker your references can include professors from your tertiary institution, groups for which you did volunteer work or character references. (Do not use your parents or close relations as character references, these are source whose opinions of you the recruiter will not be inclined to trust!)
3) Connect your experience to your qualifications
Remember that your work experience and qualifications will go hand-in-hand. Be sure to make the connection clear. If you hold a diploma in Administration and are applying to be an admin clerk or exevutive assistant, be sure to let the employer know of your skills.
Some fonts are easier on the eyes than others. Times New Roman 12 point isan accepted standard font which is easy to read both in electronic and on hard-copy. Before you choose a unique font, be sure to test it out by printing a sample page. Avoid chunky fonts and very light fonts alike. Remember that yours is one in a pile, if your CV is difficult to read your recruiter is liable to simply move on.
1) Spelling and Grammar
Attention to detail is key. No matter the job you are applying for, don’t impair your chances by not proof reading your document. If a recruiter has to guess what you were trying to say because of poor spelling and use of grammar, they’re less likely to want to recommend you. Before you print, use spell check to make sure you catch any silly mistakes.