8 Tips to Writing a Killer CV
Last Updated: 3rd of July 2017
Your CV is the bait on your hook in a job hunt. It won’t ever guarantee you a job, but it enables you to line it up in your sights. And if your CV is good enough, all you need to do is reel that baby in. Although we might soon see the back of traditional CVs as they are replaced by social networking services such as LinkedIn, they are still relevant in South Africa today.
Keep Your Audience in Mind
When writing any CV, make sure that you remember two things: firstly, keep in mind what type of company your are applying for. If you are approaching Mark1Labs, don’t write a CV that fits Ogilvy’s culture. Compose your CV in a way that emphasises your core skills and personality to the agency at hand. Some agencies embrace light-heartedness, others are more corporate. No matter the company, keep in mind the job you’ll be fulfilling, especially if you lack experience in this field. Perhaps you are a graphic designer with a few Java courses under your belt. If so, make sure that you emphasise your programming skills and experience, and not just your graphic design prowess.
Get Your Layout and Design Right
Although each CV is different, certain categories are always expected. These include: personal and contact information; work experience including an overview of your achievements, roles, and responsibilities in that job; personal interests, achievements or hobbies; and at least two references. The top half of the first page is the hotspot of your CV. The recruiter’s eye will automatically fall there, so make sure that you add the most important information there, without flooding it with information.
There are many expensive CV writing services out there, but most of the time a good CV building application such as Kickresume would do the trick for a lot less money.
Achievements Trump Roles and Responsibilities
Most jobseekers write down the roles and responsibilities that they have at their current job on their CV. Although this is important, it does not tell an employer much about you, so add a few accomplishments! If you were a sales executive, tell them how you smashed your targets! If you are a Digital Marketing Manager, make sure you mention how your department performed on certain metrics under your leadership. Most CVs tell recruiters what you are doing it, but you need to also start telling them how great you are at doing it.
Make it as Easy as Possible to Contact You
Never add more than one phone number, one email, one Skype account, one LinkedIn profile etc. to your CV. Many of us have more than one phone number or email, but pick one, and make sure that you keep that sim-card in your phone and your phone charged at all times.
Embrace Your Inner Perfectionist
Make sure that you weed out any spelling and grammar errors, as they can make you come across as careless and unprofessional. Although word processors such as Microsoft Word and Apple Pages are great and checking your spelling and grammar, it is always better to have a colleague or friend proofread your CV before you finalise it.
Make Sure Your CV is Updated
A common mistake is using an old CV to apply for a position that has not been updated with your latest job, roles and responsibilities. If you have just finished a new digital marketing course, put it on your CV – employers are always impressed by candidates who are constantly developing their skills and experience.
Add Some References
You might feel hesitant to add references to your CV out of fear that recruiters might contact you current boss without informing you. Although this is rare, it might not be worth the risk. Rather provide the name and title of your references, and indicate that their contact details will be provided upon request. Reference checks are usually one of the last steps in the recruitment process, so by the time the recruiter asks you for their contact details, you can get a little excited!
Finalise Your File Format
Finally, before you send your CV to any recruiter, make sure that it is properly converted to PDF, and that the file is named in appropriately. “Untitled1” might make an employer think you don’t care about details, so rather go with something like “John Doe CV – Graphic Designer”. Once that baby is ready and steady, send it off to your favourite employer or recruitment agency. And remember, Talent Magnet told you first!
Once you are happy that your CV is ready, head on over to the Talent Magnet Job Listings page and see what the future holds in store for you.
Martin is a running enthusiast with a Comrades Marathon in him (or two). Prior to co-founding Talent Magnet, he worked in Human Resources at Old Mutual and looked after HR initiatives across the unit. Martin studied at the University of Stellenbosch and the University of Reading and has an innate understanding of the digital landscape.