CV Advice

There are always three main section in a well structured Curriculum Vitae (CV) namely: Personal Details – Employment History – Education. All three should be added in a short, to the point summary so your potential employer will know exactly what’s what within the first couple of seconds of looking at your CV. Essentially your CV is a document used to market you and your abilities so be sure to highlight all the positive ways in which you and your skills will benefit a business.



Let’s talk about structuring your CV:


Your CV should ideally not go over three pages. Short and sweet always works best and you won’t bore your potential employer into not even reading the whole document because of its length.



Your synopsis is there to describe what sets you apart from any other applicants. Its role is to give the employer a short and to the point description of you and everything you have to offer be it your previous experience, education and personality traits relevant to the role and the company.


General Information & Personal Details

The following general details should be included in your CV: First Name – Middle Name/s – Surname – Suburb or Residential Area (Your exact street address is not relevant here) – E-Mail Address – Contact Number (Cellphone or Landline) – An Additional Contact Number (Just in case they can’t reach you on your main number) A few extra details can also be added but aren’t imperative: Identity Number – Marital Status – Dependents – Willingness to Relocate – Disability – Driving Licence Code – Languages. The more  


CV Objective & Your Ambitions

This section will go hand-in-hand with your synopsis and its purpose will be to let your employer know what your goals and ambitions are for your career moving forward. It can be a short paragraph stating the position you are aiming for and what you see yourself doing and achieving in the future within the company. This section can either make or break your application so if you don’t feel very confident about it then rather leave it out. Also, be sure to include realistic goals so they know you are driven and serious but also not overly ambitious leading to a failure. Be sure to also state your key attributes that will help you achieve said goals.


Education on your CV

You need to include a full list of your education – secondary and tertiary if any – You can include anything from a degree to a diploma to a certificate here. When listing an element here be sure to include: Name of qualification – Institution you went through – The date you received it – The awards you achieved. Avoid adding in a long-winded list of subjects and marks unless you have a valid reason for including it. You should also include any professional licenses or memberships with the correct documentation to prove it if the employer asks.


Professional or work experience on your CV

Here you will need to list all your past job experience from the most recent and relevant onwards. You can include anything from an unpaid internship, some volunteer work to a full-time job. When listing all these you need to include whether they were an internship, a full time job or part-time work and if there are any gaps in the timeline you’ll need to be prepared to explain why. More information to include on each position is: Title of Position – Start Date – End Date – Duties & Responsibilities – Name of Company – Explain the contribution you made to the company. Also, be prepared to explain your reason for leaving each position.


A skills summary included in your CV

If it is applicable you can include a short summary of your skillset in your CV. It would be best to use keywords here rather than a lengthy paragraph one each. This section will be necessary for jobs that are in the direction of Information Technology (IT) where computer skills like using a software package or research skills are very important. 


Your extracurricular activities and interests in your CV

If you decide to add this section in the be sure to keep it short and sweet all you need to do is list the activities you do in your spare time that could potentially influence your new position in a positive way benefiting the company.   


Your references 

Be sure to first ask permission from any reference you want to add into your CV first! This way they won’t be caught off guard if your potential employer gives them a call or sends them an email. If you don’t have enough time to chat to your references first then perhaps you could just add in: ‘References available on request’ and make sure you message your chosen references in the meantime.



Things to take into consideration when putting your CV together:


Straightforward and to the point is key here – no rambling about, just the facts. Avoid using any slang or capital letters because you might end up seeming like you’re shouting at the reader.



Keep your CV simple and professional looking and avoid any frills and colours that may make it difficult to read, the point is to get information across quickly and effectively so do exactly that. Make sure your CV is easy for a reader to navigate through – Each section should be clearly marked and labelled so they know where they are and where to go next.



Plain and simple is always the safest and most effective unless of course, you’re applying for a graphic design position or an illustration position then you can show off your skills a little – keeping it classy and simple still, don’t overdo it. Steer clear of frilly borders and bright colours altogether.


Objective Review

Your CV will only be scanned through very briefly at first because of the time constraints on our every day lives – it is a proven fact that you need to grab someones attention within the first few seconds to actually keep it so if your CV is confusing and cluttered, you’ll lose them. Be sure to go through your CV with a fine-tooth comb afterwards to check for any spelling or grammatical errors.


A professional, well-written and organised CV will reap better rewards for your job search.