The Importance of a well written and designed CV

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The Importance of a well written and designed CV

In the Job Market?  Your CV is your most valuable tool to get to Job Interview stage.

Most people will only ever think about their Curriculum Vitae (CV) when they are looking for a job. It’s obviously pretty important in those circumstances, but it needs to live and breathe between roles to ensure it’s always up-to-date and reflects the best possible version of you at all times. 

The term “curriculum vitae” is Latin for “the story of your life“, so your CV, or resumé, should be a fundamental document in your professional arsenal. When applying for work, it can literally be a sliding door, the difference between your life going one way or another. It’s a story that stars you alone and needs to be shown in the best possible light.

A good CV is clear, concise, and makes every point necessary without waffling. You do not need pages and pages of paper – keep things short and sweet. A CV is a reassurance to a potential employer, it’s a chance to tick the right boxes and gives you the chance of getting an interview secured.

Your cv should ideally include the following sections: Contact Information, Education, Skills, Career History, References. Good additional sections to include are Certifications, Associations, Languages, Extra Training and Courses, Conferences, Publications, and Awards.

In brief, there are a few golden rules to follow when writing or updating your CV:

  • Make your contact details clear, particularly your email address and phone number.
  • Always list your career history in reverse chronological order (most recent first).
  • Add your reasons for leaving and try steering clear of a simple Career Growth as a reason, unless it is a move within the same company.
  • Use bullet points instead of long-winded sentences.
  • Make sure your key skills are clear, easily understandable, and stand out.
  • Avoid unnecessary personal details and make sure your content is professional, for example an e-mail address is not the one you have had since you were a teenager – super_hot_cool_gal@yahoo isn’t going to look great when you are in your 40s, however true it might be.

Five Things You Should Focus on before you build your CV

Here are a few other things that carry weight in the application and interview process, that can get your thoughts going before you put “pen on paper”:

In-depth Knowledge of the Company

If you have not researched the company you are interviewing with, how do you know you even want the job?

Many applicants take a cursory look at their potential employer’s website when applying, but this is nowhere near enough research to impress and stand out from other applicants. You need to understand what goes on within the business in order to see where you fit. Understanding its culture and how you might solve some of its problems will help you to highlight your relevant skills and ace your interview.

A Professional Online Presence

Personal branding is more important than ever when job hunting and much of this happens online.  Crucially, you need to carefully curate your online presence to create a good impression.

It is advisable to edit all your public profiles to make them look more professional. A well-thought-out LinkedIn profile takes a little more work but will give you the edge over other candidates. Depending on your niche, you could also consider an online portfolio or a blog to demonstrate your expertise.

Extra-Curricular Activities

Prospective employers want to get a good idea of you as a person, not just your qualifications on paper. Use your application, and indeed your CV, to demonstrate your interests, hobbies, and personal goals. When they inevitably ask you to “tell us about yourself” give interviewers something to distinguish you from other applicants. Be remembered as “the one who coaches kids at the soccer club” or “the one who writes the tech blogs”.

Great Interview Technique

If you have charisma and confidence combined with a good understanding of the job, you can really wow at an interview! Preparation is key when it comes to interviewing. However, you also need to be able to back up whatever claims you make on paper with examples that bring your work experience to life, so keep it real. Do a lot of Research and Preparation on your role, industry, and if you have a specific position in mind, on the company. Try to keep the tone friendly and open. RELAX and be yourself!

Confidence

There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance. Knowing how to come across as self-assured and capable is something that requires a lot of practice. Being consistent in every part of your application – from a covering letter, a motivational e-mail with the application, or any other supporting documents to interview, will help convey this message.  And it goes without saying, look the part.  Make sure your dress code is suitable to the company culture while keeping your personal flair.

To succeed in today’s job market, you have to think of your CV as and advertisement targeted towards your future boss.

Whether it’s your first job, a completely new career path, or a promotion within the same organization, your CV is the chance you have to make a good impression. It is the thing that has to set you apart in the minds of the recruiter or employer, based purely on the words on the page they have in front of them. The importance of a well-written CV cannot be underestimated. It’s going to be the difference between it landing on the ‘interview’ pile or ‘thanks-but-no-thanks’ pile. A top-quality CV will considerably boost your chance of getting a face-to-face interview, so it is worth spending time and effort on the content and presentation.

Just for laughs

As you can imagine, here at Staff Smart we have seen thousands of CVs over the years.  Most CVs are well laid out and give us enough information to decide whether that person is suitable for a role or not.  However, you can always hear a chuckle when a consultant opens a CV that contains something out of the ordinary.

From an amusing email address, an entertaining “corporate photo” to ridiculous hobbies, we have compiled a list of a few favorites.  As these are real-life examples we have hidden the names to protect the innocent and the spelling mistakes have all been left in, so don’t blame us!

  1. HOBBIES  “donating blood – 12 litres so far.”
  2. KEY SKILLS  “Quick lerner, good at mats amd speling”
  3. KEY ACHIEVEMENTS – “Oversight of entire department.”
  4. EDUCATION –  “University: August 1890 to May 1993”
  5. EMAIL ADDRESS – homeboy@……
  6. KEY SKILLS – “I have extensive experience with foreign accents.”
  7. QUALIFICATIONS – “Here are my qualifications for you to overlook.”
  8. COVER LETTER – “Please disregard the attached CV; it’s totally outdated”
  9. REASON FOR LEAVING – “After receiving advice from several different angels, I have decided to pursue a new line of work.”
  10. HOBBIES – “painting my toenails in varying colours”

😊

Sooo… on that note, if you need help creating a solid, effective CV and improving your interview technique, why not contact Staff Smart Placements? We can help you fine-tune your job-application skills and give you a greater chance of success when applying for your dream job.

Make sure you give yourself every possible chance to stay in the game and create a CV that reflects you in the best light you can.

Thank you for reading our article. If you would like to find out more about CVs, need help writing your CV, or if you are a business owner or HR professional in need of assistance in placing legendary staff, you are welcome to contact me on joanne@staffsmart.co.za or alternatively visit www.staffsmart.co.za.