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How to write a CV

Posted by | 2014-02-10 | Interview Tips

What is a CV?

Curriculum Vitae: an outline of a person’s educational and professional history.
A CV is the most flexible and convenient way to make applications.
A CV is a marketing document.
There is no “one best way” to construct a CV.

What information should a CV include?

Personal details
Normally these would be your name, address, date of birth telephone number and email.

Education and qualifications
Your degree subject and university.

Work experience

  • Use action words such as developed, planned and organised.
  • Even bar or restaurant will involve working in a team, providing a quality service to customers, and dealing tactfully with complaints. Don’t mention the routine, non-people tasks(cleaning the tables) unless you are applying for a casual summer job in a restaurant or similar.
  • Try to relate the skills to the job. A finance job will involve numeracy, analytical and problem solving skills so focus on these whereas for a marketing role you would place a bit more more emphasis on persuading and negotiating skills.
  • All of my work experiences have involved working within a team-based culture. This involved planning, organisation, coordination and commitment e.g., in retail, this ensured daily sales targets were met, a fair distribution of tasks and effective communication amongst all staff members.

Achievements
Keep this section short and to the point.

Skills
The usual ones to mention are languages (good conversational English, basic Afrikaans), computing (e.g. “good working knowledge of MS Access and Excel, Protel, Fidelio, Galileo etc, plus basic web page design skills” and driving (“full current clean driving licence”).

References
Many employers don’t check references at the application stage so unless the vacancy specifically requests referees it’s fine to omit this section completely if you are running short of space or to say “References are available on request.”

How long should a CV be?

2 – 3 pages

If you can summarise your career history comfortably on a single side, this is fine and has advantages when you are making speculative applications and need to put yourself across concisely. However, you should not leave out important items, or crowd your text too closely together in order to fit it onto that single side.

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