OPINION: Preparing your CV for the marketplace

The most important thing to remember when preparing your CV is that this is the only information a potential employer has of you and your CV plays a definitive role in this employer’s opinion and knowledge of your ability and skills.

There are several important points to consider when compiling your CV:

1. A summary at the beginning of your CV is your best selling point. Summarise who you are, your experience, your qualifications and what industries you have worked in. Try and get the employer interested from the outset, let him/her know who you are without having to read through ten pages of a CV.

2. If you have limited experience then it is good to mention school achievements and leadership roles but if you have lots of work related experience the fact that you were scholar patrol captain 20 years ago is irrelevant.

3. Keep your CV as short and powerful as you can. Relevant information is the key. Highlighting your skills is the aim.

4. Make sure you list dates, job titles, duties and reasons for leaving for every job (This seems obvious but surprisingly many job seekers leave out some of this vital information).

5. Bridge the gaps – make sure you have an explanation for any long breaks in your CV. Even if you were unemployed for a year between jobs, explain. Don’t force a potential employer to guess about missing info on your CV.

6. Explain reasons for leaving thoroughly. While it is unnecessary to give a lengthy explanation make sure you elaborate on your reasons carefully.

7. It is important to list your references and note that referees should be people you reported to directly at the company. Friends, colleagues, and your pastor are not what employers are looking for. Also make sure you provide updated, contactable phone numbers for your referees.

While there are many ways to write and present a CV always remember that useful, relevant information is the key. You have one chance to make them want to meet you, do it right.

Lyndsay Massyn is a recruitment specialist based in Westdene.


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