So you have completed your studies, and now you want to move on to the next step in your life – getting a job.
Before you can get a job, however, you will need to write up your CV.
A CV provides prospective employers with all the information they need about possible candidates for the job. This includes personal details, education, as well as previous work experience.
It is very important that your CV looks good, because this is the first impression that an employer gets of you. Think of it as a shop window – if at first glance you see a disorganised, messy shop, will you want to go inside? Unlikely! You will walk right past and go into the next shop that catches your eye.
It is the same with your CV – if an employer is not impressed by your CV, they will simply toss it aside, and move on to the next one. This sounds harsh, but it is a reality – which is why you need to make sure that your CV stands out from the rest of the applicants’.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when writing your CV:
Keep your CV to the point.
Studies have shown that, on average, employers spend about 8 seconds scanning through a CV. So make sure you keep it brief. If employers are overwhelmed by an unnecessary overload of information, they will most likely move on to the next applicant’s CV.
Include a personal introduction.
It is helpful to start off your CV with a personal introduction, stating why you think you are ideal for the position that you are applying for. You can communicate what makes you unique, and how you would be an asset for the company. Remember, however, to be modest about it – being too boastful does not create a good impression.
Take time to improve the layout of your CV.
A carefully laid out CV makes for easy reading. Remember to include headings for each section, put main headings in bold, and leave spaces between different sections so that the person reading your CV can easily scan through your CV. Using bullet points also makes for easy and digestible reading.
Check (and re-check!) for spelling and grammar errors.
Even if you are not applying for a job that requires impeccable language skills, CVs that contain spelling and grammar errors will still often get tossed aside. If you cannot take the time and effort to check for mistakes in your CV, it creates the impression that you do not take pride in your work – and why would an employer want to employ someone like that? It is a good idea to get someone to read through your CV before you submit it, because it is easy to overlook our own errors.
Modify your CV for each job that you apply for.
Don’t simply use the same CV for each job application. Tailor it so that it is suited for the specific job that you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a secretarial job, you should put more emphasis on your secretarial and office-related qualifications and experience, as opposed to your waitering/waitressing experience. The employer will be more interested in job-related education and experience, so make sure that you don’t put the focus on the wrong information.
Your CV is the gateway to getting a job – so don’t be afraid to ask others for help. There are also various websites that provide examples of CVs that you can use as a guide.
All the best!