Tips on Resume or CV Writing Skills
A focused CV is the best way to get your new potential boss to notice you. If you stand apart from the crowd with your CV, there's a good chance your new job will be just an interview away!
How do I start to write my CV?
When you look at the classifieds section of the paper, or read the jobs notice board, make sure you read the advertisement carefully. Decide what aspects of your personality, qualifications, skills and experience you can offer to this new job/career.
Write these down in a list and use strong "action words" - for example: "I am organised, efficient, and hard-working, I have managed and coordinated events and people. I studied and achieved personal and professional excellence and completed a degree in ..."
If you do not have a clear idea of the message you would like to convey (Are you a dynamic individual? Do you have years of experience in this profession? Are you someone who works well under pressure?), don’t start writing, but think again. Make sure you have at least 10 - 20 points on your list.
Remember: Be precise and critical. Don’t overdo things by presenting everything about yourself that you can think of. Nobody expects or even wants that – so don’t.
How much should I include in my CV?
A CV should be personal, but it is not a biography. Nor is it a paragraph, or even a novel, in which you tell the story of your professional life. Leave out personal information that is not relevant to the position. For example, the boss doesn't need to know whether you are married or not.
What should I say about myself?
Be truthful. By being so, you show confidence in yourself and your achievements - this is especially useful when it comes to sitting through an interview. For example, you cannot speak about your experience as a nuclear scientist if you barely passed your science matric.
A few don’ts:
- Don't lie.
- Don't exaggerate.
- Don't make promises you cannot live up to.
- Don't put in details that are not relevant to the job you are applying for (for example, what sports and hobbies you enjoy).
How do I write it all out?
- Think how you want to structure the selection you have made of relevant aspects. When summing up, use bullets.
- Phrase your CV in positive language. It helps if you write short, active sentences and avoid too many adjectives.
- Start with your best achievements that match the crucial job requirements. Don't tell the employer how they can help you, but rather point out how you can help them.
- Emphasise your business-related experience, the wider the better. If you have good working relationships with experts in the field, check with them if you may use them as your references.
- Ask for advice before sending your CV. Get someone you know in a related field to read it. Be prepared to revise your text. Check your grammar and spelling.
- Test your CV by applying for several positions, on your level, but also a bit higher up the ladder. That’s how you really get to know the market and your worth.