I have been job hunting and the competition is TOUGH! I have also have a few people ask me to help them with their CV and that’s why I decided to write this post.
Your CV is a reflection of you. So at the end of the day, as I always say, apply the advice you agree with and don’t worry about the rest. Stay true to YOU!
- Don’t use too much colour on your CV. If you want to make something stand out, rather make it bold or use italics. Adding too much colour can be off-putting.
- Use spellcheck. Every time you change something on your CV, even if you add one sentence. Better safe than sorry.
- Don’t add a ‘Next of Kin’ section. This detail they only require once you have been hired.
- Don’t put too many personal details. Instead of adding your full address, state ‘Current Location: The area you reside’. This is for security purposes. There are so many scams out there, you need to take measures to p
- State your date of birth and not your ID. Again, it’s a security issue. When I apply on a secure site (the company’s personal website), I change my CV to reflect my ID. If I am not your desirable candidate then why do you need my ID number? If I am a desirable candidate, you will make contact with and at this stage I will gladly provide you with further details.
- Whatever ‘interests’ you add to your CV, should align with the job you are applying for…mentioning your Sunday school experience will help land a child care position but doesn’t really matter to someone who’s looking for a call centre agent.
- Only provide references for your last three jobs…unless a job prior to that compliments the job you are applying for. Eg. If you’re applying for a retail position, then add previous retail experience. If you’re
applying for child care and your retail experience is 5 jobs ago…to put it bluntly, they don’t care. They only want information that proves to them that you are the best candidate for the job.
- Consistency; if your address one reference as ‘Mr Piet Pompies’ then all should address by Mr/Mrs. Don’t have one reference as ‘Mr Piet Pompies’ and another as ‘Sally’. It is best to say state a reference by Mr ‘Full name’, it shows professionalism. I am still close friends with some of my employers and, on a face to face basis, call them on their first name but on my CV they are still Mr and/or Mrs.
- Don’t send copies of your certificates or personal information (ID or driver’s license) unless requested. Keep your information safe.
- Three witnesses are enough. If you add more than that you ran the risk of your reference saying ‘I don’t remember her’. Translation to the company looking to hire you: ‘She/He never made a memorable/impression”.
- Contact your references before you start applying for jobs. By doing this you are giving them a heads-up, you are ensuring that the contact number you have is still valid, you are ensuring that your reference still remembers you and consciously or unconsciously, you are providing your reference with time to sell you to your prospective employer. Chances are, that the minute you end the call with your reference, he or she will start thinking of what they are going to say should they be contacted.
- I only recommend character witnesses if you don’t have enough work references.
- Don’t use mommy and daddy as character references. Most parents think that their child/ren are AWESOME! Think about it…do you think that and CEO or MD would put his/her mom and dad on
her/her cv? As much as your CV is a representation of who you are…it must also be a representation of who you want to become. If you have ‘friends in high places’ ask if you can use them as a reference. It would be better to have some that has ‘owner of a business’ title than to a ‘mommy/daddy’ title.
- Three references are enough. Four is kinda pushing it, but any more it just too much.
- A CV should be as short as possible but provide as much information as possible.
- Do not provide too much information up front. This may sound contradictory to my previous point but give relevant information (as per the job requirements) but leave them wanting more…enough for them to set up an interview…which is where most people will win them over. The more information you give…the more assumptions people make and this will usually work against you.
- Also take your security into consideration. Think before sending any documents. Google the company. If you’re not sure if it’s legit. Google the company, contact their HR department and ask if they advertising the position you are applying for and confirm the application process and/email address.
- Stay away from ‘decorating’ your CV and stay professional. As much as a CV is a representation of yourself, people look at how you are going to carry their brand…Discovery does not want to be seen as ‘cute’, so a CV with a teddy bear boarder is not going to land you that Personal Assistant job.
- Don’t give the hiring company too much power. (Especially mentally; don’t psych yourself out). You want them to want you, just as much as you want them. Basically…don’t be desperate. (Even if you
are, don’t show them.) Companies want people that are confident in themselves and know their worth.
- Don’t put any negative information on your CV: “I have experience with MS Office but need to update these skills required by attending short courses*” I immediately start thinking…well how bad are her
skills, how much “updating” does she need. Is this going to be a company expense…lets move onto the next candidate. Rather say I have experience with Microsoft Office. If they want to know more about how much experience, they can arrange an interview. 😉 However, if you have excellent knowledge of MS Office, mention it. (Double standard? YES and don’t feel bad about it.)
- Save your CV under your full name. Recruiters see the file name and ‘Shorty’s CV’ just won’t cut it.
- Stay away from abbreviations. State ‘Curriculum Vitae’ or ‘Résumé’ instead of ‘CV’. ‘Information’ instead of ‘info’.
I hope this helps. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments below. I would like to hear how you make your CV stand out!
The Fürst Lady