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Gone In 8.8 Seconds: How To Save Your First CV From The Recycle Bin

CV Tips

You spent hours crafting your first CV, showcasing your school years, qualifications and experience, but employers don’t even give it 9 seconds of attention before moving on to the next one.

CRAFT AN INDUSTRY-SPECIFIC CV

An application for a position in finance will look very different to an application for a position in advertising, Ntshinga says. “As always, Google is your friend. Do an image search for CV examples in your industry, and demonstrate that you are in touch with the culture and approach to business in your chosen sector.”

SHOWCASE NOT ONLY COMPETENCE, BUT ALSO CHARACTER

Demonstrate that the employer can trust you and that you are a perfect fit for the position.

Show, don’t tell.

Raise relevant examples from you student or school career to prove your value in addition to providing qualifications details.

KEEP IT SHORT AND TO THE POINT

Less is certainly not more.

Give yourself 9 seconds to scan your CV.

Do your main selling points jump out at you?

Is it clear from a first glance that you are suitably qualified for the position?

Gone are the days when CVs stretched over numerous pages with personal details filling the first two.

In 2017, the very first page (and there should be no more than two), has to give an employer a solid, positive overview of who you are and what you have achieved.

FOCUS ON FACTS AND FIGURES

When demonstrating your experience, don’t just speak in general terms.

Use facts and figures to prove what you have done.

For instance, if you gained work experience or interned during your student years (which ideally you should have done), don’t just say “Worked for Company Y” or “Was involved in Project X”. Instead, say: “Company Y: Production coordinator on R5 million project with responsibility for a, b and c”.

Ntshinga says all CVs, regardless of whether they are from first-time jobseekers or experienced professionals, should demonstrate that the applicant understands the position and business of the prospective employer, which means generic CVs are out of the question.

“Each CV must be tailored to the position being applied for. While this does take time and effort, a generic CV will not take you anywhere. Looking for work should be treated as work in itself, so make the investment.”

Ntshinga says that another way to highlight oneself as a candidate, is to demonstrate a commitment to lifelong learning.

“Show that you are proficient in the latest software required in the position you are applying for. Don’t just list your existing qualifications, but also indicate if you are enrolled in any short courses or programmes to expand your skills.”

And finally, a short, well-crafted cover or introductory letter should round off the application.

“This is an opportunity to let the hiring manager get to know you – so make sure the letter is concise but contains personality, and make extra sure that there are no spelling and grammatical errors,” he says.

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