Author: Elizabeth Kgabane
A lot of heads are coming together to fight unemployment in SA, to combat the high unemployment rate that has crippled our nation. This year looks promising with news of the rand growing stronger surfacing more often. This means some release of stress in our economic journey. Focusing back on our job seeking strategies, there are now more tools and insights readily available for job-seekers online and on social media to make it easier for job-seekers to access all necessary information regarding job seeking and applying for jobs. This year we will look at various aspects of job seeking and the work place in our upcoming blogs. And this week we will start with one of the common challenges in job hunting, which is a professional curriculum vitae that highlights all the necessary information in an easily understandable format. While there are a number of free templates online it may be a bit challenging to know which one will work best. We speak to founder and director of DIYMYCV, Angie Le Roux. Angie needs little introduction as she is well known for her work in the recruitment industry. As a leader, she is one of the few who have revolutionised fluency of accessing information about this industry. Angie, has assisted hundreds of job seekers profile themselves professionally and ensured that they are matched with the best possible employer. Angie unpacks tips you may follow to prepare your professional CV.
Q: Please introduce yourself and tell us what you do.
Angie: I am a natural born problem solver, a caregiver and mother to anyone who needs it. I consider myself a protector of those who cannot protect themselves. I am all heart and am absolutely passionate about helping others.
With very few educational options and no one to mentor or guide me when I was younger, it took me a very long time to find a career where I could make the difference I so longed to make in the world.
After 9 years in recruitment, I found that so many job-seekers didn’t have the tools to be able to effectively market themselves to secure employment and from this DIYMYCV was born.
Using my experience from recruitment and extensive research, I design C.V. templates, processes and services that are vital for job-seekers to use when securing for a new job.
Q: what are the do’s and don’ts in a CV?
Angie: There are so many it will be difficult to list them all, here are some of the ones that stand out the most to us:
- Be honest, lying on your c.v. is considered fraud
- Make yourself stand out, make an effort to market yourself
- Include all information about your education, skills and experience
- Keep your CV up to date, you never know when you are going to need it
- Keep your CV professional, keep information relevant to what a potential employer will want to know
- Type your entire CV in capital letters, it is unprofessional and looks lazy
- Put your current company on your CV as a reference if they do not know you are looking for a job or already left their employment
- Use photo’s that are not professional looking, check what is in the background and consider how it will be viewed by the Hiring Manager
- Scan your CV. Databases can’t read scanned documents as they see them as an image. This may cause you to lose out on opportunities
- Use outdated fonts, boarders and images
Q: Where is the best place to start when compiling a CV?
Angie: The first thing you need to do is ensure that the wording you are using is positive and is keyword search optimised.
As we live in the age of technology, CV’s are stored in searchable databases to make it simpler for Hiring Managers and Recruiters to find Job-Seekers that match their requirements. It is therefore important to ensure that you include words throughout your CV that could potentially be used during the search process. For example, if you are a Bookkeeper instead of Bookkeeping to TB, use “Bookkeeper to Trial Balance”.
Take the time to carefully go through your CV and optimise it for keyword searching.
Follow the industry standard flow of information:
- Personal summary
- Personal Details
Additional information such as a skills matrix, would become an appendix. Ensure that you make reference to it in your personal summary or within your skills overview.
Remember, you are giving the reader the very first introduction of yourself before they have even heard your voice, you need to market yourself effectively, the content is therefore vitally important. Take time to build your CV, it’s not something that should just be thrown together.
Q: Can one source a template and how do you know if it will be suitable?
Angie: Yes, there are thousands of CV’s templates available on the internet, a basic search will provide you with many options both for free and ones you would need to purchase. The problem that we have found is that they are not laid out to include information relevant to the South African market and the flow of information is formatted differently to what is expected here.
Should you decide to go with one of these options it is important for you to do sufficient research to ensure that the information required, is included and that the look and feel of the CV makes you stand out above the crowd.
Q: Do CV structure requirements differ depending on the industries?
Angie: All CV’s require a set base of detail, following an industry accepted structured flow of information, as mentioned earlier. More technical roles, for example, Information Technology CV’s, will need to include a skills matrix in addition to the standard structure, where Engineers could include an appendix for projects.
Q: How important is it to include all of one’s employment history in a CV?
Angie: It is very important, if you change anything on your career history you are either going to leave gaps or need to change employment dates to “close those gaps”.
Unexplained gaps in your C.V. could provide the Hiring Manager with the wrong impression and changing dates is considered as fraud.
Our rule of thumb is to provide details for the last 5 – 10 years’ experience and highlight all previous experience by excluding duties from the detail.
Q: Should additional documents including academic records be included only when the job specification indicates so?
Angie: Correct, only send what is requested on the job specification, a basic instruction has been given to follow for the application if you are unable to follow a basic instruction how will you deal with more complex ones once hired?
Q: How important is the privacy disclaimer on the CV?
Angie: Any Hiring Manager or Recruiter is well aware of the consequences of sharing private information without permission of the owner and therefore the privacy disclaimer is not really required. In addition, if the job-seeker has applied for a job that is a scam the disclaimer is not going to make a difference anyway.
In order to protect your information, you need to be aware of the information you are providing on the CV, for example instead of an ID Number, use your date of birth and instead of your full physical address, use only your residential area.
Research companies before sending your CV to lower the risk of your information being shared without your permission.
Q: Lastly, please kindly share some advise with the job-seekers?
Angie: You have to make an effort when it comes to finding a job, set aside time to pay attention to it and only do that during that time. Keep improving, growing and learning about how to equip yourself to get you that one step closer to being employed.
You are a brand, market yourself, effectively.
No doubt, a good CV is the key to improve your chances of landing a job interview or presenting you well, where you are using it. The Goal Chasers at DIYMYCV offers a range of services that assists individuals to market themselves effectively, learn more on how they can assist you here.