The best ways to present your CV
by Lindsay Ann Grubb
Did you know that you have about six to ten seconds to grab a recruiter’s attention before they close your CV and move on to the next candidate? This means your CV must be clear to read, not overly designed and must contain relevant information only.
Word-based CVs are still relevant
Most corporates want a concise MS Word-based CV (a maximum of two pages). Many advertise vacancies on their websites, and on sites such as LinkedIn and Careers24.
Make sure you have a LinkedIn profile and that you start following companies for whom you are interested in working. A few of them will still accept speculative applications via email, but not a lot do that anymore.
An HR manager of a large multinational recently explained: “The most effective application we received last year was from a graduate who outlined his successes in his studies, his passion for the projects he’s been involved in while studying, and where he thought his experience would fit in the company’s operations. His CV showed that he’d thought about his skill set, researched our organisation, and had a plan.” He started working for them in January.
Today, most companies in South Africa, especially the larger corporates, still make use of Applicant Tracking Systems to manage applications they receive from internal and external candidates.
In this instance, a document saved in a text format is what they need to process the application. Your CV will likely be saved onto a database, and is searchable by keywords. This means you need to research key words relevant to your field of interest and use them to draw attention to your skill set in your CV.
In any creative industry, recruiters will want to see your portfolio. There are a number of free sites online where you can set up a stunning showcase of your work, such as https://www.portfoliobox.net or https://crevado.com. Include the link to your portfolio in your CV and covering letter.
What else is trending for 2017?
Infographics appear popular and can work in the right industry, such as social media and creative design industries. Many freelancers use them on their websites to show their abilities. Infographics won’t be any help when applying on company websites though.
The general consensus with video CVs is that unless you’re an actor or a singer, stay away. While a few have made their mark this way, there are many more who have hurt their chances.
Another way to create an impact is to try adding more white space to your CV, and to use call-out boxes or breakaway text to highlight your achievements as they will catch the reader’s eye. You can also use metrics to show your achievements and a branding statement as a header to show your top strengths.
Outline where you think your experiences will fit in the company’s operations.
- Get the basics right
- Presentation is key
- No more than two A4 pages
- Understand the job description
- Tailor the CV to the role
- Present your skills
- Present your interests
- Explain your experience
- Include references
- Keep your CV up to date
Give more to others than you give to yourself; be humble, be accessible, and be resilient. Also, have a purpose that is larger than your job.
The Guardian: https://www.theguardian. com/culture-professionals-network/culture-professionals-blog/2012/mar/15/cv-tips-first-arts-job