how to write a good cv

How to write a successful CV

There comes a day when we are ready to embark on a new job opportunity, this means that it’s time to dust those cobwebs off our CV’s and breathe new life into it. For many, this can seem like a daunting task where it comes with its own set of challenges, but with the right tips, you will be an expert.

We all know that it’s imperative to have good references and relevant work experience when applying for a job — but it doesn’t always guarantee a chance at an interview. It doesn’t mean that you are unqualified or that you lack the necessary skills for that role, even though you might be left with feeling that way— which is not a great motivator! If you have sent hundreds of applications with no callbacks to show for it, it could have something to do with the quality of your CV. Here are some helpful tips on how to create a successful CV to help get your foot in the door with a prospective employer.

The fundamentals

The most common way of beginning a CV or giving it a much-needed reboot is by starting off with the fundamental aspects, this includes a brief summary about yourself, education, skills, experience and your contact information. Ideally your resume should be maximum of two A4 sized pages never longer than that and do not put a picture on your CV, in some countries you have to but if not better you don’t put photo and your summary should be very short maximum four to five sentences — remember always to update your phone number otherwise it would be a lost opportunity, relevant work experience and skills, achievements and awards, and always try to include at least two references who can verify your achievements within the company. It’s always courteous to ask former employers if it’s OK to use them as references in your CV.

The specifics

Now that the fundamentals have been ticked off the list let’s move onto the specifics. It’s crucial to tailor your CV to the job’s description. Remember you only have seconds to make an impression on your employer and to persuade them to call you in for an interview — use information wisely so that it works to your advantage. Always include information in your CV that corresponds to the job you are applying for.

It’s of utmost importance that you read the job’s criteria as this will give you a good indication of the type of information you should include in your CV. By aligning your experiences and skills with the role and job criteria, you are boosting your chances of scoring an interview.

It can prove valuable to talk about achievements and contributions that you’ve made towards making a project a success. This demonstrates to the employer that you’re a proactive individual with a flair for initiative. It doesn’t have to be a big corporate success for it to have merit, any achievement big or small should be included in your CV.

Presentation is essential

Just think of a CV as an extension of yourself. It’s recommended that you keep all your information condensed to two pages — it’s more appealing for an employer and it should tell your story at a glance. Most employers won’t spend a lot of time reviewing CV’s especially those that feel like manuscripts, so keep it concise. It’s critical that you capture the employer’s interest within the first few seconds, if nothing stands out for the employer in this short time frame your CV may end up in the bin — so use information that counts.

Always use white A4 paper and keep the font at the about 12 pt in black for ease of reading — you don’t want the employer to disregard your CV because it was too hard to read. It’s important to remember that some employers can receive hundreds of CV’s, so keep it clean and to the point.

Positive language

When outlining your responsibilities and skills in your CV, the use of positive language can have a huge impact in determining your chances of obtaining an interview. Using words such as performed, collaborated, specialized and dedicated oozes confidence, your capability of working within a team, and it will indicate that you have a strong understanding of the roles you have previously performed.

Last but not least, make sure to always keep your CV updated, this will prepare you for any future job applications.