Your CV is your calling card, and it’s the first impression of you that a prospective employer will have. If you send a CV that is messy, out of date, or inaccurate in any way, you could be compromising your chances of being considered for the job. On the other hand, a well-written CV will make a good impression on the business you would like to work for, paving the way for a job interview.
The elements of a good CV
What information should a good CV contain, and how should this information be presented? At the very least, your CV needs to contain 5 basic types of information. Make sure that the following headings form part of your updated CV:
- Personal Details – these include your name, telephone number, email address, and other contact details. You can also mention your professional memberships, language skills, and other relevant information.
- Education – This should include any tertiary qualifications you have, as well as the dates of your studies. List your most recent qualifications first, since these are more relevant than your school education. If you spent time abroad in an exchange programme or took part in an internship, remember to list these activities as well.
- Core Skills – These are the special skills that you will bring to your next employer. This is the place to mention any specialised training that you have undergone during your working life.
- Work Experience – This section lists all the employers you have worked for in the past, including the dates you worked for them and your job description. But don’t go back 10 years, just the last 3 will do.
- References – You should provide a contact person for each business you have worked for in the past, and if you are a recent graduate, the name of your supervisor or a Professor who can vouch for your skills and work ethic.
Once you’ve included this basic information, don’t forget to make your CV visually appealing. Modern CVs often include colour photos and layouts that are easy to read and grab the reader’s attention. Experiment with the different CV templates on Word until you find one that suits you and seems appropriate to your industry. In our next article, we will discuss how to write a specific CV depending on your occupation.