Someone once asked me what my least favourite job was as an entrepreneur…
Recently, I had advertised a job listing for an accountant to join our team at Northwood Financial Services cc. Through the advert, I’d asked the job applicants to include a number of attachments along with the CV and cover letter. Of the prerequisites and attachments received, I’d conducted an analysis of the first ten Graduates who had applied:
Within the job listing, I’d requested:
- A photograph to be attached to the CV (8 did not comply)
- Each applicant had to be registered as a Tax Practitioner (4 were not)
- The applicant had to sign off on annual financial statements (3 were not competent)
- Proof of qualifications (8 did not include these)
- Contactable references in South Africa (3 applicants offered references that were in Zimbabwe and the Central African Republic)
A further surprise came when two applicants did not follow the formal, requested application process, but had sent an email inviting me to phone them to discuss the job before they applied.
Sadly, these are the same persons who will complain that jobs are not easy to come by.
Each year, Northwood Financial Services cc accepts a number of CPUT graduates into an internship programme to prepare them for job readiness. Upon closer inspection of the number of CVs received, I’d noticed that four CVs were identical. All four applicants had the same passion for sports, the same interests and personality traits, and even had the same mobile numbers. Only the applicant’s names were different on the cover sheet.
I was so intrigued by this that I contacted the lecturer, and discovered the reason for the identical CVs. In preparing his students for the working world, the lecturer had given his class a template of an already existing CV and explained the standard outline and format that they should follow when compiling their own. Instead, a number of his students had copied the template, word for word, and applied for jobs all using the same content.
I once had an application from a ballet teacher who was so tired of teaching that she decided on a career change and wanted an administrators job as she collected the fees every week at her school.
What to do when constructing your unique CV:
- When applying for jobs, keep in mind that the business owners, CEOs or HR/admin managers will receive a vast number of CVs in application. Make sure that your CV stands out in order to attract their attention.
- Make sure to include a clear, well-styled photograph of yourself on the cover page. Avoid using images of yourself that have shadows across your face, and remember to smile.
- Lay out your CV well and make sure that the information presented can be read easily.
- Remember to spell check!
- It is encouraged to include a number of personal interests and passions within your CV, but make sure not to overuse the word ‘passion’.
- Finally, offer a bit of an explanation when listing your personal strengths. For example, don’t simply state that you are ‘a team player that can work well under supervision’, instead, tell your future employer why you believe you possess these qualities and how it will benefit the peers in your future job role.