Simple guidelines on developing the best possible CV


It was recently reported that South Africa’s National Qualifications Amendment Bill is going to be signed into law imminently, and that this could mean jail time for those fabricating qualifications on their CV’s. In light of this, ManpowerGroup South Africa’s managing director, Lyndy van den Barselaar, looks at how to develop the best possible CV for the modern business environment.

In a competitive job market, your CV acts as your first impression to potential employers, and is often the way employers decide on whether or not to see you for an interview,” she explains. “Of course, it is imperative to have a comprehensive, up to date and truthful list of your qualifications, experience and skills; however, in today’s environment, it’s important for your CV to stand out from the crowd too.”

Van den Barselaar provides the following tips:

Don’t be afraid of digital

As the world moves toward a more digitally driven future, it may be a good idea to develop a version of your CV in a digital format such as a video or a visual CV filled with graphics, depending on the type of position you’re applying for; for example, graphic designers, web developers or videographers. “There are many online tools that can assist with creating more digitally creative CVs,” explains van den Barselaar.

Sync Your CV with your online profiles

Presenting a consistent professional image by synchronising your resume and your online profiles. “Many employers will check your social media profiles, which can include a much fuller picture of who you are professionally,” explains van den Barselaar. By completing your online profiles, such as LinkedIn, to include your job history and samples of your work, you can show potential employers that you understand modern technology.

Use words from the job description

Using the same language as the employer has used in their job ad or description will help you to impress. Read the job description carefully, and when you describe duties and achievements at previous jobs, use the words you find in the job description to show that you have the requisite experience.

Make it reader-friendly

Chances are that HR or hiring managers spend a lot of time online reading blogs, website content, and other online copy that is easy to scan. Make your CV reader friendly and “scannable” by incorporating bullet points, lots of white space, subheads, and other visual features.

Get to the point

Further to the above point, there is some information that can certainly be left out of your CV. “There is no need to include things like your age, home ownership status, political affiliation, or marriage status on your CV. Leave the finer details for the interview, and focus on having clear information about your career objectives, experience and skills instead,” says van den Barselaar.

Pay attention to small details

There are some details that may seem small, but make a big impression. For example, van den Barselaar suggests using a professional email address. “Listing an email address like [email protected], for example, doesn’t necessarily create a good first impression on the person reviewing your CV,” she says.

“Another common mistake is not putting experience or education in chronological order. This is important in terms of making the CV easy to understand for the reader,” notes van den Barselaar.

“In conclusion, besides being truthful about your experience, qualification and skills, there are simple and easy changes you can make to ensure your CV is of the highest quality,” she says.