THE BIGGEST MISTAKES
Spare a thought for those who have to sift through reams of applications and keep it as concise as possible.
“CVs that are pages long and wordy are a no-no,” says Tamara Wolpert of Viv Gordon Placements in Cape Town. “The person receiving your CV is more than likely receiving multiple CVs – sometimes hundreds of them – and wants to be able to get to the relevant information as quickly as possible.”
Keep your CV to between one and three pages – the less work experience you have, the shorter it should be.
Check your spelling and your grammar, or get someone else to do it for you.
“Spelling and grammatical errors are totally unacceptable in today’s world of spellcheck,” says Alexis Kitchen of Afrizan Personnel in Johannesburg. “Mistakes like these tell employers a lot about your communication skills as well as your attention to detail.”
KEEP IT SIMPLE
A well laid-out, simple CV that’s easy to read is the best kind, Wolpert says.
“CVs with graphics everywhere sometimes detract from the information – less is more.”
The layout of your CV and the correct use of document formatting also tells potential employers about your computer literacy, Kitchen says.
In terms of format, you should begin with your most recent experience and work backwards.
Include dates on your CV – when you matriculated, graduated, your dates of employment and so on, as employers want to see how long you spent in each role, Wolpert says.
And don’t forget to list your responsibilities under your previous jobs.
“Roles with the same title often carry different responsibilities at different companies so it’s important to list these,” she says.
Never exaggerate or bend the truth about your previous jobs or qualifications.
“Recruitment involves thorough reference checks so any untruths will likely be exposed,” Kitchen says.
And even if lies aren’t exposed, overstating your abilities “could have dire consequences when you’re called to deliver in a new job, and this will mean mistrust from the outset – never a good way to start a working relationship,” she says.
Wolpert adds there could also be legal repercussions if you’re found to have been dishonest on your CV, as these lies could be considered fraudulent.