Looking for a job – any job, never mind one that you’re passionate about – is tough when unemployment hovers at about 27% in South Africa. Don’t let your CV slide into style-over-substance territory, says Anja van Beek, HR director for Sage VIP and chief people officer for Sage AAMEA – and DEFINITELY don’t ever…
1 Overshare irrelevant personal info
Recruiters and employers get hundreds of CVs for every job they advertise. Do everyone a favour and skip the TMI: focus on the skills and experience that will make you stand out from the pile. Sure, potential employers want to get an idea of who you are – but they don’t need to know every hobby and interest you’ve ever had, and they certainly don’t need to know about your religion or politics.
This doesn’t just apply to your CV, so watch what you say online. You will get googled and you will get judged on your social-media presence. It’s the way the world rolls in 2015.
Related: COSMO’s Career Audit
2 Bend the truth – or outright lie
Yes, you want to look good, and you want to paint your achievements in the best light. That doesn’t mean you get to make up stories! Don’t claim to have qualifications you don’t actually have, don’t inflate your job title or salary in the hope of sounding more important than you are, and don’t lie about your previous achievements. Again, the online rule applies: everyone knows how to google, and with high-profile people making headlines for lying about their qualifications, everyone is being extra careful about screening candidates.
3 Use crappy grammar and incorrect spelling
This isn’t Twitter or the News24 comments section: it’s a professional document aimed at educated business people who know when to buy a vowel. They want nothing more than to simplify the task of finding the right candidate for a job – and because they’ll assume you’re lazy or incompetent if your CV is full of typos, they’ll bin it faster than you can type LOL. Check cover letters and formatting carefully, and if finicky details are not your thing, ask a friend or family member to proofread. Then start making finicky details your thing.
4 Leave gaps in your employment history
Unexplained holes make people nervous. If you took a gap year off to travel, were ill for a long spell or took time off to study more, explain this upfront. Don’t let their imagination drift down the rehab or prison route – it’ll get your application deleted.
Related: What to Do After Graduation
5 Outline your salary expectations
Nothing good can come from this. If your number is too low, the employer may wonder whether you’re under-qualified, or you might weaken your chances of negotiating a decent package. If the number’s too high, your application won’t even make the shortlist – and you won’t get the chance to justify your cost to the company in person. Let them raise the salary issue during an interview.