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Make a CV That Jumps the Queue

If you’re still sending out the same CV you pulled together after matric, here’s how to get on your a-game.

Jobs are hard to come by and competition is fierce. Bosses have a few minutes to make the decision on whether your CV gets put into the ‘call her for an interview’ pile, or gets binned. But relax, because we’ve got the how-to, to make sure your CV makes it to the top of the pile.

Make it easy to look at.

Your CV should be short, simple and completely fact-based. And need we say it: skip the fancy fonts and wild colours.

Also, don’t be tempted to add personal feelings about your roles. While you should definitely highlight what your major achievements were in each job, suggesting that ‘I just didn’t enjoy my manager’s attitude’ probably shouldn’t make it to print.

Use your spell-check.

It should go without saying, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t spend three minutes to check spelling is correct. Take it one step further and triple check the spelling of people’s names – especially the person you’re addressing your application to.

Don’t apply for something you’re not qualified for.

It’s tempting to apply for the MD’s role when you’ve only been in a junior position for a few months, but just don’t. At best, your CV will get thrown in the trash. At worst, your name will be remembered as the person who wasted the interview panel’s time.

Be thorough.

Potential employers don’t need to know that you really loved drama class in high school (particularly if the role you’re applying for is at a bank) – but they do need to know your employment history. Sure, your job at Spur while you were studying for your degree may not seem important, but holding down a part-time job while keeping up your university studies shows that you can prioritise your time and deliver on your responsibilities. The trick is to only list the older roles, but expand on the more recent, more relevant ones.

To include a photo, or not to include a photo…

Including your photo on your CV just because you were having a really good hair day that day isn’t really a good enough reason. While you should ideally be judged on your skills and ability rather than your physical attributes, sometimes roles in hospitality or on an airline, do take personal appearance into account.

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