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Updated: Nov 29, 2021

A good CV should be simply laid out with clearly headed sections. When putting together a CV, there are numerous things to consider, however there are some key elements that are fundamental:

1. Most relevant information summarized at the start

- List your core skills that are relevant to the job you are going for

- Brief statement to let them see some of your personality

- Relevant qualifications and training

- Summary of relevant experience

Basically, you need to briefly let an employer know how you can bring value to their business. Keep it short and punchy.

2. Say as much as you can with as few words as possible

3. Avoid cluttering your CV with information that will not assist you in getting the job. For example, I saw an application last week that was for a laboring role where the first skill listed was Certificate in Health & Beauty (Cosmetology). My first response was “why is this person applying for a labouring role?”. You have to think critically when reviewing your CV. What are the first things in each section saying about you?

4. Don’t be afraid of space. Space allows information to ‘breathe’ and makes it easier for the reader to find the information that is specific to what they are looking for. People get too hung up on how many pages it is.

The rule of thumb is no more than 3-4 pages however if you are in a specialist role that has many facets and functions, then it may require 6 pages. A recruiter is not phased by the number of pages, if the content is concise and relevant.

5. Include referees in your CV as this allows a recruiter to maintain momentum in processing your application.

- Minimum of two referees

- 3-4 is ideal if in management roles

- Up to 6 is acceptable if executive role

- Include their name, position and company where you had your professional association with them, and two points of contact


Be sure to have qualified your choice of referees so they are prepared for any calls.

You may also have some referees that you need to be more select as to how many calls go through to them. A way of including them still is i.e. "Referee from [company name] available on request". This will allow you to have some control over the volume of calls they receive, while still advising you have a referee from that particular workplace. It is recommended however, that you do not overuse this option and still have readily available referees on your CV.

6. Avoid paragraph text. Bullet points define each piece of information and make it easier for the recruited to locate relevant information. Paragraph is fine for your professional statement but other than this, should be avoided

7. Do not leave ‘gaps’ in your work history. This will send off alarm bells for the recruiter. If you took time to raise a family then state this. Gaps encourage a negative response.

8. Send your CV as a PDF not as a Word document, as the formatting can change depending on the default settings on the receivers computer. The only time this rule does not apply is when applying through an agency. They require your CV in Word format.

* * *

It can be very intimidating putting a CV together and it is not frowned on to have a professional do it on your behalf. As long as it reflects who you are so that when you turn up for your interview they see how you and the CV correlate.

If you would like assistance in putting together your CV, please contact Anita at CV Success, 027 58 68 726. You will be provided with a one-off CV that is tailored to reflect you.

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