Reasons to partner with Futurelink

Futurelink has over twenty years’ experience helping organisations and their staff prosper through temporary and permanent staffing solutions. By investing in the long-term success of your organisation and the staff that support it, we provide Specialised Outsourcing Services for a wide range of operational requirement.

What makes Futurelink different?

Futurelink aims to foster change. Not only for the lives of our clients and their organisations, but our candidates.

Arguably the strongest and most influential resource an organisation has at its disposal is its employees. Human capital is vital not only for company growth but the sustainability of an organisation.

We define our business by the people we serve. As an organisation, Futurelink firmly believe we can effectively contribute towards sustainable growth for our economy and our nation. We are determined to help decrease South Africa’s unemployment, which currently sits at 32,6% according to StatsSA.

As a team, we are driven by our purpose/our why: –

  • To create and foster opportunities for both employer and employee
  • To give back to the community
  • To help as best we can
  • To change the lives of those we make connections with
  • To consistently add value with the services we provide

Futurelink’s core values

Our core values are simple but powerful. We strive to make a difference. We value integrity and innovation. And above all else we work towards unity.

What value will Futurelink add to your business?

  • Time to focus on your core business function — whilst we find you the best candidate for your company.
  • Cost-savings for your business — fair service rates, without compromising on service or quality.
  • Service you can rely on — we always deliver, on time and in full.
  • Ease of access – a one-stop resource — all your HR/IR needs are covered with Futurelink.
  • Less risk — thorough screening, in-depth interviews, proper referencing, background checks.
  • Protection with a guarantee — 3-month guarantee on all placements.

Graduate Programme

As discussed in our last blog post, “Bridging the employment gap” by Melinda Cookson (https://futurelink.co.za/bridging-the-employment-divide/) our Pro Bono Graduate Programme was started by our Director, Natalie Harvey.

It aims to introduce worthy graduate candidates with no experience to great employers. In the first quarter of 2021 our Youth Unemployment rate hit a record high of 46,3% (http://www.statssa.gov.za/?p=14415). By bridging the gap between inexperienced graduates and employers we hope to make a small difference in the economy, the lives of our graduates and clients. We value South Africa’s youth and take pride in assisting them with their first step on the ladder.

Why Futurelink?

Our proven track record of exceptional service and consistently placing quality candidates in gainful employment has helped us foster long-term relationships with both the companies we serve and the candidates we place.

Hands-on and always a phone call away, we prefer to see ourselves as an extension of the companies we work with and are confident in our ability to help you achieve new heights through a range of relevant and specialised services.

Bridging the employment divide

Futurelink is featured in the latest issue of the Top Business Sense Publication with the following article written by our CEO, Melinda Cookson.

Many companies in South Africa continue to trade out of a hard lockdown implemented in March 2020. As a national staffing company at the coal face of placing people into a variety of positions within various sectors of the South African economy, key roles continue to be filled with experienced and skilled people. Whilst some companies continue to offer graduates entry level positions as part of their learnership programmes, so much more still needs to be done in this area.

The burden of unemployment is also concentrated amongst the youth as they account for 59.5% of the total number of unemployed persons of which graduates unemployment rate was 40.3%. Some of these young people have become discouraged from participating in the labour market and they are also not building on their skills base through education and training – they are not in employment, education or training (NEET), (According to: Quarterly Labour Force Survey of 2021).

Probono Graduate Programme

In the midst of 2020, Futurelink embarked on an initiative to bridge the gap between graduates and industry. Our goal was to help this country’s graduates find a foot hold in the employment arena to give them valuable practical experience within their specific area of learning and to simultaneously offer industry access to a resource of interviewed, highly capable, resilient, and intelligent young graduates without having to pay exorbitant salaries. Futurelink is offering this service to industry for FREE. The clients we have partnered with have found the investment of their time in upskilling and developing these graduates a worthy investment.

Some of our amazing graduates

Todani Ramaru
BTech; Industrial Engineering

Lonwabo Mbovu
Btech; Electrical Engineering

Ayanda Bhengu
BTech; Marketing

Nonjabulo Shandu
BsocSci; Industrial and Organisational Psychology

For more information on our Pro Bono Graduate Programme please email: Graduate@futurelink.co.za

Applicant Tracking System: How to create an ATS friendly CV

Finding a job has become increasingly difficult, with more large companies making use of Application Tracking Systems. Whilst the system has helped companies and recruiters, in terms of narrowing down their searches and finding ‘more suitable’ applicants, it has meant a more stringent selection process for candidates – getting your CV into the hands of a hiring manager has never been harder.

What is the Application Tracking System?

“Applicant tracking system (ATS) software is a centralized tool where human resources teams can manage candidate sourcing, evaluation, and hiring. Companies can track each part of the application and hiring process in the tool—from start to finish.” https://technologyadvice.com/applicant-tracking-systems/.

Why do companies use ATS?

ATS is an invaluable tool for companies and recruiters who receive hundreds of CVs a day. ATS allows companies and recruiters to filter through all those CVs without spending hours doing so. By the time human eyes see the filtered CVs, only the ‘qualified’ are left.

What’s wrong with ATS?

As with all software, it’s not a perfect method. Unless you understand the complexities behind the software, it’s difficult to know how it works and how to beat it. On some occasions, a person may meet the requirements for the position but the ATS system has not shortlisted him/her for one reason or another. One of the major reasons for this is CV formatting and missing keywords!

How does ATS filter CV’s?

ATS scans trough CVs and picks up certain words. If you don’t have those specific words you won’t be shortlisted. At the end of the day it’s all about the ATS algorithm and how to optimise it. 

What should I do to make my CV ATS friendly?

Format

  • ATS is looking out for words so pictures, graphs and infographics aren’t picked up and can sometimes confuse the software. There’s no need to add these extras.
  • The simpler the better. There is no need for fancy boarders or texts.
  • The document format also matters. Read the job advert carefully before sending your CV. Most will specify what format to send it in but if not, your safest option would be sending it as a PDF or Word document.
  • For text use Arial, Calibri or Times New Roman.

Content

  • KEYWORDS! KEYWORDS! KEYWORDS! Keywords are of the upmost importance! When writing your duties try including as many as you can. The more you’ve written the better chance you have that the software will pick up a particular phrase or word. And the best part is the recruiter, most often, has provided you with those keywords already! Your secret weapon is the job advert. Use the words and phrases that appear in the job advert in your CV. This means you must tailor your CV per job application. But again, don’t overuse them. You want your CV to still make sense.
  • Include both the full word and acronym when it comes to job titles and qualifications. For example, write out ‘Bachelor of Commerce Degree in Accounting (BCom Acc)’ or ‘Personal Assistant (PA)’.
  • Have a look at your previous job titles: do they accurately describe what duties you performed? You can make small changes to your previous job titles, so they reflect what your duties were. Your job titles should also be as generic as possible i.e. a title that is most associated with the role. Also, you need to be specific when it comes to your previous job titles. Saying ‘Manager’ or ‘Key Account Manager’ is not enough. For example, if you were a key account manager in the recruitment field your title should rather be ‘Recruiter – Key Account Manager’.

If you follow these few tips and you are qualified for the position, your CV should get through the ATS bodyguards and into the hands of the all-important hiring manager. These tips should be thought of even when sending straight to a hiring manager. Having a simple format allows your achievements and abilities to shine through.

Good luck!

P.S. There are a lot of articles available on Google, that provide more tips and guidelines for creating an ATS-friendly CV. Spend some time doing your research! There are even websites that will scan your CV to assess how ATS-friendly it is – please be careful to not include personal information if using this tool (you don’t want your personal information all over the internet – make sure it’s a secure website).

Job interview tips: The ultimate interview questions cheat sheet – Part 2

Before you read this post, check out Part 1 here: https://futurelink.co.za/job-interview-tips-the-ultimate-interview-cheat-sheet/

Do you have any questions for us? – Is it a trick question? Am I supposed to have any? What do I actually ask?

Is it a trick question?

It’s not necessarily a trick question but remember in our first blog post way back when, when we discussed how similar finding a job is to dating. Well imagine going on a date, and having one person talk the entire time! There probably won’t be a second date. You’ve got to put the effort in as well. Do your research, prepare and be confident! This is your time to shine.

What if I don’t have a question?

Don’t lie. You always have a question. Never say, “no I think you’ve covered everything” because your interviewer probably didn’t. As we said in our last blog, interviews are a two way process. As much as the company is interviewing you, you are also interviewing them. So you should ALWAYS have some questions. Below we’ll go through a couple of questions that you might not think about, but you’ll want to know the answers to the minute you leave your interview. Have a few questions prepared so that you’re ready for anything but be prepared to only ask two or three. This isn’t a game of 21 questions! or an interrogation! The key to this trick question is to ask the RIGHT questions.

What type of questions do I ask?

As much as you can prepare some questions to ask during this portion of the interview you need to be paying attention throughout your interview. Sometimes your questions can be answered during the interview. Now there are two types of questions. Ones based on the company and ones based on your potential position in the company. But make sure you actually want to know the answers to these questions. Don’t fake it.

How to use your research in your question

Here’s a perfect time to show you’ve done your research on the company without looking like a teachers pet. Slip in a question like ” I saw you had recently changed your marketing strategy. Why is that?” or even slip in a statement like, “I saw you recently launched a new product, I’ve had one/tasted it and it is fantastic.’ Maybe they’ve partnered with another company, received a big client or even moved premises. So ask a question based on that.

Examples of questions to ask – Company

  • Where do you see the company in the next few years?
  • What is your Companies culture like?
  • What is your favourite thing about the Company?

Examples of questions to ask – Personal

  • What team would I be working with?
  • Can you please show me an example of the type of projects I would be working on?
  • What are the performance expectations for this position?
  • How would my performance be measured or evaluated?
  • Would I have to complete any training programes?
  • What do you think are the most important qualities someone should possess to excel in this position?
  • What opportunities is there for growth for me?

By asking questions you can often show your excitement and enthusiasm. It shows that you genuinely care. In todays age you are often up against people who have the exact same experience and qualifications as you. This is your chance to stand out and make that hiring manager remember you!

Job interview tips: The ultimate interview questions cheat sheet – part 1

Interviews these days are becoming more of a two-way process. Companies are actively encouraging candidates to ask their own questions, relating to the position and the company itself. In this weeks’ blog we look at questions you can expect from your interviewer. In our next blog we will focus on questions you should ask your interviewer.

How to use your research in your interview

Though you cannot know what an interviewer may ask you – you can however predict and prepare. It’s important to think about how you might answer some expected questions, you can even jot down a couple points and keep them close. Interviewing virtually makes this even easier as you can keep your notes close by without it looking too obvious.

Reflect on yourself as an individual beforehand. Think about who you are, what your strengths and weaknesses are and finally what you actually want.

Doing this research and preparation will help you answer any question that comes your way. Here’s a few examples of questions to expect and how to potentially answer them. But remember that you are unique and so is the company. It’s important for you to be authentic and show your true self. “Being authentic will radiate more pure energy than trying to be an ideal you.” – Christina Lonsdale.

Common Questions

WHAT THEY ASK:WHAT THEY MEAN:ANSWER EXAMPLE:
“Tell me about yourself”Sum yourself up for me (key point here: summarise!)Quick, to the point answer.
Please don’t repeat your CV word for word:
Your qualifications
Your career history
Your skills
“What are your achievements to date?”What are you proud of?
Are you ambitious and goal driven?
What have you achieved, in your career that sets you apart?
What achievement are you particularly proud of?
“Tell me about the most difficult situation you had to face, and how you tackled
it?”
What is your definition of a difficult situation?
How do you cope in these types of situations?
Please ensure you answer with a work-related example, not an inter-personal one (e.g. a colleague was gossiping about you).
Choose a situation that can be explained clearly and in a few sentences.
What were your options, in terms of resolving
the issue? What option did you select and why? End on a positive note!
“What are your strengths?”There’s no hidden meaning behind this one. Just be honest!Focus on your main strengths that would be directly beneficial for this role.
“What are your weaknesses?”Classic question!Please don’t say you have none, this is humanly impossible.
Describe a personal or professional weakness that could also be considered a strength, and the steps you’re taking to improve.
Example: “I struggle to delegate work to my reportees, and prefer to complete the work myself.
However, I have worked on this, and dedicated more time to training and upskilling my team, so I feel more trusting and confident in their abilities to complete the work to the required standard.”
“Why are you looking at new career opportunities?”What are your motives behind this move?Be open and honest about why you are on the job market.
Never be negative in your reasons for leaving, and it will rarely be appropriate to state salary as the primary motivator. Though this might be a factor, rather focus on other reasons why.

Other questions that may come up:

• How does your current position fit into your department and company?
• What do you enjoy about the industry you work in?
• How do you handle pressure?
• How do you handle constructive criticism?
• How do you handle office politics/conflicts?
• How do you see yourself fitting into our company?
• What are you looking for, in this next career move? What will this move add to your current experience and skillset?
• How do you measure your own performance?
• What areas of your skillset do you want to improve?
• Why do you want this position? Why do you think you’d enjoy working in this position and at this company?
• How would your colleagues and boss describe you?

Look out for part 2 which will focus on the classic “Do you have any questions?” question and how to actually answer this.

Job Interview Tips: The STAR Method

After reading our last two blog posts, you now know how to prepare for your next job interview. Next, we move onto the interview itself. Together with Inge Fisher from Inge Fisher Consulting CC we explain how to answer behavioural based questions using the STAR method.  

What are behavioural based questions?

Interviewing today is often behavioural based, using the premise that past behaviour predicts future performance. 

Interviewers love using behavioural based questions to learn more about you and your capabilities. You will be asked how you behaved in a certain situation or carried out a certain task, what actions you took and what the result was.  Your answers will demonstrate to the interviewer whether you have the competencies to perform the job.

What is the STAR Method?

A frequently used interviewing tool is the STAR method. SITUATION, TASK, ACTION and RESULT.

Situation: Describe the specific situation you were in.
Task: What was the main aim of the task?
Action: What actions did you take to remedy the situation? Or what did you do that demonstrated the skill?
Result: What was the end result of your actions? Did you accomplish your main aim?

How do you answer behavioural based questions using the STAR method?

For example, you are being interviewed for a Remuneration Advisor position.  The interviewer might ask:

Question: Please give me an example of how you developed pay scales for your organisation.

Answer: As there was no job grading system in place, I graded all the positions on the Paterson job grading system. I then participated in a salary survey from a well-known company who conducts surveys.  Based on the market data, I was then able to construct pay scales per job grade.

The interviewer might question further on this to gain a deeper understanding by asking about the market data, or the types of jobs to further assess the depth of your knowledge.

Examples of behavioural based questions:

  • Explain a time when you disagreed with your Manager and how you resolved the problem?
  • Tell me about when you’ve used initiative?
  • How do you approach problems? Give an example of you solving a problem.
  • What role do you assume when working within a team?

The STAR method can be a useful tool when being asked behavioural based questions and having situations and examples ready to go can help you feel prepared and calm. Your answers will come across more composed and confident.

Look out for our next blog on other common questions to expect in a job interview.

Job interview tips: How to prepare for a video interview

Hello COVID-19!

It goes without saying that this worldwide pandemic has affected almost every aspect of our lives, businesses and global economy. As a job seeker, one of those obvious changes has been the shift from face-to-face interviews to virtual interviews. Everything seems to be moving towards the digital realm, and we need to adapt to these changes.

We, as an Agency, much prefer an in-person interview for a host of reasons; but the primary one is human connection. We pride ourselves on developing solid, meaningful connections with our candidates – and video does have its limitations.

That being said, with an increasing trend in virtual interviews, we thought it helpful to provide some guidance on how to approach a video interview: – based off the past years’ interviews we’ve conducted:

Here’s a few things to remember when it comes to PREPARING for your video interview.

DRESS CODE:

Though your full body can’t be seen this is still a crucial aspect. Recruiters and companies want to see how you present yourself, regardless of the fact that it’s a virtual interview.

  • Look your smartest and show your most professional side. It is always better to overdress, than underdress for an interview.
  • “That first handshake is important! Please shake hands with a proper grip.” This obviously doesn’t apply when doing a video interview. So instead focus on your smile and eye contact. Especially when introducing yourself.

FUN TIP: Dress to match the company’s colours! Some studies have suggested that wearing colours that match the company’s branding, subconsciously creates associations that you’re already part of the company!

PUNCTUALITY:

BE EARLY! This is an absolute must! You’ve got to be ready to go the minute your interview was set for. We suggest you be ready and sitting in front of your screen fifteen minutes beforehand. This way you can have a moment to check your speakers, microphone, and camera position.

You want to avoid a murphy’s law whereby our computer or the app decides now is the perfect time to run an update! So, ensure you’ve got time to work out any kinks. We all know technology isn’t always our best friend.

If you are unavoidably delayed, call your consultant AND the company reception to let them know. Apologise, and give your expected time to start. Please ensure you apologise again once the interview begins.

SET UP:

Where you interview can have a big impact on the success of your interview.

Sound:

The interviewer needs to be able to hear you loud and clear, so please ensure you find a quiet spot where you can lock the door or where you won’t be disturbed.

  • Don’t have any music on in the background. And please no TV! It can be very distracting for both you and the interviewer.
  • If you’re interviewing at an internet café pick the most secluded spot at the café.
  • If in a café or nosier area, try using headphones. This allows for you to hear and be heard better.

Visual:

The interviewer needs to be able to see you clearly.

  • Ensure that the camera/webcam is not too close to your face. Your camera should allow your entire face to be seen and preferably even the top of your shoulders.
  • The angle of your camera is important too! Invest in a proper phone holder. Alternatively, get creative e.g. rest your phone against some books.
  • It’s better to have your device on a flat stable surface. It’s difficult to keep your arm steady holding your device especially when you’re trying to concentrate on your important interview!
  • If possible, try have a plain background or at least a background with as little distractions as possible. Avoid a distracting, busy background – this can detract the interviewer from what you’re saying.
  • Ensure your laptop or phone is charged. This is South Africa – thanks, load shedding. Double check the load shedding schedule on the day of your interview, because this might affect your internet connection. 
  • Cellphone service is a tricky one because it can be unpredictable sometimes – so do your best to be in a Wi-Fi zone or in a spot with great signal.
  • Lastly, do your best to have good lighting. No professional set up is needed. Just try to face towards a window so you get as much natural light as possible.

KEY TIP: Place a desk lamp on either side of your camera facing towards you. Have to have two lamps, otherwise it won’t work! Having a bright light on only one side of your camera will leave half your face in a shadow. No Zorros needed here!

FINAL KEY TIP: Do a practice call! You should be testing all your electronics beforehand. Having a glitch free interview shows your readiness and commitment to the interviewer. And this might just help you get the job!

FINAL CHECKS:

In conclusion, here’s a quick summary checklist to run through before your big interview.

Ensure that:

  1. You’ve dressed for the role.
  2. Your ‘interview space’ is ready and there are no distractions.
  3. You’ve checked the camera angle and lighting.
  4. You’ve checked that your volume is up, and that your microphone works.
  5. You’ve ensured no laptop/app updates are going to unexpectedly delay your interview.
  6. You’ve got battery and signal/service!
  7. You aren’t eating or doing anything else except concentrating on the interview. That includes no gum!

And finally, ensure you’re early so you’re ready and you’ve got time to test all your tech.

Now you’re ready to shine. Good luck! For tips on the actual interview, see our next blog coming out on the 18th of May 2021.

Job interview tips: Research to do before the interview

Congratulations! You’ve secured an interview. Now what?

If your CV is the foot in the door, then your interview is the force that either pushes the door wide open, or sadly closes the door to an opportunity. 

So, what can you do to encourage the open door? PREPARE! You need to approach each and every interview fully prepared – and the first step in the preparation process is to do your research.

Conducting proper research is the equivalent of obtaining a blueprint of the company. You need to understand the company’s foundations, their values and visions, their current and future plans. You should understand their business model, the sort of roles and positions within the company, and the types of industries/clients that they do business with.

We suggest conducting research on the following four areas, before your interview:

1. RESEARCH THE COMPANY

Show your commitment to this new career opportunity, by finding out as much as possible about the company that is interviewing you.

Visit the company website and their LinkedIn page. It’s imperative that you have a good understanding about the company, as this shows you have a real interest in your possible future employer.

  • What sector/industry does this company fall under?
  • What products or services do they offer?
  • Which industries/sectors do their clients/customers fall under?
  • How large is the company?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • What is their National footprint?
  • What is their latest news? (Visit their LinkedIn Page, google relevant articles or blog posts)
  • Who are the key players/key stakeholders within the company? Who could potentially be your Direct Line Managers?

KEY TIP: Whilst conducting your research into the company, revert back to your own experience and skill set – how do these translate and transfer? What expertise can you bring forth? How will you add value?

What research should I do, if my first interview is with a Recruitment Agency?

If you’ve applied for a position via a Recruitment Agency, then your first interview will be with the Recruitment Consultant who is working the position.

At this stage, you won’t necessarily be able to do your research into the hiring company (i.e. the Agency’s client). Whilst it can seem daunting approaching an interview without prior knowledge of the hiring company, the Agent will use the interview to provide a run-down on the company and the position itself.

If shortlisted for submission to the hiring company, your Agent will provide you with the necessary details, so you can start conducting research into the hiring company itself.

KEY TIP: You can still prepare for an interview with a Recruitment Agency by ensuring that your CV is up-to-date, and that you’ve included all key information. Familiarise yourself with the contents of your CV, as well as the position details (refer to the advert that you applied to!), and think about how your experience and skill set is applicable to the position requirements and job duties.

2. INTERVIEWERS

  • Do you know who you will be meeting?
  • Do you know their position within the company?

This information should have been provided to you by the Recruitment Agent, or the hiring company themselves. If it hasn’t, then please ask.

It’s important that you know exactly who will be conducting the interview, and what their positions are within the company.

This not only shows a great level of professionalism, but also provides you with a sense of familiarity, as you’re not approaching an interview ‘completely blind’.

3. THE POSITION

Please read through the job description.  

  • Ensure that you understand the job requirements:
    • How do the job duties relate to your previous experience? Prepare examples of your previous experience and achievements, in relation to the position requirements.
    • Prepare yourself for job-related questions that you could be asked – and mentally prepare your responses to these questions.

What interpersonal skills and competencies is the company looking for? As examples; someone who is proactive, someone with excellent interpersonal skills, etc. Prepare examples of times and situations during which you have displayed these skills and abilities.

4. KNOW YOUR CV

Know your CV. This is especially important if a Recruitment Agency has re-formatted your CV using their templates and layout. Request a copy of this CV from your Agent, if they haven’t already sent a copy to you.

Familiarise yourself with:

  • Dates for each of your positions.
  • Reasons for leaving each of your positions.
  • The content itself; duties and responsibilities, education details, personal details.

We hope you have found this information to be insightful and helpful! Keep a look out for our next blog post which will focus on how to utilise your research during the interview process and how to create a great first impression!  

Your CV: Creating the right first impression (Part 2)

Writing a CV can seem like a daunting task! We often read and hear about what information to include when creating your CV – and yes! That is very important. However, it’s also useful to know what shouldn’t be included. Here’s part 2!

Click here for Part 1

CONTENT: WHAT YOUR CV SAYS ABOUT YOU!

Skills

We come across a multitude of CVs that list ‘SKILLS or EXPERTISE’ –

  • Outstanding Leadership Skills
  • Effective Communication Skills
  • Impressive Business Acquisition Capabilities

These are great skills to list, however they’re simply words on a CV – these intangible skills require evidence in the form of examples. 

For example: ‘Outstanding Leadership Skills’ – I successfully recruited, developed and managed a team of 5 direct reports i.e. Junior Sales Reps. I provided the initial training and continued to invest time and effort into developing my team. By the end of their first quarter they were all hitting their sales targets and onboarding between 2 and 5 new clients on a monthly basis.

Please also be selective over the skills that you list. Your CV should highlight the skills most prevalent to the job you’re applying for.

For example, if it’s a Sales Manager position, then key skills would include:

  • Solid Key Account Management; relationship building and client satisfaction.
  • Effective Management; managing a team of Sales Reps.
  • Accurate Sales Reporting and Analysis.
  • New Business Development.

Skills that would not necessitate mention, could include:

  • Able to create great PowerPoint Presentations.
  • Report generation using Excel.

Whilst these are key skills, they are also covered already in the core skills – one would assume that the Sales Reports would be generated on Excel, and that PowerPoint presentations would be necessary as part of New Business Development initiatives. Rather include these points in the body of your CV, under ‘duties and responsibilities’.

Most important of all is to list skills that you’re actually proficient in. For example, listing Photoshop as a skill but having very little real working experience with the programme is a recipe for disaster. More companies are utilising skills assessment tests, as part of the interview process. If you do have experience with Photoshop but it’s limited then state that:

Photoshop (basic knowledge: approximately 6 months’ working experience).

Work Experience

Rule of thumb is to include every position you’ve worked. Most agencies and hiring companies will want to ‘fill in the gaps’ since leaving High School or University. Listing each job however, doesn’t necessarily mean you have to list duties. As an example:

December 2004Matriculated
January 2005 – December 2005Travelled around the United Kingdom. Waitressed to make additional income.
January 2006 – December 2008Waitress at Waxy O’Connors whilst studying towards Degree.
January 2009 – December 20102-year internship with [company name]
– Job duty 1
– Job duty 2
– Job duty 3

Tip: Don’t copy duties straight from your previous contract. When you include your job duties/descriptions, adjust them to reflect your actual experience. It’s always advised to compose your CV in your own ‘tone’ – this will result in a more accurate, well-thought-out and consistent CV, that is a true reflection of you and your experience!

Tip: Job duties prior to your current position should ideally be written in past tense.  

For example:

  • Check stock reports for discrepancies and report findings to Management.

In past tense:

  • Checked stock reports for discrepancies and reported findings to Management.

Tip: We’ve noticed an increasing trend for job duties to be written in paragraph/story form. This doesn’t make for an ‘easy read’ for recruiters and hiring managers. You ideally want your duties to be concise and impactful. We have found bullet points to be the most effective form for duty listing.

References

Firstly, never include your current employer as a reference. We have heard too many horror stories whereby a current employer was contacted for a reference!

In fact, we don’t believe it’s necessary to include your references at the first stage of the application process. Instead:

  • State on your CV that references are available upon request.
  • Have a saved document ready – which lists all your references.
  • Include the following information:

Company: ABC Company
Name of Referee: Mr Joe Soap
Designation: Managing Director
Work contact number: (031) 123 4567
Mobile number: 083 123 4567
Work email address: joesoap@abccompany.co.za

Please note: it is always best to 1.) ask for your referee to be a referee on your CV and 2.) receive confirmation from him/her that they are happy for you to include their mobile numbers and email addresses.

Tip: A referee should ideally be your Direct Line Manager. Someone who can attest for your work ethic, attitude as an employee, and general skills and capabilities in your position.

Tip: Ideally, your referee will still be working for the same company. However, this is not a requirement! If your Direct Line Manager has subsequently left the company and is now working elsewhere, you can still list them as a referee, but make a note on the reference listing:

Company: ABC Company (no longer with the company, now working for DEF Company)
Name of Referee: Mr Joe Soap
Designation: Managing Director

Lastly, at the time of referencing we always recommend that our candidates contact their referees first, to let them know that “Megan from Futurelink will be calling for a reference”. This not only gives the referee a ‘heads up’ to expect the call, but also allows for a ‘memory refresh’, especially if it’s been a good number of years since you worked for them.

FINAL CHECKS – WHAT YOUR CV SHOULD LOOK LIKE WHEN IT IS FINISHED

You’ve found the perfect position that you’d like to apply for, you’ve tailored your CV for that position and ensured that you’ve only included useful and relevant information. You’re ready to go right?

No! Don’t just send it. Proof-read your CV and application email before sending it! In fact, we recommend having a friend or family-member proof-read it too.

Your CV is one of the most important documents that you will compose; so spend the right amount of time and effort making sure it’s a perfect representation of you!

If you can take one thing away from this blog it should be: make an effort. The more effort you invest into composing your CV, the greater your chances of success. Recruiters and hiring managers notice these simple details.

Your CV: Creating the right first impression (Part 1)

Writing a CV can seem like a daunting task! We often read and hear about what information to include when creating your CV – and yes! That is very important. However, it’s also useful to know what shouldn’t be included. After all, you want your CV to create a great first impression; so it’s important to be honest, precise and relevant!

Here’s a quick checklist of what not to include:

Formatting: What your CV looks like!

Don’t go for the colorful borders, images or those scrolls (~ ~ ~ ~) everyone likes to include. Don’t worry you aren’t the only one who has included them before. Having borders and pictures are unnecessary, and take up space which should instead be used to focus on your talents and experience. Anyone can add that Microsoft Word border but not everyone has done an advanced course in Microsoft Word. When deciding on format just remember: PROFESSIONAL and SIMPLE.

Content: What your CV says about you!

When it comes down to your actual content, only include what’s relevant to the SPECIFIC job you’re applying for. If your experience is multi-faceted and you’ve held various positions over the years, we encourage you to create more than one CV – with each version being specifically catered towards the position you’re applying for. As an example; CV for Sales Manager position, CV for Marketing Manager, CV for New Business Development Executive.

Personal information (don’t share confidential information!)

  • No one needs to know your home address, rather state your area and province i.e. Randburg, Johannesburg. Also include whether you’re willing to relocate, that’s always helpful!
  • You don’t have to include your ID, instead you can provide your date of birth and Nationality/Citizenship Status.  
  • The recruiter/employer does not need to know how many dependents you have or what your relationship status is. This is your private life and should have no bearing over your suitability for a position.
  • It’s good to include if you have a driver license and if you have a vehicle but please don’t include the make and model. Unless it’s a Subaru, in which case you may just be hired to hear that engine every day. Please also include all license codes – having your Forklift License or Reach Truck License is a huge bonus for certain positions!
  • Don’t abbreviate words or sentences, this isn’t a WhatsApp status. A professional CV should be written in a formal, professional language. No1 wants 2 read a CV written lyk dis!

When it comes to your personal information; the less information, the better. Just include the necessary information relevant to a job application. You never know where your CV is going to end up, so be careful with the information you share!

Education:

Please don’t lie about your qualifications! If you haven’t completed your Degree, then please don’t list the qualification on your CV as completed. It’s actually a criminal offence! “CV fraudsters may be convicted for contravening the NQF Amendment Act. In these circumstances, they could receive a fine or face imprisonment for a period not exceeding five years or both” (https://businesstech.co.za/news/business/336389/you-can-now-spend-up-to-5-years-in-jail-for-lying-on-your-cv/). More so, these days it’s not a simple case of ‘not being caught’; most employers and recruiters will verify your education qualifications, ahead of an offer being made.

If you haven’t completed your qualification, but you are still currently studying – then by all means, include this information! But if you started a Degree in 2009 and don’t have any plans to complete it, then there really is no need to list it!

When listing your qualifications, here’s a suggestion that is clear and precise:

As you can see, all the necessary information has been included:

University of KwaZulu-Natal
– Bachelor of Social Science Honours Degree in Industrial Psychology (due to complete 2022)

University of KwaZulu-Natal
– Bachelor of Social Science Degree in Psychology and Industrial Psychology (completed 2019)

  • Institution Name
  • Type of Degree
  • Majors i.e. Psychology and Industrial Psychology
  • Year of completion

Should you include all your subjects? No, not necessary at this first initial stage of the application process. You could state, after listing your qualifications: ‘List of subjects / Academic Transcript Available Upon Request’

Should you include a list of your marks? Again, no – not necessary at this stage (disclaimer: this can sometimes be a requirement for certain positions e.g. SAICA Article Clerk). Providing the employer/recruiter with a copy of your Academic Transcripts or your Matric Certificate can always be done at a later stage, and they will usually request this information if needed.

So what academic achievements should you include? Cum Laude, Golden Key Society Membership, Deans Commendation, Awarded a Scholarship/Bursary, any other prestigious awards that you received.

And that’s where we are leaving YOUR CV for now – sorry to keep you hanging! Keep a look out for Part 2 of this blog: to be published on the 6th of April 2021!