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

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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!

Megan Moffett

Author