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How to write a winning CV

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A CV (Curriculum Vitae) is an important asset to use on your career pathway.
It’s not something you write once and tuck away. it needs to be constantly refreshed; not just with your own updates, but in response to the specific job you are applying for.
Remember, your CV never goes out alone. It must always be accompanied by your Cover Letter. Your Cover Letter, if written well, will set you apart from other applicants.  It will give you a better chance of getting an interview.

How should I structure my cover letter?

Follow these steps:

Start with the advert REFERENCE (eg. job title, code, ref no etc). Look for it.

Include your name, telephone and/or email address. Next, the name and position in the company of the person you’re sending your CV to.

The date.

Dear ……  (if possible, type in Mr, Mrs, Ms, Dr and the person’s surname).  This makes your Cover Letter more personal.  If you can’t find out their name, write Dear Sir/Madam.

Name of job advertised.

(Paragraph 1):  Describe briefly why this job is exciting for you and why you would like to apply for the job.  Always be positive.  They do not want to hear about your problems.

(Paragraph 2):  Briefly list your skills and qualifications and why you would be perfect for the job and the company.  This will show you have done your research and that you are focused on THIS job.

(Paragraph 3):  Let the company know you are confident in your abilities.  Let them know you are looking forward to hearing from them.  Always come across eager NOT desperate.

Finish the Cover Letter with either Yours sincerely (if you know the receiver’s name) or Yours faithfully (if you don’t know the receiver’s name).

Keep it short. Half a page to a full page, no more.

How should I structure my CV?

Make sure ALL your PERSONAL INFORMATION is up to date and correct. Double check. You will be surprised how many mistakes are made on CV’s. One mistake could cost you the job.  

Remember to include:

  • Surname
  • First names
  • Gender
  • Physical address
  • Contact numbers
  • Date of birth
  • Nationality
  • Marital status
  • Driver’s license (if you have one)

MOTIVATION – WHY do you want THIS job?

  • Describe why you want THISjob and how YOU would fit THIS job perfectly.
  • Make sure you match ALL the requirements 100%. If you don’t, your CV will go straight in the bin.
  • Avoid sounding desperate. Rather sound ambitious.

EDUCATION

  • Read the advert carefully. Send them EXACTLYwhat they want.
  • If they ask,  include ALLyour qualifications (matric certificate, diplomas, degrees, driver’s licences etc).
  • If they ask, include your transcripts (your marks).

COMPUTER SKILLS

  • If the advert says ‘be computer literate’– only apply if you are!
  • Computer literacy usually means you have skills in MS Word, MS Office, Excel and sometimes, Powerpoint.
    If you have ANYother computer skills, list them.
  • For example: I can email. I have MS Word and Excel skills. I have Powerpoint skills (advanced). Etc.

(7) ACHIEVEMENTS

  • If you have any achievements, list them.
  • Example: I won 2nd prize in the Mathematics Olympiad in 2018. I was soccer captain at university. Etc.

(8) ACTIVITIES

  • If you participate in any activities that might help you get THISjob – tell them.
  • For example: I have volunteered at the local Hospice for the past 3 years. I have learned to be a team player and I have become a very reliable and responsible person.

(9) EMPLOYMENT HISTORY

  • Even if you’ve had part-time student jobs, these still look fantastic on your CV. It means you are ambitious.
  • List them in order, from the most RECENT to the oldest. Remember to include the periods (dates) you worked, the company names and telephone numbers.

(10) REFERENCES

  • Choose people who you have worked or volunteered for in the past.
  • Avoid asking family members or friends.
  • Remember to include their name and contact details.
  • Make sure you tell them EACH time you apply for a job so they are prepared if someone phones th

‘Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well.’  – Josh Billings 

 

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