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CV = First Impressions

In all the years I have worked in the recruitment industry candidates often forget that their CV is a representation of their brand. In a highly competitive market it is even more important to ensure that you “market” yourself in the best way.

As a Hiring Manager, HR manager or Recruiter we have to sieve through many CV’s to shortlist. So how can you get your CV noticed? Here is my opinion?

  • I personally don’t think a long covering letter is the way to go, people do not have time to read pages and pages of your life story. Rather have a short introduction (4-8 lines) that gives a description of your experience, skills and career objectives. Edit your introduction for specific roles to highlight specific skills for a role. Read the spec you are applying for and make sure you at least meet 80% of the requirements.

For Example: A qualified Financial Accountant CA(SA) with 4 years post qualification experience within the financial services industry. Completed articles with KPMG in JHB. Strong technical knowledge of financial reporting and analysis. Works well to tight deadlines and under pressure. Working knowledge of SAP. Looking for an opportunity to develop my career in the Asset Management industry.

  • Ensure your CV is clear and structured so it is easy for the employer to spot the key information. Don’t copy and paste your job description, it’s boring, long and gives no context. Make sure you use job titles specific to your industry, internal titles often don’t mean anything to another employer.

For Example:

Financial Accountant

Alexander Mann

March 2014 – date

Key Achievements: Successfully implemented a new Financial Accounting package; this required me to work with the Project Manager to understand the implications of the finance process…..(keep it short and sweet)

Duties include: (don’t list every single duty, list the key things that show you’re capable)

  • Monthly, quarterly and annual financial reporting; analysis of large amounts of data
  • Management of monthly invoicing, account reconciliations….
  • (Don’t write paragraphs keep to descriptive bullet points it is easier on the eye, keep them short, descriptive and informative)
  • List your employment in order of most recent employment first going back; most employers are more interested in what you are doing now and what you did in the last 4 years than how you started your career. If you have been working for a number of years put more detail in your current employment and shorten the description of previous roles.
  • If you work on projects; have a summary of the projects, technologies used and your role listed. Clients are often looking for specific experience so use some of the terminology from that industry/sector. For Example: A client might want a Business Analyst with specific experience of SAP HR modules. Make sure it is clear that you have this experience.
  1. Get the basics right; check spelling, ensure that your contact details are correct (We receive so many CV’s with incorrect numbers or no contact details at all) and be strategic about your career search. Don’t just apply for everything, clients will think you have no idea what it is you want to do or that you are just desperate….
  • Remember that your CV is often a companies/persons first impression. Take time to get it right!


1 Comment

  1. Vanita says:

    This is really useful, thanks.

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