Thursday, 23 October 2014

6. Employment Application: Writing a Curriculum Vitae (CV)
There comes a point in time where a Curriculum Vitae (hereafter referred to as a CV) is required to apply for a job, a scholarship, to further studies, for an internship - whatever the case may be. This applies to almost everybody, whether one is a learner, a student, a graduate or an employee. It is reasonable to conclude that if minimal effort is put in completing a CV, there is a greater chance that the CV will not be effective in our application.

The Workplace-Readiness Skills Workshop that I mentioned in earlier posts included a section on CVs. In this article I share the importance of a CV in relation to the recruitment process, the particulars of a CV and guidelines on how to write it, as communicated at the workshop by the HR consultant Mr Thando Melane. I also include information regarding elements of a CV, obtained from the Office of Student Development at the University of the Western Cape.

P.S: The article is focused more on the application of a job.

The recruitment process
As mentioned above, a CV is usually required when applying for something, for instance a job. The application goes through a process preferably termed "The Recruitment Process". This process mostly applies to applications for jobs, but other types of applications include some of the elements of this process. The process entails:
  • Application (i.e submitting CV and other application documents)
  • Shortlist
  • Interview
  • Offer e.g Job offer
  • Negotiation
  • Hire
For any individual who applies, reaching that final stage of having the application accepted/ being hired is the ultimate goal. Now, there are a few things that we need to keep in mind when writing a CV, in order for the application to stand a chance of getting through this recruitment process successfully:
  1. A CV is a factual document (i.e contains facts)
  2. It demonstrates to recruiters how we meet their criteria
  3. Our aim is to be remembered as an individual with appropriate skills, qualifications and potential.
 Basic elements of a CV
The most basic elements of a CV include the following:
  • Personal Information
    • This includes: name, surname, address, phone number and cell number, fax number, email address and an indication of having a driver's license  
  • Personal statement
    • This is a section where we get to express our character and qualities. Our uniqueness is revealed here. 
  • Career objectives
    • This is a section in which we express where we see ourselves: what we see ourselves as in future, the aspirations we have and how we see ourselves carrying them out, etc.  
    • This includes: 
      • highest qualification, e.g a degree
      • additional information about the highest qualification:
        • the name of the course completed
        • the modules
        • the year in which it was obtained
        • the institution from which degree was obtained, etc.
    • If relevant for the application, details about the second highest qualification may be included. This may be:
      • a first degree or Matric certificate
      • details for the Matric qualification can include:
        • the subjects that were done in Matric
        • the year in which the certificate was obtained
        • awards/ certificates/ achievements obtained etc.
  •  Organizational/work experience
    • This includes part-time work, voluntary work and/ or internships
    • Details to include may consist of:
      • name of the organization
      • period for which we worked at the organization
      • position held, e.g Secretary 
  • Workshops/Programs
    • This section relates to workshops/programs attended
    • Details to include may consist of:
      • name of workshop/program
      • period in which the program was held, e.g  20 March 2015 - Present
      • skills learnt
  • Community involvement
    • This section includes community involvement/ projects we may have engaged in, e.g voluntary tutoring at a high school
    • Details to be included can be:
      • the name of project / involvement
      • the activities that were carried out
  •  Other skills
    • These may include computer literacy, writing skills - whatever skills we have that may be relevant for our application
  •  Awards & Grants
    • This includes any awards or grants received in our career/studies
  • References
    • This includes three to five people who would testify about our character and abilities. Permission must have been obtained from the referees before including them.
    • Details of references may include:
      • names
      • their relation to us, e.g Employer: Management director of ABC Ltd
      • their contact details, i.e telephone number and email address
The elements of a CV may be more than those mentioned above, because a CV must be tailored to the job and organization that one applies for. This brings me to the next point: guidelines to completing a CV which Mr Melane shared.

  1. Tailor your CV to the job and organization that you are applying for
  2. Ensure that the skills included on the CV match the recruiter's selection criteria as closely as possible
  3. Highlight any relevant experiences by including them as early as possible on your CV
  4. Make the CV easy to read, using an attractive but professional layout and format
  5. Check for grammar, spelling and punctuation
  6. Your CV must be 1 / 2 full pages long. Academic CVs can be longer.
  7. Summarize experiences and achievements, by using bullet points and active verbs. 
    • They add more emphasis, unlike paragraphs
  8.  Highlight your individuality through experiences, achievements, responsibilities and interests.
    • It makes one memorable through the recruiter's eye.
  9. Include a good range of recent experiences.
    • This demonstrates how one uses their time productively in university (or high school), rather than mainly focusing on school-based achievements. 
That brings me to the end of the article. I most certainly hope this is of great benefit.

Please feel free to provide any more guidelines/ tips on writing a CV. You can share your experiences of altering your CV because of some mistakes that may have been discovered in the past on the comments section below.

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Thank you so much for your time and consideration. Till next time :)

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