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A Curriculum Vitae (CV) is the most important document that a job seeker needs when they are searching for employment.

Whether you are a university graduate hunting for your first job, or a seasoned professional looking to take the next step towards growing your career, it is vital to know how to construct a CV that will make you stand out in an increasingly crowded market.  

A CV is the first representation that a potential employer will have of a candidate. As a result, this document will create a first impression of the candidate based on the information provided and how it is presented. It is therefore imperative that a CV must reflect relevant skills, experience and accomplishments in a way that is easy to read and appealing to the employer.

Unfortunately many job hunters do not realise the negative impact a poorly written CV can have on their job prospects. The CV is the key deciding factor whether or not the applicant will be invited for an interview with the employer and must therefore capture the attention of the prospective employer.

Dlamini provides the below tips to construct an impressive CV:

1. The length of the CV should not exceed more than four pages. There is a high likelihood that yours is just one of many CVs on a pile that will be reviewed.
2. The document must provide an overview of your skills, experience and achievements - with the most recent and relevant information at the top.
3. The experience or skills that accurately match the requirements of the role you are applying for should be at the beginning of the CV. This way the hiring manager can easily distinguish who makes you the best applicant.
4. Make sure that the information is straightforward and avoid all clichés and jargon.
5. Address time gaps between studying and working in your work history by providing a clear explanation. The prospective employer might simply regard this as unproductive time if it seems like the applicant spent time drifting and might draw unfavourable conclusions. Rather make the effort to briefly explain these gaps.
6. Don’t simply list the day-to-day responsibilities held in previous roles. It is extremely important to illustrate how well the work was carried out through a list of achievements. Showcase the best achievements that will reflect the requirements of the particular position you are applying for.
7. Refine the document a number of times before deciding on a final version. Ask someone to proofread it for any spelling or grammatical errors.
8. Never list training courses that were not completed.
9. Do not list fraudulent information as this can lead to severe consequences as most employers will do a background check.
10. Do not embellish your capabilities to the point of falsehood. You can ruin your reputation if you are appointed and cannot deliver work that is in line with the claims stipulated in your CV.  

A CV should also be an ever-evolving document as it needs constant updating to include current information, skills and experience. It is ultimately the only document that could pave the way for prospective employment opportunities and is therefore one of the most important documents you will put together.

By taking the above tips into consideration, job seekers can improve their chances of being invited for an interview at their dream job or at least gain entry into their desired field.

Lindi Dlamini, Group Executive: Human Resources at PPS.

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