Start by gathering all the necessary information and focusing on the content of your CV.

Describe what you are doing and what you can offer the employer:

  • What is your job position/title? (e.g. Accountant / Customer Service Agent / AdminClerk / Personal Assistant)
  • How many years’ experience do you have?
  • What’s your highest qualification?
  • How do you make a difference in your job? (e.g. What “special knowledge”, expertise, skills or unique abilities do you have? And what benefits have resulted from the application thereof?)
  • What type of positions are you looking for? (Can also be referred to as your “targeted positions” or “objective”)

Accountant – Offering six years’ experience, a BCom Accounting degree, with specialised knowledge of the manufacturing, costing, and supply chain environment. Targeted Positions: Cost and Management Accountant, Financial Manager – Manufacturing.

Potential employers will not read your CV – they will scan it! If your CV manages to catch the employer’s eye, you are more likely to secure an interview.

List the jobs you have held previously, giving the following information in each case:

  • Job Title: Identify your position in clear and simple terms, e.g. “Accountant”rather than  “Financial Officer”.
  • Company Name: Name and describe the company in one brief sentence: “Company X with 3000 employees, annual revenue of R400 million, operating in 12 countries”.
  • Period of Employment: Specify your period of employment at the company (by month and year), e.g. “January 2011 – November 2012”.
  • Job Description: List five or six main responsibilities, e.g. “Managing and co-ordinating correspondence (letters/e-mails) and the CEO’s diary; Planning company events; Supervising two administrative clerks; Compiling and distributing the company newsletter; Communicating with all executive directors”.
  • Achievements: List any awards you received, as well as any accomplishments and the ways in which you made a difference in the workplace. If possible, reflect the actual numbers involved, since this will draw attention and improve credibility):
    • “Was named ‘Employee of the Month’ three times during 2008 for my high level of efficiency and excellent customer service.
    • Consistently achieved a performance appraisal rating of “4″ (exceeds expectations) for two years running, and never achieved less than a 3.5 rating in other years.
    • Raised team productivity by 35% in my first year of employment, by reorganising the machine layout”.

Tertiary Education

  • List the degree(s) and/or diploma(s) you have obtained, as well as any towards which you are currently studying.
  • List any certificate courses you have completed, but only if relevant to the position in question.
  • It is not always advisable to include soft-skill courses, such as time management or interpersonal skills, since these are “weak” inclusions. Such skills may be valuable,but such courses are usually not considered priorities.

Secondary Education

A Grade 12 (Matric) certificate is a key reference point in the early stages of your career, but its value and relevance diminishes over time. After 20 years in the labour market, for example, your working experience is more important to an employer than your schooling.

Professional Details

Professional certifications and membership of relevant organisations (e.g. “Attorney”, “Chartered Accountant” or “MCSE”) can be listed as part of your education details, under an expanded heading such as “Education and Professional Membership”. If space allows, a separate heading of “Professional Membership” can be created for this purpose.

Computer Skills

  • If your area of expertise is not IT, list only the basic programs with which you are familiar, such as MS Office. There is no need to include applications such as Windows 95, 98, XP, etc.
  • If your profession demands skill in certain software, such as Pastel Accounting or SAP Financials in the case of an accountant, list these as well.
  • If IT is your area of expertise, you should give a more comprehensive list of the programs with which you are familiar, perhaps even on a separate page attached as an addendum. It is important to weed out any old, outdated technology from your CV.

A CV template can be downloaded via the following link:

You can then save the template and replace the existing sample text with your own information.

After loading your information onto the template, you must read through everything very carefully to check for errors and make improvements where necessary, including spelling, grammar, sentence construction, style, layout and font.

This final step is extremely important and should not be overlooked. Just a few minor mistakes can spoil your entire CV and overshadow the actual information in the document.

First correct all the obvious mistakes before focusing on the following:

  • Avoid having the last one or two words of a sentence run over onto a new line, since this is poor style and takes up valuable space. To solve the problem, you could either shorten or lengthen the sentence, whichever works best.
  • Pay attention to the page layout. If a particular section (e.g. “Career History” or “Education”) runs over to the next page, try to make it fit on one page by omitting any unnecessary or non-essential text. Alternatively, you could break off the section at the end of a suitable sentence and then continue at the top of the next page, under an explanatory heading (e.g. “Career History, continued”).
  • Look out for long-winded, overly detailed sentences and try to shorten and simplify them. Your message must be as clear and strong as possible.

Source: Gerard Le Roux, Certified Guerrilla Job Search Coach,

Uploaded: 20 April 2023
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