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Ray Dicks A “winning CV” or resume is an important part of finding a new job. Let us back up and say, that…unless you have a good well-constructed Curriculum Vitae or CV you are wasting your time…certainly when it comes to job hunting! Not only is a CV a useful tool in opening doors to those elusive interviews, it is also a confidence builder and therefore a vital document in finding a good job. There are a number of companies in the recruitment industry who advertise a comprehensive CV Service. In other words they will, based on the information you provide, construct a CV for you. There is normally a cost involved, but if it helps you to secure a good job, it will be worth the investment many times over! However, if you have access to a computer and are careful to keep a few things in mind, you should be able to construct your own… “winning CV.” One of the very first things to remember when constructing a CV is the fact that it is first and foremost a business document and not a work of art! Therefore, you should keep away from any decorative fonts or fancy lines or borders, and especially clip-art! If you really want a company to pay attention to your CV then be sure to include a small photograph of yourself and attach this to the front cover of your CV. As far as the body of your CV is concerned there is certain information that needs to be included and that information can be divided into four basic categories: Personal Details, Educational Details, Employment Record and an Addendum Section. Now with due regard to the Labour Relations Act, keep in mind the fact that you are not obliged to submit information that relates to Race, Sex, Religion, Political Opinion/Persuasion Ethnic/Social Origin, Sexual Orientation, Disability, Age, Conscience, Belief, Culture, Language, Family Responsibility, Marital Status or other arbitrary ground. However, having said that, I would strongly recommend that you volunteer as much information as you feel comfortable with and be sure to include all contact numbers and an e-mail address if you have one. After you have listed your Personal Details (allow one page for this), the next section is Educational Details. Here you need to supply all relevant information. If you have a tertiary education you must include the qualification, the date and institution where the qualification was obtained and the subjects involved. The same applies to diplomas and certificates. You must be able to provide proof of certification. Now for a word of warning….be very careful not to misrepresent your details or to try and mislead a potential employer or a recruitment company. The above information should, once again, take up no more than one page The following section of your CV should cover your Employment Record. Begin by listing your current or last position first. List the name of the company and include the location (i.e. Johannesburg etc). Show the full dates of your employment including the month and year. Mention your first and last designation or position with the company. Now give a full listing of your duties and responsibilities whilst with the company. Mention, to whom you reported and include your salary details upon leaving. Bear in mind you might be required to show proof of your earnings. Finally give your reasons for leaving. Be completely honest here, but try and keep it positive! “Personality clash” is usually not a good reason for leaving! Now proceed and give the same information for your last three or even four positions depending on how many positions you have held. After that, unless the previous positions are relevant to your experience, you may summarise the information, but don’t leave anything out and don’t have any gaps in your employment record. Finally, if you didn’t include possible referees under each position, now would be a good time to do that. Be sure to include contact telephone numbers. Your entire CV (the first three sections) should not be longer than four or five pages at the most! It might even be a good idea to have a shortened or condensed version of your CV (no more than three pages), for faxing or e-mailing purposes. The last or final section, the addendum, should be separate from the body of your CV and should include copies of any qualifications and, most important, any letters of testimonial etc. Do not include any unrelated or unimportant information. The idea of a CV is simply to open the door to an interview! Finally, here’s a tip to keep in mind…staple your CV, or only use a binder which allows the document to remain in an open position when placed on a flat surface. You should also be able to add or take out a page if you need to update your CV at any time. It is a good idea to include a pre-approach letter when distributing your CV. Remember, you only get one chance to make a lasting first impression…make sure your CV doesn’t let you down!  Ray Dicks

Ray Dicks, Founder of Star Personnel and the Linx Personnel Group, has spent nearly 20 years in the recruitment industry.  He has interviewed and placed a countless number of candidates in all industries and diciplines.  He is now sharing his knowlege with JobSeekers.

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