Build Your CV

The first step you need to take before even considering applying for a job is building an informative CV. Take responsibility for your own employability by doing this while still at university, preferably from your first year. 

Yes, you can start building your CV as early as possible -- adding skills as you acquire them and creating a digital profile. This will make the search for part-time jobs during your study, as well as for a permanent position after graduation, easier.

Start early: build your CV and digital profile while studying.

A degree is no longer enough to guarantee your employment. Nowadays, companies are looking for work-ready graduates with job-specific skills in addition to academic qualifications. 

Your CV and digital profile are the first things employers consider when determining if you are the graduate they are most likely to employ. It tells prospective employers about your academic career, as well as work exposure you have obtained. Remember, at this stage, employers are looking at your potential based on more than your academic qualification.

You should, therefore, endeavour to build a comprehensive CV, preferably from your first year.

Factors to consider when building your CV

Plan your career 

Career planning is very important as it not only allows for direction in terms of an individual career path and goals but also allows for the successful transition from academic life to the workplace.  Enrol for a free on-line course in Career Planning.

Get your certificates 

To make your CV attractive to prospective employers, it is important that you add a variety of certificates (skills and work experience) of your different accomplishments to enhance your chances to be competitive in the job market.

Compile your CV and digital profile 

When it comes to job hunting, your CV is paramount. Get it right, and you’ll have an interview in no time, but get it wrong, and you may face rejection after rejection. Every CV is different, as you want to show why your set of skills makes you suitable for the position you’re applying for at that moment, but all follow a similar structure.

Have a look at these templates for CV compilation at TuksCareers and Careers24

Develop your LinkedIn digital profile 

Your LinkedIn profile is one of the most valuable resources a recent graduate can utilise today. It is basically a public CV that is at every recruiter’s disposal at the click of a button. LinkedIn can also be seen as an interactive storage spot, where you can update skills/positions in real-time without losing any information. 

Here are some useful guidelines when compiling your CV: 

  • Ask a third party to check your CV Format for spelling, grammar errors, layout and presentation  
  • Be creative, but keep it simple. Add all your achievements 
  • Do not overuse tables on your CV 
  • Organise your CV in a way that shows the most recent activities first, for example, academic results or work experience
  • Include all relevant contact information and always give an alternative contact number 
  • Continuously update the information on your CV 

Make sure that you have listed the correct dates, there should be no gaps of employment, job titles, and qualifications. Your CV should closely match the job requirements and specifications you wish to apply for. When you apply in person, ensure that you are dressed appropriately, as you may end up speaking to the manager. It is important to look professional.

Follow the given instructions when completing both online and manual job applications. It is important that you understand what is required.

Your CV should always include:

  • Professional profile, “Always customise your CV”
  • Qualifications and Professional development
  • Competencies and Skills
  • Achievements: Academic, Projects
  • Work Experience

Difference between Hard and Soft Skills:

Hard Skills:

Teachable abilities or skills sets that are easy to quantify e.g. proficiency in foreign language or Degree/certificate

Soft Skills:

Is a combination of people skills and social skills? E.g. Team work, flexibility

CV Cover Letter:

  • Use powerful words
  • Tailor the cover letter to the job you applying for
  • Do not repeat your CV, show personality and keep it short
  • Avoid my name is ………and I am applying for…….
  • Add a strong closing- “why you”
  • Be proactive and follow up

CV Resources



Resume Examples

Click here

CV Template 2020

Click here
Published by Sean Booysen

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