Essential CV Tips and advice for Job Seekers

This week saw the start of our #jobmailtipoftheday campaign. At Job Mail one of our aims has always been to educate job seekers to ensure that they connect better with potential employers and recruiters. For the last week we have been posting updates on our social profiles featuring CV tips. Here’s a summary of what went down…

So you have a CV which holds all your credentials and basically tells potential employers how capable you are of doing the job. Many people spend hours on creating their CV’s (and so you should be doing this as well). This document is your one shot of getting into a company and to get noticed. The scary thing is: how much time do you spend on your CV there after? From my experience in doing interviews for over 10 years, not very often.

CV Writing

Every time something new happens, such as a change of address or completion of a short course, you should update your CV. You should be updating your CV every 6 months to make sure it is up to date, fresh and showcases your strengths.

There is no rule of thumb, remember that your aim is to deliver the most relevant information pertaining to the job ad as fast, and as comprehensively as possible. Basic information such as age, the area you live / work in, etc. Take note that it’s not necessary to put your physical address or full names and nicknames of your entire family.

Make sure that you specify the following attributes on your CV:
Your career goals: What you aim to achieve professionally and how you plan on doing that.  Mentioning career goals is important.
Your past work experience from latest to oldest: Where possible, company name, industry the company is in, what your role and tasks were. This portion is where a potential employer can see if you will be capable of doing the job he / she is needing you to do. It is not necessary to include every little detail (this will be covered in the interview) but certainly include information that would back up your statement.
Your knowledge, skills and ability: In terms of skills, ability and knowledge learnt. Please note though that Knowledge, skills, and abilities are three different things. It’s important to know the difference, even though the difference can be subtle.

Knowledge refers to theoretical information acquired about any subject whereas skills refer to practical application. Knowledge can be learned whereas skills require practical exposure.

Skills are the proficients developed through training or experience. Skills are usually something that has been learned. So, we can develop our skills through the transfer of knowledge.

Abilities are the qualities of being able to do something. There is a fine line between skills and abilities. Most people would say the differentiator is whether the thing in question was learned or innate.

When it comes to references from past employers, take note of the following: There is no law that says you MUST give references on initial contact with a potential employer. This means that on your CV you can state “references on request”.

You will however at some stage need to give these references with current contact information. “Oh they moved and I do not know where to” is NOT acceptable OR here is a good one, “you can find their contact number online or in the Yellow Pages”. Never make the potential employer do the work. In the case of a first time job seeker then you can include a character witness from someone that would hold a position of authority.

Then you can add some “meat” to your CV by including but not limiting to the following:
– A professional photo (head and shoulders)
– A short introductory video.
– A link to your website / blog / social profiles / portfolio online

Your CV should be an extension of your personality. Use colour and graphics (but remember people will be printing this document so be careful not to use too much colour and graphics). Make sure you have used correct grammar and checked for ALL spelling mistakes and used power words on your CV where possible.

Do not “waffle” on your CV. It should not be longer than 4 pages and it really is NOT necessary to include all your certificates and a copy of your ID. If the employer needs it, they will ask for it.

The common mistakes job seekers tend to make on their CV are putting either too much irrelevant information or too little information in it – both can damage your chances. Let’s put this into some perspective: If the information you are adding is pertinent to you finding a job, then add it. If the information will not assist you, but is nice to show, then leave it.

Always make sure when emailing your CV that send out the latest, updated copy and send a cover letter (which is personalized to the person you are sending it too).

Updating your CV will improve your chances to get hired, so I trust that you find these CV tips useful. Revise your CV and once you’ve revised it, log in to your Job Mail account and update your CV. If you’re not registered on Job Mail yet, click here to start the process.

If you have any queries about the registration process or experiencing technical issues with our website, feel free to e-mail our Webmaster via jobmaster@jobmail.co.za.

Watch this space for more updates for job seekers and more useful tips on the Job Mail Blog.

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Job Mail Product and Marketing Manager. Social media fundi and digital junkie.

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28 Responses

  1. karabo says:

    Always I try to submit my cv here but there is nothing come out,first submit my cv with cooperative develpmen an now I open my own trading enterprise PTY to take some sub contract an nothing came out

  2. tshepo says:

    Its been a while i have been applying for the advertised post on junk mail and am just wondering if it goes through or not because i have never received anything up to so if .if they have received my application or not

    • Henno Kruger says:

      Hi Tshepo – Check if your applications are going through, e-mail our Webmaster via jobmaster@jobmail.co.za – Take note that you should also be following up with recruiters to check if they received your application. If you don’t get feedback within 14 days you can assume that you did not get the job and move on.

      • Ashnee Govender says:

        My name is Mrs. Ashnee Govender and I would like to comment on my CV that has been posted online. I have received mail from Skills page stating that 141 people had viewed my cv but nothing has come off it. Please advise on what changes I can make to make my CV more appealing.

  3. tlaki says:

    I would like to thank you for warning us with this 086 fax scam,its sad that people can be this cruel,i now check whether the company that advertised has email adress or telephone number before applying

  4. Nonjabulo sylvester dlamini says:

    I HAVE BEEN USING THE JOBMAIL JOB APPLICATION FOR MONTHS; AND HAVE BEEN APPLYING FoR JOBS NUMEROUSLY. HOW dO I MAKE MY CV STAND OUT FROM THE REST AND HOW DO I RE- UPLOAD MY CV IN THIS WEBSITE? PLZ HELP……

    • Henno Kruger says:

      Hi Nonjabulo – If you’re struggling with your CV on Job Mail, e-mail our Webmaster via jobmaster@jobmail.co.za. Make sure that your profile CV is 100% on Job Mail and make sure that your physical CV is updated. Also remember that you should be following up with recruiters once you have applied for a position. If you don’t get feedback within 14 days you can assume you did not get the job and move forward. Hope you find employment soon!

    • mdabaelvis says:

      Hi, I am a guy who’s looking for a security guard job

  5. Sphiwe says:

    Hi

    It looks like many jobs are advertised by recruiting agencies, and I think that is why we never get jobs when we apply.How does recruiting agencies know about these jobs? Do they advertise the really available jobs or they’re just playing with our minds?And why companies don’t advertise direct with the letter heads of the company written?

    All the advertised posts are posted with words saying, “Our Client. “

    • Henno Kruger says:

      Hi Sphiwe – Thanks for your feedback. Recruitment agencies are paid by companies to recruit staff for them, that’s why they refer to the company as “our client”. Some companies choose to do recruitment themselves (especially big corporates). 99.9% of them are not playing with your minds, they are simply placing adverts for positions that their clients have available. There are scammers that see this as a loophole in the system them and try to defraud users out of money, but the majority of recruitment agencies are legit. We do check for scammers regularly to prevent our users from being defrauded. Hope this answers your questions. If you encounter recruiters that seem “dodgy”, please e-mail our consultant Rose via rosep@jobmail.co.za so we can investigate.

  6. Buhle says:

    I am confused now, is really (086) fax a scam? If it really a scam why many companies that advertise jobs use this fax number and if it reall why they do this to us this could be sad.

    • Henno Kruger says:

      Hi Buhle – You have to trust your gut. If someone is asking your fax 20 pages through to them on a fax number and there is no contact number or e-mail address where you can reach them on, it might be a scam. If they are reachable via e-mail or phone, they are most likely NOT a scammer.

  7. londy says:

    I have been applying through Job Mail for over two years now, but no response, I don’t know what is wrong. I have all the qualifications and I always update my CV, I don’t even get a call for an interview… I’m really confused now. I just don’t know what else to do. Some say “your application was unsuccessful”. Really? What am I supposed to do? I have now given up on applying…

    • Henno Kruger says:

      Hi Londy – Thanks for your feedback. Take note that some recruiters get up to 700 applications for a single position, so they might not always notice yours immediately. Once you’ve applied for a position, follow up with the recruiter directly and ask about the status of your application. If you don’t get feedback within 14 days you can assume that you did not get the job and move on to the next position. Hope you find employment soon!

  8. Lindokuhle says:

    I would like to know, after you have applied for the position how long does it take the recruiters to reply, because I’ve applied so many times for different positions but not even 1 recruiter has called me for an interview. Another thing why does recruiters require too much experience to candidates, like me I have a diploma in IT but no experience, how could I have experience if no one wants to hire me?

    • Henno Kruger says:

      Hi there – Ideally you should be following up with recruiters once you applied. If you don’t get response within 14 days you can assume that you did not get the job and move forward. Unfortunately employers determine the level of experiences / requirements for positions. Since some of the jobs require expertise there will be jobs that you need experience (and not just your diploma or degree). My suggestion is that you find a part time / temp position in your field to build up experience or offer to work at a reduce rate of payment / for free to build up experience.

  9. Bulelwa says:

    Hi I’m Bulelwa I have been applying for the positionS bt I don’t get job is there anything wrong with my cv please check it for me

    • Henno Kruger says:

      Hi Bulelwa – Contact our consultant Rose via rosep@jobmail.co.za. Also take note that some recruiters receive up to 700 applications for a single position, so ideally you should be following up once you have applied for a position. If you don’t get feedback within 14 days, assume that you did not get the job and move forward.

  10. Zinhle says:

    Hi
    I’m Zinhle I’ll start thanking you for taking your time &answer all our questions& give us info&tips on how to up date our Cvs, with me the thing is I did a Management Assistant course in of the FET’s &also did an inservice training in DOE from 2011 to 2013 I haven’t done anything else ever since so what do I have to put on my cv for an update cause sometime last year I got a call from an Agent a relative of mine refered them to me they ask me to email my Cv& I did but the lady call again &said can you plz send an up dated one &write your duties in full detail I did which endup making my cv a 4pages but I didn’t get the job,What could have been the reason. Now I removed my duties&goals it look very silent so I don’t know if I should put it back or not cause the reason I removed it is that I wanted it to be short&simple but am starting to think short &simple won’t sell. Confuse plz help

  11. mmachuene says:

    Check my cv pls

  12. Amu says:

    How do I get my CV to 100% I’m on 75% now and the only thing I haven’t loaded is a video, is that the reason?

  13. nancy says:

    Hi im nancy i snd mi cv many time den they cal me 4 interview wen i go there thy wnt money wat prblm here mst i paid or wat?

  14. Nokulunga says:

    Hi I’m Nokulunga i want to know about Placement boys company

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