The purpose of the CV is to secure the interview. You have to capture and hold your audience long enough to do just that. Your CV needs to be strategically developed as a personal marketing tool. Remember that every CV is unique to the person writing it in terms of the content and layout.

Here are some hot tips and guidelines, which will help you to secure that all-important interview.


  • Never hand-write a CV – it must always be produced on a computer.
  • Absolutely no spelling mistakes.
  • It must be easy to read and visually appealing.



  • The information must be accurate, genuine and to the point - use bullet points wherever possible to keep your CV concise.



  • Personal details – Name, address, contact telephone numbers during the day and evening, also cell phone number and e-mail address, nationality, gender, languages spoken, date of birth (optional).
  • Your future employer will be able to gauge this from your educational dates, ID number as well as work history dates, so why put him under pressure and annoy him – just put in your date of birth.


Educational Qualifications

  • Tertiary and school – don’t get too detailed about school, especially if you have an extensive work history.
  • Memberships and professional affiliations – only if they are relevant.


Employment History

  • Start with current and work backwards.
  • Name of employer and nature of their business.
  • Accurate dates.
  • Job responsibilities – in bullet points.
  • Achievements – be specific.
  • Reason for leaving – in one line.
  • DO NOT LEAVE TIME GAPS – If you have travelled, then say so with accurate dates.


Interests and Achievements

  • Here is the opportunity to show something of your personality.
  • Only mention achievements that are recent and relevant.
  • You won the Employee of the Year award in your present position – yes.
  • Include school and tertiary highlights if they are relevant; e.g. head girl, captain of the first rugby team, member of the debating team, junior lecturer while studying, job relative awards.



  • Simply state that these are available on request.
  • Make sure your referees are happy to be contacted.
  • These references should be current.



  • Do provide a covering letter. Identify who you are, for what job you are applying and how you heard about it. Just a brief summary of why you would be suitable for the position. Sound enthusiastic and show you have done research about the employer.
  • Do tailor your CV to the position to which you are applying e.g. for a marketing role, make sure that your CV has a marketing slant.
  • Do highlight headings. Ensure your name is at the top of the page.
  • Do leave lots of white space - keep the page from being too crowded. It must be readable. This is as important as content.
  • Do proof read and double proof read your CV. Mistakes are unacceptable.
  • Do ensure that your verb tense is consistent – your present job should be in the present tense and your past jobs should be in the past tense.



  • Do not waffle – absolute factual accuracy.
  • Do not include letters of reference and diplomas. Do not clutter.
  • Do not state your salary. Simply state – “negotiable”. Tackle this at the interview.
  • Do not start a sentence with “I” – even though it is about “you”.
  • Do not exaggerate.
  • Do not lie.