Inclusion of photographs

People often include photos of themselves on their CV.  Don’t!  Unless you are applying to be a model or wish to work as an actor/actress then including a photo with/on your CV is not recommended.  

Email addresses

Please provide a personal email address in addition to your current work email address. This will enable us to find you even after you have left your current employ. Please ensure that the email address you send us is in your name, and not a nom de plume or worse still, in someone else’s name.

Clear section headings/separation of sections

It is vitally important for your CV to be easy for the reader to scan quickly and, to this end, clear section headings and separation of sections is essential.  We recommend the use of lines or other graphic devices in this respect, such as bullets or numbering. In today’s fast-paced world, recruiters no longer have the time to read large, solid blocks of prose.  They need to extract the information they need – and they need to do it fast.  Long paragraphs of prose are tiresome for a recruiter to read right through and, as a result, many simply won’t bother.

Professional Profile

A Professional Profile is a brief statement at the very beginning of a CV which, in the space of a few short lines, conveys to the reader an overall impression of your key personal and professional characteristics.  It’s essentially an introduction and should give the reader an overview before they read on in further detail.

Section order

It’s extremely important to choose an appropriate order for the various sections of your CV.  For example, the decision whether to put your Education & Qualifications before or after your Career History is critical.  It all depends on what is your greater selling point.  

Reverse chronological

It is a standard convention on CVs to use reverse chronological order, i.e. to present your most recent information first, followed by older – and consequently less relevant – information.  And we would strongly suggest you make sure your CV conforms to this.

Excessive details of interests

You should aim to keep your interests section brief.  As with every other aspect of your CV, do include what you feel will count in your favour – but be selective about it.  Choose carefully.  You may indeed have a passion for model railways – but do you really want the recruiter to know that?

Date of Birth

Yes, In Zimbabwe, this is required.

Referees included

Remember to include recent and contactable referee details.

Spelling, Grammar & Typos

It is impossible to stress enough how important this issue is.  Spelling and grammatical errors are amongst the most irritating errors a recruiter sees, amongst the most damaging errors you can make – and are also amongst the most easily avoided.  The answer is to check, check and check again – and then have someone else check for good measure!

Length

This is one of the most common problems we see when people prepare their own CVs – they’re quite simply too long. We have seen CVs over 30 pages long (true!) with photocopies of all their certificates on top of that.  This is not an autobiography you’re writing.  It’s a curriculum vitae.  It’s a lot shorter!

Dress Appropriately - Some people have all the skills, but they dress inappropriately for interviews. Be presentable, descent and smart.

Be Punctual - Never be late for an interview. Plan your route and be there at least 10 minutes earlier. Use this time to switch off your phone, but don't use this time for a quick cigarette because your interviewer will smell it on you and may count against you.

Bad Mouthing Present Employer - When asked why you want to leave your current job, keep your answer positive by discussing the benefits of where you want to go, rather than deploring your terrible salary or your incompetent small-minded manager. Talk about the new challenges and opportunities you are hoping for and your anticipation at being able to put your skills to good use in an environment where you can make a difference.

Research about the Company - Research the company and the job you are being interviewed for. The interviewer will lose interest if you are not prepared. Visit the website, and read any relevant media articles. If possible read a copy of their financial results. This way you will be able to ask relevant and intelligent questions.

Do not ask about Money in the First Interview - At this stage it is about what you can do for them, not the other way around. The time to talk about salary is when you have been offered the job. If asked directly, it is best to say that at this stage you do not want to box yourself in, and ask to discuss the issue if and when you have both decided that you are the right person for the job.

Giving Monosyllabic Answers - The interviewer needs to find out about you and he shouldn't have to work too hard at it.

Be Honest - Try to stay as frank as you can in all your answers including when you discuss your perceived weaknesses. If you are an impatient person, say so, but turn it into a strength by discussing how you have learned to channel this energy into getting things done.

Questions to ask your Interviewer - this is a good time to ask who your manager would be, how many people work in the teams, and who and how many people would you report to. Do not use this opportunity to ask about benefits and how soon you can take leave.

Crossing Personal Boundaries - It is important to build a bond with your interviewer and in general he/she will make an effort to ensure you are relaxed. While your interviewer may be looking for strong communication, assertiveness and a positive character, he/she is probably not looking for a friend. Avoid asking personal questions relating to marital status, dependents, age, after work activities and where he/she lives. Appropriate topics would be common acquaintances in the field, professional association involvement, universities or schools you attended, or just even the weather.

CV TIPS

The 15 Most Common Cv Writing Mistakes – And How To Avoid Them

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