A job application and a resume, or CV, are still the most important documents required when applying for a job. Make your CV and application relevant to the position you are applying for, regardless of whether or not you are basing them on a job announcement. If you are writing an open application, find out the requirements and needs of the particular employer. All requirements need not be met, but if you are lacking in a certain area, think of options for developing yourself.
A resume/CV should include the following:
- Date: When using an existing template, always remember to update the date.
- Applicant’s details: Verify the validity of your details and potential links to online sources, such as a LinkedIn profile, blog or, for example, a Prezi presentation. Depending on content, presentations can also be under another section. For example, a blog may constitute a work sample.
- Profile: A brief summary about you/your skills, strengths and goals in relation to the position applied for. Matters related to the teaching profession should be emphasised when applying for a teacher position, while the same applicant may well focus on different areas when applying for, for example, an administrative position.
- Education: Degrees/target degree, starting from the most recent
- Job experience: You can itemise your job experience either chronologically or by focusing on the experience most relevant to the applied position.
- Language skills: Written and oral skill levels, itemised by language
- IT skills/other skills relevant to the applied position
- Elected positions and equivalent
- Hobbies: Not necessary, but these provide information on you as an applicant.
- Referees: It is advisable to have referees. If some time has passed since you originally asked for their recommendation, they should be asked in advance for consent and informed of your application intentions.
- Photograph: Your photo should be appropriate, representing only you – no group Christmas photos and the like.
You can maintain a crude CV/portfolio where you collect experiences and skills gained. However, always remember to individualise your CV for the position to which you are applying. A template application and CV are available in the Job seeking guide.
A job application is a concise marketing letter focused on you, with the objective of convincing the recruiter that the position in question motivates you and that you are in the possession of the required skills, or at least willing to develop yourself.
Your CV should be easy to skim through and clear. Make it easy to find the key details: use headings and groupings. Highlight matters relevant to the position to which you are applying. It is also advisable to think about the type of job you are applying to. Does a modicum of creativity work, or is it best to stick to a more conventional approach? Content is, however, always key.
Many businesses and organisations use e-recruitment systems, in addition to which you can store your CV on databases employed by recruitment businesses, such as Monster and Adecco. These forms should be filled conscientiously, leaving no section unfilled.
Here are some tips for using CV databases:
1.) The CV heading is important and will be uploaded to the service. Bad headings are those that don’t profile you in any way, such as “Best!!!” or “Average Joe CV”. Instead, “Recently graduated MsSocSc, interested in HR” or “Humanist skilled in project management” are much more illustrative.
2.) Search engines pick search terms, so use them. Search terms include skills and titles, such as sales manager. Try to use search terms in their basic form in your CV. If this is impossible or search terms do not fit into the layout of your CV, you can add terms at the end of your CV in white font, which makes them visible only to search engines.
3.) Often, only recently added CVs are searched for, so remember to update yours with sufficient frequency. Your CV can rise to the top even with the smallest of amendments.
4.) Misspellings are unacceptable. Show your CV to others to get feedback.