Creating the perfect CV

Creating the perfect CV – the DO’s and DON’T’s

The words curriculum vitae mean “course of life”, but don’t take that too literally. Employers are more interested in whether you can do the job required. Your curriculum vita describes your qualifications for a professional academic career.

When designing your CV, best to take the ‘less is more’ approach. Your CV has to sell you. It takes a recruiter 30 seconds to read through your CV and ascertain if you are properly qualified and experienced for the job. Therefore, your CV has little time to impress.

Your CV should be neat, crisp and to the point – a CV should be an average of 3 pages.

Here are some tips for an impressive CV:


  • Use classic fonts like Verdana, Calibri, Arial, Times New Roman
  • Use font sizes 10 to 12
  • Promote yourself with a short and to the point introduction and motivation (5-10 sentences)
  • Check for spelling and grammar errors
  • Add the exact dates of employment at the various companies
  • Add your current title and list 5-10 duties and responsibilities in this role
  • Add key achievements and highlights for each job
  • Add reasons for leaving each employment
  • Add Matric and all qualifications – school, institute, year and subjects – your primary school information is irrelevant
  • Include computer literacy including all packages that you are proficient in
  • Avoid selfies, go for a professional head and shoulder picture
  • Send your CV in Word format, not PDF


  • Use fancy font’s, various colours
  • Use too much spaces, big fonts and spread out your CV over 10 pages if it can fit into 2 pages
  • Provide irrelevant personal information like your height, weight and hair colour and hobbies
  • Leave unexplained gaps in your employment
  • Lie or add misleading information by exaggerating
  • Type your whole CV in CAPS, excessive use of Bold and Italic
  • References cannot be friends and family, but direct supervisors and managers
  • Type CV in story form, each employment company, dates, title and duties should be clearly itemised
  • Scatter important information around your CV – personal information, contact information should be grouped together
  • Use different languages on your CV – international business language is English

Also, remember to only apply for vacancies that you are qualified and experienced for.

I hope that these tips will guide you in creating a CV that packs a punch and soon the recruiters will be calling you!

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