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Thursday, 07 April 2016 09:55

CV Writing Skills

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What is a Curriculum Vitae (CV)?

It is a short, logical summary of your personal background, academic particulars, skills, work experience, achievements and relaxation particulars.

Guidelines when writing a CV:

  • Compile a basic CV, which you update regularly or any time you obtain a new qualification or position
  • When applying for a position, you can use your basic CV, but it is very important that you provide information relevant to the position you are applying for
  • Your CV needs to be concise as well as easy to read and understand
  • Remember that you are in fact busy "selling" yourself to the specific company.
  • The reader must be able to form a positive, accurate and comprehensive image of you
  • Include information that will possibly set you aside from other applicants, i.e. achievements, distinctions and promotions
  • Be honest and do not exaggerate, but also don't be shy to admit to your attributes
  • Your CV must attract interest and attention
  • It must be set out in a logical format, which will also prepare you for the personal interview
  • Typed CV's appear more professional and will enhance your chances of getting a position
  • Your CV should ideally consist of less than five pages
  • Include details of references (previous employers) and make sure they are aware of the fact that you have supplied their names, and ensure that they are willing to give a reference on you
  • Do not include family, friends or same-level colleagues as references
  • References should be a previous manager or person you reported to
  • If you have never worked before, supply the name of a professional person who knows you well (e.g. your school principal, priest, doctor or lecturer)
  • Make sure your references' contact numbers are correct
  • It is also a good idea to include copies of all your results and if possible, your matric certificate


Example of a Curriculum Vitae (CV)


Personal Information
Address (postal and residential):
Contact telephone number(s):
Email address (if applicable) :
Marital status:
Date of Birth:
Driver's License:

Educational Background

Start with the most recent qualifications, which you have obtained. List all your tertiary qualifications – whether they are relevant to the position you are applying for or not. Remember to furnish proof of your qualifications, by including certified copies of your qualifications.

Year(s) of Study:
Subjects Completed:

Matriculation certificate (e.g. Senior Certificate):
Name of school:
Subjects and Final Results:

Also, include significant achievements (e.g. Prefect: 1998)

Work Experience

This section is very important, as it provides the employer with information about your suitability of the vacant position. Start with your present or most recent position and mention all positions of the past 10 years.
Describe your basic skills. Include the main responsibilities/duties you performed in each position.
Include special achievements or promotions.

Name of Employer:
Position Held:
Duration of Employment:
Reason for Leaving:

Also include formal and informal in-house training you have attended.


This section should indicate the skills you have acquired and how they will add value to the position you are applying for, i.e. managerial skills, communication skills, analytical abilities, computer skills etc.


Give details of at least three references.

Name of Reference:
Name of Company:
Position at Company:
Relationship with You (i.e. Manager/Supervisor):
Telephone Number and Area Code:

Also include certified copies of your qualifications, results and testimonials.