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Career Services

5 Facts for students and graduates when drafting your CV

Having a good quality CV has never been so relevant as it is now. The CV is often the first and only document recruiters have to evaluate whether a potential applicant will be invited for an interview. Below are 5 important facts you should know before submitting your CV for a particular position

  • Companies nowadays make use of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) in the recruitment process to save time. This tool enables recruiters to automatically scan through CVs and cover letters to search for certain key words to check whether the applicants meet the job criteria, e. g. key words such as ‘leadership’ or ‘communication’. Therefore, it is advisable to use some of the key words used in the company job specifications provided when drafting our CV.

  • Recruiters are often inundated by the number of CV submissions. They also spend on average only 8 seconds on a single CV. As such CVs need to be kept brief and to the point. It is therefore prudent to keep your CV short, no longer than 2 pages, unless requested differently by the company.

  • It is very important to follow application instructions provided by the company of interest when applying for a position, e. g. “Please provide a two-page CV with two references”. By carefully following application instructions shows that you are able to follow simple instructions, and you are giving the company exactly what they are asking for. Recruiters will disregard applications that are not aligned with the job criteria.

  • When applying for a position, you need to adjust your CV according to the job specifications provided for that particular position. Adjusting your CV according to the job specifications increases your chances of meeting the job requirements and being selected. It also personalises your CV per job specifications.

  • You should endeavour to build a comprehensive CV, preferably from your first year. Indicating only a strong academic record is no longer sufficient to secure a good career. It is important to take responsibility for your career as soon as possible to make yourself more employable and to maintain a competitive edge.

It is important that you realize the importance of getting involved in Leadership/Membership/and Achievement related activities, all of which can contribute to a more desirable CV. Getting work experience, voluntary or otherwise, will definitely be an advantage, the more relevant to your career goals the better. Also completing additional courses that would be a strategic advantage, is another option students should consider, (short training relevant to the degree, or non relevant, such as the Ready for Work program) It is important for you to take responsibility for your career early on:).

Incorporating these 5 facts when drafting your CV, will definitively enhance your chances to be invited to an interview. For more employability and career advice contact the Career Services office at

Marile Roos

Projects: Manager Employability and Training

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