You’ve completed your studies, got your degree, sent your CV everywhere, and now your not getting invited for an interview? You ask yourself what the problem is but never find the answer. That is the reality for most students just getting out of university.
South Africa’s unemployment rate is 30.1% for the first quarter of 2020. It is unknown to what extent these statistics will grow because of COVID 19, but it expected that these numbers will drastically rise. The reasons are simple, some companies closed their doors, some simply say they can do the same amount of work with less staff and some simply can’t pay their staff.
We’ve all face this challenge, and it is now more important than ever to make yourself stand out above the others. I bet you are asking yourself how do I do it? How do I make sure that I get employment? How do I stand out from others? The answer is simple by writing a fantastic CV.
Law graduates all apply to be candidate attorneys, but each firm needs CA’s for different reasons. That is why you must never send one CV to all law firms. Writing a good CV takes some effort and time but it is all worth it when you get your dream job.
What is a CV?
CV is the abbreviation of Curriculum vitae. This is the document you use to show why you are the best person for a vacancy. Your CV is the thing that gets you through the doors, and an interview. When you apply for work, you don’t have the chance to speak to the employer and tell them why you are the best person for their vacancy.
Therefore you must sell yourself to your prospective employers through your CV. A good CV talks to the company on your behalf. Your CV must include all your personal information, your skills, education and any job experience you may have.
The universal CV
The most common mistake people make is to write a nonspecific CV. People use one CV and apply to many different companies. This is a big no-no. You must remember that each company is looking for different skills, and they want staff that conform to their needs. You CV must therefore speak to the vacancy and sending a basic or generic CV simply does not do it.
Personalize your CV to the needs of the company. The company must see from the start that you have what they need and what they are looking for. You can do this by carefully reading the advertisement, and adjusting your CV to the needs of the company. The advertisement works as a filter, and the CV either passes it or gets blocked.
I have learned that at most companies the director is the last person to get your hands on a CV. Normally the secretary sees the CV first, then she will check if the CV matches the requirements, and if it does not she throws it out before it even gets to the director.
Do effort and research the company, find out what type of law firm it is. It doesn’t benefit you or the company if you want to practice family law but the company specializes in Corporate law. This might seem like a stupid point, as getting employment is your main goal. But it is important to apply to law firms that fit into your interests.
There is nothing worse that working at a company for 2 or more years that you don’t actually want to work at. Enjoying your work is very important. If the workers are happy at what they do, the quality of work is great. The other factor is that you will always be negative at work and this can negatively impact yourself and the company.
The 2 CV system
Always have 2 CV’s ready, a summary and a detailed CV. When a firm asks for a short version and you send a detailed CV they will not look at it and simply throw it out. On your short CV, you can put a footnote in that says you have a detailed CV if they require it.
Write your own
Writing your own CV is always a good choice. The reason is simply because you know yourself better than anyone else ever would. Do some research on how professional CV’s look at what companies want from a CV. There are many great templates available on the internet. Look at a few of them before writing your own, you can even download these and edit them to fit your needs.
If you are scared that you might get it wrong. You can always ask someone to help you. Your friends will be honest with you and will tell you where you need to improve. Another way you can go is to pay someone to draft the CV for you, for a reasonable fee they will write you a great CV.
What to say
There are some basic sections in any CV. For example your personal details, contact details, your education, work experience etc. Then there are certain sections that I like to add to my CV’s. These include a short motivation, a background and any other qualifications you might have and so on.
Remember that your CV is the document that sells YOU to a company. After looking at a few examples of professional CV’s you will get an idea of what to put in and what you should rather leave out.
I believe that this is the most important section of any CV even more important than your personal details. The reason I say this is because your references are the people that will help to sell you. Although some firms do not call references and only rely on your CV itself, this can be the section that seals the deal for you or not.
Choose your references carefully. Don’t just add your parents or friends because you think they will give you a good reference. Rather choose one of your lecturers or previous employers with who you have a good relationship. The company will call these people to hear from them how good of a worker are you, do you follow instructions or are you a trouble maker.
Always ask a person permission before you add them as a reference. Adding someone without their consent can be detrimental to your job application.
But I don’t have work experience?
Don’t worry about having work experience. Firms normally doesn’t expect from graduates to have work experience. They understand that most students only focus on their studies for the 4+ years.
But it is more than likely that you do have some work experience you just don’t remember. That vacation job you did for uncle during the December holidays. The few times you worked at the bar at weddings. All these odd jobs do qualify as work experience.
If you do have work experience put it in, state exactly what you did and for how long you worked their. Companies look at work experience to determine what type of employee you will be. If you have a new job every 2 or 3 months this lets the red lights go off. Try to put the most relevant work experiences in. And always work backwards, put your latest work first and the oldest last.
Put effort into writing your CV and you will reap the rewards. We can never guarantee that you will get the job, but these steps can make it easier for you to get more interviews. And interviews helps to build your confidence.
If you need further advise you can contact us and well have a look at your CV.