How to Draft the Perfect Résumé?
When you are interested in launching your search to land your dream job, the most vital thing that you need to do is present yourself as professionally as possible. This is the point where you must start thinking about writing your résumé or CV.
First things first: What is a résumé?
It is a type of document that consists of information about you. The reason why it is so important is due to the fact that you use this sheet of paper to impress your potential employer. It is basically the first impression you make when you apply for a job!
As a matter of fact, statistics show that employers, on average, spend only a couple of seconds looking at a résumé. As such, it is imperative to catch their attention during this minuscule amount of time; what you want is to have the competitive advantage that the other applicants do not have.
Types of résumé
In order to start writing a résumé, it is beneficial to become familiar with the types of résumé that exist:
The Chronological Résumé: This type of résumé lists your academic and professional background in a timeline format (starting from the most recent and moving on to the earliest). This kind of résumé is ideal for people who have a long history of employment (possibly with breaks in between) and their past employment history relates to the current job they are applying for.
The Functional Résumé: This type of résumé focuses more on your achievements rather than your employment history. It is perfect for graduates who might have a couple of internship experiences and they would like to list the skills that they have acquired during their respective experiences.
What To Include In Your Résumé?
Moving on to the information that must be included within your résumé, If you are not quite certain of the kind of information to be added, do not panic! Here is a list of everything you need to know based on the information provided by the South African Government:
- Firstly, you must include your personal information (surname, first name, date of birth, country of birth, gender, status: married/single, status of health, address, contact number and e-mail address, driver’s license ID)
- Include your educational timeline (schools you have attended and degrees you have earned)
Add the languages you are able to speak and write. Indicate the level of each (Beginner, Intermediate, Fluent or Native language)
- List your skills and abilities. It is very important for a company to be aware of your advantages. In this way, they are more likely to take you into consideration, especially if your skills match their requirements.
- Add your previous work experience (chronologically). Be specific in the tasks you performed. Mention the name of the company you worked for and the period of time you worked for them. You could also list in bullet points all the responsibilities that you had when working for the company.
- Be sure to also mention any courses you attended or additional studies. You are also allowed to add awards you have earned or leadership positions that you have acquired.
- Make sure to include references. References should come from a reliable source (such as your previous employer or a teacher/professor). Include the contact details of the person who writes the reference for you as the employer is likely to contact them for additional information regarding your background.
Updating your Résumé
After you have written your résumé, make sure to keep an eye on it. By this, it is indicated that you would need to update it several times throughout your career path. Anything relevant that you do, e.g. start of an internship, work experience, learning a new language, attendance of a new course, acquirement of new skills, winning new awards, must be added on your résumé; all of these details are important in giving you the necessary leverage to be picked out amongst the other candidates.
Add A Professional Picture
Last but not least, take a professional picture of yourself and put it on the upper left corner of your résumé (just right next to your personal information). Here are a couple of tips to make sure you get the right shot:
- Make sure to have adequate lighting. Natural light is the best source of lighting, so make sure that you take your picture in a room where light comes in from the windows and the walls have a light color to further flatter your face features.
- Wear something appropriate. As you are taking a picture for a résumé, it is important that you look professional. Think of a suit or a white collar shirt!
- Sweep your hair out of your face! You must show your face, so, consider putting your hair up in a ponytail and wear formal make-up; nothing too vivid.
- Lastly, have the perfect face expression: a small smile is the warmest and most professional face feature to show on your résumé.
So now that you are a professional in compiling a great résumé, start searching for jobs in South Africa!