Many South Africans find themselves in a position where they need work because they’re unemployed or want to find new jobs because they are dissatisfied with their current employer. However, given the competitive nature of South Africa’s job market, you need to have a CV that stands out – and once you’re in, know how to nail the job interview. To help you do this, we have created a detailed guide on how to compile your CV, in addition to tips on how to nail the job interview.
How Do You Compile a CV in South Africa?
Even if you have the qualifications or skills required for a job, you may not get a callback or an interview if your CV doesn’t meet the standards expected by the employer or agency. For that reason, compile your CV in a manner that shows off your strongest traits.
List Your Details
There should be a section on your CV that includes your details. This should include your phone number, email address, and name and surname. You can also add your physical address. However, given that South Africans regularly travel out of the suburb they reside for their jobs, adding your physical address isn’t necessary.
Tip: Below your details, you can also include the title of the job you are applying to, as this shows employers that you are the right person for the job.
Summarise Your Work Experience
Summarising your work experience is not necessary. However, it can help recruitment agencies and HR departments review your CV. This summary will be one or two sentences that condense the information on your CV into a byline that sums up your work experience.
Detail Your Work History
After the above sections, you should include your work history. Format it like this:
The position you held, the name of the company where you worked, followed by the month and year you worked there.
Then you should add two or three concise bullet points detailing what you did in the job and the responsibilities you had.
If you do not have a lengthy work history, add volunteer experience or even leadership roles you held in high school or college.
Add Your Education and Qualifications
Beneath your work history, add the qualifications and education you have.
You should add the name of the qualification, the school or body where you received the qualification and the year you received the qualification.
For example: Matric, St Cyprian’s College, 2005.
Display Your Language Skills
Since South Africa has eleven official languages, you may want to include your skill level for each language you can speak, write or are fluent in.
Include a List of Soft Skills
Beyond your education and qualifications, you should also include a list of soft skills. You can place this anywhere on the document. But, closer to the top is usually advised.
In addition to soft skills, you can also add systems that you are proficient in.
Add One or Two References
At the very end of your CV, add the contact details of one or two references. If you want to, you can add the individual’s job title as a reference to give your CV some relevance.
How Long Should Your CV Be?
Regardless of how long you’ve been working, your CV should never be more than two pages. Ideally, you want to fit all the most critical information on one page so that agencies and internal recruitment staff can review the CV. Besides, a short CV makes it easier for a manager or employer to ask questions about your CV when you are being interviewed.
Tips to Have a Successful Job Interview
If you’ve created a winning curriculum vitae, you will most likely get a call for an interview. The interview determines whether or not you will get the job, so work on putting your best foot forward.
Before The Interview
These are some of the steps you should take before going for the interview. They will help increase your confidence on the day of the interview.
Research The Company
Smaller companies frequently hire workers. So, if you are being interviewed by a smaller company, it helps knowing more about the company, like who its founders are and what are the company’s values. Smaller companies tend to have a lengthy interview process that could include an interview with senior executives – or the CEO – and requires that you impress them.
Prepare for Common Interview Questions
Most interviewers will ask the same questions about your work history, experience, and skills. Since they are interviewing several different candidates, you want to keep your answers short yet memorable. You don’t have to rehearse your answers, but try to have some talking points you want to mention and then create a list of questions you would like to ask at the end of the interview.
Some of the questions asked at interviews include:
- Why do you want this job?
- Why should we hire you?
- Tell me about yourself?
- What are your strengths/weaknesses?
Take Practice Aptitude Tests
If you haven’t been to a job interview recently, you may be surprised to find out that many businesses rely on aptitude tests to determine if a candidate is right for the job. For that reason, you may want to familiarize yourself with some common aptitude tests before the day of the interview.
Day of The Interview
While preparation helps you feel confident in the interview room, what you do on the day of the interview reflects on your character and professionalism and is the most important first impression.
You don’t need to be wearing a three-piece suit to an interview. However, you should dress appropriately. This means that even if the company you’re applying to work for has a casual dress code, you will still dress professionally.
A shirt tucked into slacks with a neat hairstyle and appropriate shoes are ideal. You can add personality with small touches like a watch, scarf, or cardigan.
If you’re wearing makeup, use neutral colours.
Arrive On Time
You want to be waiting for the interviewer, not the other way around. Therefore, try showing up to the interview at least 10 minutes prior. If you are driving, add time to your commute to account for traffic and parking at the venue.
For A Remote Interview
Since the country – and the world – is still battling a pandemic, the company you apply to may conduct remote interviews. If this is the case, there is proper etiquette you need to follow to have a successful remote interview.
Have Good Lighting and Audio
You may want to test your audio and lighting before the interview to see if you look good and if your audio is clear. Consider using a headpiece or in-ear earphones to improve your audio. Also, your face should be lit up sufficiently. Try putting a lamp – with a daylight bulb – behind your PC, or sit in front of a window. Test different techniques if the room you are sitting in is dark.
Check Your Internet Connection
If the position is for remote work, be sure your internet connection is fast and reliable. You can check this before the interview by completing a test run with a friend.
Remember that having faster speeds shows the interviewer that if you were working from home, you would have the necessary bandwidth to do the job, and it also shows employers that you are committed to working.
Sit in a Quiet Area
While you may think it’s a good idea to go to a coffee shop to get faster internet speeds, be warned: that is a bad idea. Not only could you be interrupted at any time, but the background noise and movement also makes it appear that you are unprofessional.
After following these tips to compile your CV and nail the job interview, you will be one step closer to getting the job you are applying for.