March 29

The Science & Signs of a Great CV – 5 “Do’s and Don’ts” of Crafting a CV


by Roshael Hoosen, Award-Winning Recruiter and Student Psychologist

Globally, the “post-COVID-19” employment landscape has experienced a surge in the supply of talent and a regrettable imbalance in the supply of jobs. The South African market is equally fragile with an unprecedented demand for jobs that has resulted in an influx of job seekers into the recruitment industry.

To this end, at Paton Personnel, we receive about 40 new points of contact per day from active job seekers via various channels including; calls, e-mails, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

*An interesting recent International Eye Tracking study has shown that recruiters spend an average of 7.4 seconds skimming through a CV. This and the number of new CVs recruiters receive, coupled with possible CV fatigue means it is paramount that job seekers present recruiters with eye catching CV’s.

In my opinion, a CV is the “door” to a job seeker’s own unique story, and in the 7.4 seconds of screening, I want to know whether I should open that door to all the wonderful strengths, talents, skills and competencies that the job seeker possesses. An analogy (that I often use in my coaching sessions with job seekers) is compare work experience to “a car that employers want to test drive”. Their CVs are “the brochure and spec sheet” of this car. In keeping with this analogy, the CV (brochure) will help to secure an appointment for an interview (test drive).

What should one avoid including on a CV? The following are 5 aspects to remember when creating a CV:

A CV should attest to one’s individuality, where the job seeker tells his or her own story, in more than just words. Yes, CV’s can include some colour! My own CV has a small, colour, head-and-shoulders professional photograph of me on the front page. It is the same image that appears on all my professional material, giving the viewer repeat consistency.

Additionally, I believe that infographics can be used as a brilliant tool to reflect one’s level of proficiency and skills.


"A CV should be a thorough, exhaustive account of professional experiences, honors and activities," says Mitchell Prinstein, PhD, Director of Clinical Psychology at the University of North Carolina. "Anything that speaks to one's professional experiences or character would be relevant to include."

Include everything that is relevant to the role for which you are applying – from interests, to experience, to skills, and services.


Use your CV to demonstrate a holistic representation of what a company would be gaining by employing you.

I suggest that job seekers allow themselves “bragging rights” in their CV to highlight academic and work achievements, personality strengths, commendations, and references from previous employers as well as peers.


Dr. Landrum, a Psychology Professor at Boise State University urges the following: “Adapt your CV to each position you apply for”. Do not use one version and just copy and paste. “You absolutely want to tweak a CV for the environment you want to work in.”


Lastly, my recruitment colleagues agree that CVs should be accompanied by a tailor made, short and pertinent cover letter that is designed to address a the specific role for which one is applying.

What should one avoid including on a CV? The following are 5 aspects to remember when creating a CV: 

Scanned CVs are a huge no-no! Rather email your CV as a MS Word or PDF document.


CVs with no context are inadvertently treated as junk or spam mail. Please make the time to introduce the CV in an email.


Spelling, grammar, and layout errors are a red-flag. Ensure all formatting is consistent throughout your CV. This includes spelling, grammar, font size and general document lay-out.


Remove unnecessary personal information. There is no need to include marital status, health status, and number of dependants.


Steer clear from unprofessional pictures. Remove any images that include inappropriate attire, selfies, or photographs of you and friends at a social event.

My concluding remark is to encourage job seekers to influence their search for employment with impactful CVs. Consider partnering with a reputable recruitment agency to guide your job searching journey with proper career counselling.

Contact [email protected] today to get in touch with our award-winning recruitment consultants.


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