South Africa CV Writing Guide

Working abroad sounds like an adventure to many people. However, the search for work in South Africa needs more than just the obvious South Africa CV with South Africa cover letter writing and translation – it requires methodical preparation. You will be confronted with issues problems that probably did not even cross your mind when you become interested in the South Africa job search.

Do not underestimate the influence a South Africa CV can have on your adventure! For instance, you will experience the different immigration rules and practices, job application procedures, selection trends and the management culture.

The terms CV and resume are often used interchangeably in South Africa.

A CV is similar to a resume in that it provides more details about one’s professional qualifications, experience and education. However, the term "Curriculum Vitae" most often called CV, typically carries a different meaning depending on whether one distributes the CV within the US, Canada or internationally (external to the US or Canada) or is seeking a faculty, academic, research, clinical or scientific position.

You can turn your current resume into a CV. A CV is similar to a resume in that it outlines your professional qualifications and history, but it does so with more detail by adding to the resume the detailed descriptions of your educational and/or professional experiences and personal information that may include nationality, date of birth, marital status, etc.

When applying for employment in South Africa, you may use either English or Afrikaans language, depending on the company and your fluency. Stick to one language once chosen. However, you need to accept that not knowing the host country's language will put you at a real disadvantage from the local job seekers.

The aim of your South Africa CV should be to persuade recruiters to invite you for a job interview. Therefore, your CV is a marketing tool, which should be adapted to the market in which you intend to use it.

Prepare yourself - before writing your CV find out information about the company you want to work for. Such information will help you to adapt your CV more effectively to each specific job and use proper examples illustrating your achievements.

Because there are no strict rules for CVs in South Africa two types may be used - “Brief Profile” and “Comprehensive CV”.

Initially, it is acceptable to submit a “Brief Profile” in form of one page CV letter. This is a short summary of your full “Comprehensive CV” giving personal information, education and a chronological list of previous positions emphasizing your most recent or relevant position. Mention that a comprehensive CV is available. It is customary to follow up with your letter by phone.

The “Comprehensive CV” is best received when it is brief, about two pages long and in reverse chronological order. Although CV of four or five pages is not uncommon either. Personal details include your date and place of birth, nationality, telephone number and civil status.

Often the South Africa CVs are kept on file for lengthy periods, so any contact details you give have to remain accurate in the long term. A daytime phone number, with the international access code and e-mail, are most important.

In the “Education” section list with dates, schools attended their locations, your majors, diplomas and degrees. South African employers think that post-school education is very important, so put stress on relevant courses and education programs. Briefly list extracurricular activities, leadership roles, awards, honours and any extra courses, training or relevant experience.

"Employment History" may be listed in chronological, reverse-chronological or functional order. Specify your expertise and how this can contribute to the company and to South Africa. Use power words and action verbs to highlight your skills and experience. For each position, provide the name of your employer, the location and specialization of the business, your titles and the dates of your employment. Describe your responsibilities, achievements and reason for leaving.

Make your CV more effective by providing examples to illustrate your achievements. Use power words and action verbs such as accomplished, achieved, carried out, contributed, coordinated, demonstrated, developed, finalized, guided, handled, improved, managed, negotiated, organized, realized, represented, structured, succeeded in, trained, etc. Bullet points these at the start of a sentence for maximum impact.

In the final section, list professional affiliations, relevant volunteer experience and foreign languages with reference to the spoken and written level. Include the names of several references, with contact information. Because references are usually verified, inform your referees in advance. In addition, you may mention your hobbies.

Carefully consider what to leave out of your CV and exclude anything that might give prospective employers a chance to discriminate against you.

It is more popular in South Africa to apply for a job through the Internet. However, you should be aware that an electronic CV does not look the same as a standard one. Employers often scan South Africa CVs, so make your CV scannable by avoiding for example lines or italic fonts etc.

It is common to send a brief cover letter with your “Comprehensive CV”.

Check the spelling and grammar of your South Africa CV. Use the word processor's spell and grammar checker. If you are not confident of your ability to detect grammatical, punctuation and usage errors in English or other language or if you need help in organizing your CV, send it to a professional for assistance.

Remember that your CV must be targeted, scannable and generate hits. If you have difficulty with your CV writing instead of staring at a blank piece of paper, use CV samples and CV templates.

Most recruiters expect to receive a cover letter together with your CV. So, prepare a cover letter convincing the reader why you are the best candidate for the interview using cover letter writing tips.

In recent years it becomes increasingly popular to join the LinkedIn or Facebook social networking websites for professionals, where you may search for jobs and have your keyword-optimized, rich content profile with a current CV. Hiring managers use them more frequently to consult your profile and supplement or check against the CV you send along. If you do not have an account, create one and include your social media link(s) on your CV.
However, you should manage your online presence. Eliminate any photos and statements that could reflect poorly on you. From an employer’s point of view, someone who emphasizes partying on a social networking site is not focused on jobs and those who post complaints about work or colleagues are less desirable candidates. The online CV should not include sensitive information as it could show a lack of respect for confidentiality and discretion.

Other South Africa CV Info

To be successful in your South Africa job search and get the job you want, you need to prepare a South Africa cover letter and CV which you must email instantly to the prospective employers selected during a job search in South Africa.

When you receive an invitation to the South Africa job interview, you may apply for a South Africa visa and a South Africa work permit. Then prepare yourself for a job interview and take a look at the South African dress code because how you dress is one of the most important attributes in being hired.

Check the job interview dos & don'ts and other job search skills pages. Find out why people are not hired for available jobs.

In addition, on the international info, job search, visa, work permit, cover letter, CV & resume, job interview and dress code pages you will find many useful tips for overseas job seekers.

Good luck with your South Africa CV!