Job hunters are seen in this file image.File photo: Andrea Comas

Johannesburg - Matriculants, graduates and employees looking to make a career change in 2016 are all facing the same assignment, sending out their CV to apply for prospective jobs.

“The first task at hand is for them to compile or update their CV, but this is not the only action required when you are actively looking for a job,” says Angelique Robbertse, product and marketing manager for Job Mail.

The end of the year and the beginning of a new one often see employees reflecting on their careers and taking action to make a job or career change. For them, the immediate requirement will be to update their CVs to showcase their most recent job experience, the skills they have acquired since the last update and new references.

“If you’re a matriculant or graduate the job at hand is a bit different. You need to compile a framework for your CV and fill in the blank spaces,” she says.

The key is to keep the content short, but detailed, even if you don’t have a track record of work or internship experience in your field of choice. “Here new job seekers often stumble as they feel they have very little to say and therefore include unnecessary information,” says Robbertse.

Online careers portal Job Mail shares a checklist of five actions job seekers need to take to make themselves stand out when applying for a job and going for an interview:

Ensure a professional CV: Keep it short, no longer than four pages and make sure it’s up to date and contains information that is relevant to the position applied for. Include a covering letter explaining why employers should consider you and what experience and skills you have that align to the position advertised. Customise the covering letter for every position you apply for.

Clean up your digital footprint: More than 75% of recruiters and employers use social media profiles to reference a candidate. Clean up your social media profiles by untagging yourself from unprofessional photos that may discourage potential employers from hiring you. If preferred, you can set your social media privacy setting to private, so that only friends or people you provided permission to, can view your profile. Update your LinkedIn profile and include links to your other social media accounts if they are professional and suitable. If you have a blog, include a link to it too.

Network on Twitter: Follow industry leaders, experts and companies in your field and interact with them. Twitter is one of the best networking tools, so use it to your advantage to access and consume the latest news, trends and reports to stay informed.

Research prospective employers: Research the company once you’re invited for an interview. Find out which services or products the company offers. Useful information include its work culture, what its employees are saying about their experiences working there and the company’s latest news. You’ll make a good first impression if you’re knowledgeable about the company. Ask questions during the interview, it shows that you’re interested in the company and keen to understand your potential work environment.

Register your CV on online job portals: By registering your CV on an online job portal you’ll gain wider exposure and build your online profile. This will also increase your chances of being head hunted by potential employers.

“Remember that your CV has to highlight you as a professional who can add value to the company with your unique set of skills and experiences. Take the time to compile an exceptional CV as you only have one chance to make a good impression,” she says.

Adapted from a press release