JOHANNESBURG - With the unemployment rate at 27.5percent in South Africa according to a StatsSA announcement on October 30 (an increase from the 27.2percent rate announced at the end of the second quarter of 2018), the importance of a well-structured and accurate CV must not be underestimated. Your CV is a marketing document and presentation is key.

Your CV is your first and most important step towards your sought-after position. Your CV needs to be relevant, professional and properly highlight your strengths, experience and qualifications. Use of a professional template is essential for entering only accurate information.

When constructing your CV, it is critical not to falsify information. Human resources and recruiters will perform background screening checks on prospects, some of which are criminal, credit and qualification checks. Falsifying information on your CV constitutes gross dishonesty, which warrants dismissal.

According to IFacts, the back- ground screening company, job-seekers who lie about qualifications are committing a serious act of fraud.

When it comes to references, be sure to give contact details of persons to whom you reported. A colleague, friend or family member’s details are not advisable as the referee needs to be a person who was in a more senior position than yourself and to whom you reported directly. The position and contact details of the referees are often cross-checked by human resources or recruiters.

When a position becomes available with a fairly common skill set, several hundred applications are received. It is therefore vital that your CV stands out from the crowd. Recruiters sift through hundreds of applications, often rejecting poorly structured CVs and moving on to job-seekers who have placed a considerable amount of effort into creating a professional and presentable CV.

When applying for a post, ensure that your CV is legible and laid out well. Follow basic instructions with the job advert as to how to apply, thus showing that you are able to follow instructions.

Ensure that you have read the job specification and that you fulfil at least 80percent of the requirements. Keep in mind that although you may fit the profile of the job specification 100percent, companies sometimes have other criteria that they need to consider, such as employment equity requirement quotas that need to be reached as prescribed to them.

Be aware of scammers in the job market posing as recruiters charging job-seekers for finding employment or registration fees. The Labour Department has set out the following regulations as passed under the Skills Development Act (1998) - that an employment service shall not charge fees to work-seekers exceeding a registration fee of R1.

To determine if a job advertise- ment is legitimate, it’s advisable to do some research. Ensure that no fee is charged. Check email addresses as most recruiters will use traceable corporate email addresses. Research the company advertising the post: do they have a legitimate website and contact numbers? Who answers when you call and what do they say? Check the source and ensure that the company is registered legally.

Last, don’t take rejection personally. Maintain a positive job search attitude and stay motivated.

Mel Muller is a recruitment manager at Kontak Recruitment.