Pretoria - Despite having the right qualifications and skills required, new graduates need to pay attention to what to include in their CVs when they can enter the job market, says the Independent Institute of Education's Dr Rufaro Mavunga.
She said new graduates found themselves in the unique position of having entered higher education with certain expectations for their student years and career path.
“If you are a recent graduate who has never worked a day in your life, writing a CV and a cover letter may seem like a daunting and intimidating task,” she said.
“There is, however, so much information available on so many platforms such as recruitment websites that provide tips on how to write a winning CV."
Mavunga said it was also crucial to read job descriptions carefully to identify the required skills and experience to ensure that the CV and application aligned with these.
She said it was important to highlight skills and competencies tailored to what the advertised jobs required, and it may be necessary to tweak the CV for each job application.
Graduates are advised to use a simple format as complicated page layouts can be hard for applicant tracking systems to handle.
“When applying for job positions, it is crucial that you know what recruiters want: is it a CV or a resumé that is required?” she said. The words resumé and CV are different terms for the exact same thing, she explained. “The two differ in terms of length and detail. A resumé is usually a shorter document that in brief highlights the educational background, skills, job applicants contact details, and work history.
“A CV, on the other hand, contains similar information but is much more detailed and longer, and a person, for instance, includes their dissertation topic, articles published, memberships in organisations and awards.”
When applying for jobs in both the private and public sector, it is important to see what the recruiter has requested. Some may require a resumé, while others require a CV. In some cases, the recruiter will give a specific number of pages, and graduates should, therefore, comply with the requirements.
They should also carefully consider if everything they have included in a CV is actually necessary.
“Recruiters have to sift through thousands of applications, and it is important to ensure that the crucial aspects are highlighted and emphasised.
“In your CV, include your relevant contact information such as your email and telephone number, qualifications, work experience, skills, accomplishments through your academic career and professional career, awards, if you have any, and scholarships.
“While hobbies can be included if relevant, place more emphasis on your skills."
If there are no job opportunities advertised, Mavunga advises using speculative applications.
“Speculative applications are where you create your own opportunity by reaching out speculatively to organisations, even when they are not advertising. “So make a list of companies that are of interest to you, research their public relations material and then reach out. Think outside the box to make your approach stand out from the rest.
“Many large corporates have links on their websites for graduate employment but do not necessarily advertise these on the popular job-seeking sites,” she said.
Another way Mavunga said could help in enhancing chances of employability was the use of social media.
She mentioned social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Facebook could be used to see information that was vital for job searching.
“Creating a strong and professional presence on social media may link you with information and opportunities that can assist in the job search process.
“Social networks are also important because they allow you to connect with persons you may not normally encounter.”
Mavunga warned job-seekers to be careful of what they put on social media as employers often looked at a candidate’s social media platforms to measure whether they would be a good fit for their company.