CV Writing: A Must-have Skill

“We’re hiring! To apply, send your CV to….”

 “Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted….”

Any professional seeking for a job has heard one of these sentences at least once if not too many times. As a HR firm, we are often asked questions by candidates from all fields and professional levels regarding CV-writing and how to land an interview in general. Below are the most frequently asked questions that we decided to respond to.

Why does a well written CV matter?

Is CV-writing a skill that can be learned?

What are the main CV-writing mistakes that reduce an applicant’s chances at securing a job opportunity?

Derived from latin Curiculum Vitae, meaning “course of life”, a CV is a personal marketing document that summarizes someone’s career journey, academic qualifications, skills and potentials. Its aim is to demonstrate ability, willingness and particularity that proves they are eligible for a given opportunity.

Recruiters and HR professionals generally receive hundreds (sometimes thousands) of CVs with just enough time to quickly skim through them and only pick the outstanding ones. A candidate might have the most fitting experience and skills required for a job, but failure to highlight them clearly in their CV may make it impossible to convince the recruiter that they are worth being called for the next step of Interview. Furthermore, a fresh graduate with no prior work experience might never be considered for any job opportunity if their CV does not stand out at first glance.

The ability to present your CV in a way that will resonate with a recruiter is a skill on its own and just like any other skill, CV writing is learned and perfected over time.

One of the first mistakes applicants make, is having one generic CV they use for every opportunity they apply for. This drastically increases the chances of being rejected because a CV is only as good as it is relevant. For this reason, it is important to customize the CV for every application; highlighting specific qualities, skills that make one the perfect match for the role.

Another common mistake made by many applicants is having a CV with too much or too little information. The key elements that every CV should have are Personal details, Experience and employment history, Skills, as well as Education and qualifications. These are crucial information without which the recruiter cannot shortlist a CV. There are of course additional elements such as personal profile, interests and references; but these come second in order of priority.

In addition, the key words used by the hiring organization in the job advertisement to describe duties and responsibilities, should provide a hint of what needs to be presented in the CV. This means that for every application, thorough research must be made prior for the CV to be relevant to the job.

Another often overlooked CV-writing aspect is format. The way an applicant’s CV is presented sends a message to the recruiter on what type of person they are. Unfortunately, many applicants mistakenly think that as long as they have ensured all the relevant information is included, it won’t matter how that information is presented but that is not the case. Luckily, thousands of free templates can be found online for download and customization. Websites such as Freesumes and Behance are few of the many other resources with great CV templates.

We hope that with these answers, you are able to update your CV and increase your chances at upcoming opportunities.

Remember: “Action is the spark that ignites potential”-J.L

Have more personal questions related to your career? Why not book an appointment with our Team of HR experts who will be happy to assist you?

To keep up with more ITM Solutions, follow us on

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn

@itmafricaltdrw