TO GET your dream job, you need a marketing campaign - and you are the product.

Treat your curriculum vitae as a brochure. Your application letter highlights your skills and strengths. The interview is your chance to pitch and negotiating the offer is the close.

A CV has one purpose - to get you interviews. Your CV has to be readable and interesting and to achieve that, it should be concise, well-written and well-presented. Your potential employer is interested in how you fit the job so you should always highlight your qualifications, skills and achievements.

To write a CV well, you have to include the right details and be a willing and conscientious re-writer.

Your achievements

First, let's start with a list of your achievements. What defines an achievement? An achievement:

* results in more with the same resources;

* produces the same results with fewer resources;

* improves operations, or makes things easier or better;

* resolves a problem or panic situation with little or no increase in time, energy, money or people; and

* is a first-time activity for you, for instance, the launch of a new product.

To identify things you have done that you can call achievements, ask yourself the following:

* Did you take the initiative in confronting any problems, opportunities or challenges?

* Did you develop something?

* Did you create or design a new programme, procedure, plan, service or product?

* Did you identify a need for a plan, programme, product, service or procedure?

* Did you prepare any original reports, papers or documents?

A strong list of well-written achievement statements makes you feel good about yourself, gives you confidence and provides you with a selection of interesting things to use in your CV. During the interview, you can share your impressive work performance with your interviewers, enabling you to demonstrate your abilities to prospective employers.

Rules to remember

The rules to writing a good CV are:

* Write your own CV;

* Keep to a maximum of four pages;

* Give ample white space;

* Use the first page for essential, basic information about yourself -personal and contact details (mobile phone and e-mail address), qualifications, training, skills, and selected achievements;

* Use later pages to give details of your work experience in reverse date sequence, with your current job described in greatest detail;

* Write a brief description of each organisation shown in your work experience (purpose, size, output, etc.);

* List your responsibilities in each organisation using bullet points;

* List your achievements in each organisation using bullet points; and

* Use your completed work to create a summary page. Use this as a standalone or to serve as your front page.

The first or summary page is the most important. It should sum up everything you have to offer. If the recruiter does not read on, at least you have got your basic information across.

Keep the whole document succinct and relevant. Your CV is not supposed to be your life story. It is more an outline of your relevant experience and achievements. It is rarely necessary to cover more than the last eight to 10 years of your experience in detail.


Give it the same attention that you would if you were preparing a detail aid. Use plain white or cream paper. Make sure your CV is legible by avoiding fancy graphics and using plain fonts.

These include Arial, Garamond, Swiss721, Times New Roman, Univers and Verdana. For most of these, a 12-point size is best. These font types prevent you from filling the pages with too many words. With Arial, you can get away with 11 points because it is the most uncluttered font of all.

You do not have to re-write your CV for every application you make. You should instead invest your time in a targeted, well-crafted cover letter.