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Free CV in correct format and writing in South Africa 

Get a free CV, cover letter or resume in South Africa, with the  correct CV format and layout. A guide with all that must be included in a successful CV, how to write a CV and getting the interview.

According to research, 98% of CV’s get looked at for about 5 seconds. Regardless of the money you paid for it. Think about that for 5 seconds. 

Our guide tells you where to find the best 5 websites for a free CV or resume, and how to write and format a CV that will hold the eye of South African recruiters. 

Depending on the recruiter, you will be asked for either a CV, or a resume. In many countries, including South Africa, they are not the same thing. 

A resume is:

Resumes are 1 – 2 page condensed versions of CVs. Like CVs, they also include experience, education, background and skills and serves as a personal career introduction. Resumes are generally edited and adapted to include information that is specifically relevant for the current job application. Thus, resumes are usually tweaked regularly or as needed for new applications. 

A CV is:

CV’s give a fully detailed, comprehensive, year by year account of the applicant’s education, experience and career history with a strong focus on the academic. Unlike the introductory angle of the resume, CVs are more of a discussion. 

Getting yourself a  free CV, that can also be edited as required, is a smart decision that will save money, and more importantly, a great resume, that stands out and impress the recruiter is an investment in your own future. For this reason, using a plain WORD template will not catch any employer’s eye  or attention. 

To create a CV/Resume the right way, to stand out and impress the recruitment agency, is easier than you may think, but each step must be followed. 

STEP 1: Important factors to get CV layout and formatting right

Start by carefully considering the different looks and layouts of the free CV and resume templates. Paying careful attention to this part of the process means you don’t have to do it again. 

While we don’t suggest that you select a boring template design, it must make for easy, clear and ordered reading. 

Recruiters have hundreds of CV’s and resumes to work through and can easily reject or ignore a brilliant candidate’s application because of a bad layout. 

2 x Golden Tips: 

1) Remember that you have max 5 seconds to glow as a great candidate. A CV or resume is to the applicant what a display window is to a shop. You are curating your details for the recruiter’s eyes. Avoid sharing too much of your personal life, put emphasis on the buzzwords relative to the job, and aim to do it all on 1 page. 

2) While design agencies, for example, may appreciate creative CV designs, a traditional option is more suited in job sectors such as banking. 

How to create a striking CV that has order and reads easy:

– Group information blocks together with clear titles. I.e. all diplomas, degrees and certificates should be grouped together, below an Education header. The placement order should be going down and back from the most recent achievements at the top.

– Help the eye flow easy by using bullet points, paragraphs and headers. 

–  Stick to only one, easy-to-read font, with headers in bold or underlined. Ubuntu is a great font example. 

– Comfortable font sizes are 12pt for normal text and 16pt for title headers. 

– Caution on the side of less is more with colors. 3 Colors are usually enough and should be used in the same, consistent ways throughout. All headers must be in the same font, font size and color, for example. All information text blocks should also be uniform. 

– Let all the above guide you when you create a cover letter. Use a matching design and further make your application stand out.

STEP 2: South African recruiters want to see the following CV sections:

Contact information: 

Current phone number, email and physical address. Make sure your WhatsApp photograph conveys the right image. 

Short CV summary or objective:

Included in your free CV or resume, at the top, must be your very short personal profile introduction, pitch or CV summary. Use this paragraph to outline and describe your expertise, skills, and achievements, whether you are open to relocate if needed, and the best reason why you are the best candidate. 

Use this short paragraph to present and advertise yourself in the best light and encourage the recruiter to keep reading the rest of your CV or resume. Aim for 50% warmth and 50% capability. 

Tip: Consider how the following words can fit this space:

Achieved / Created / Delivered / Improved / Increased/Decreased / Influenced / Launched / Managed / Mentored / Raised / Trained / Published

Work experience:

Include only relevant job experience and list your  skills gained from top to bottom with bullet points. 

Again, present your most recent employer at the top, but leave out casual work in high school years or extra general jobs. 

This is an ideal place to explain how a past job prepared you for the job you are applying for. For example: when applying for a project manager position at an IT company, you will do well to point out your previous work experience at a software engineering company. Mention the close working relationship with HR management and the human resources training that you received at this company. Point out that you also managed a group of people in the time of employment there. Point out the financial responsibilities which you were trusted with and that part of the job, plus the record results that your team achieved. 

Education and Skills:

Recruiters use ATS (applicant tracking systems) to search for keywords that correlate between the job description and your resume. Here is the potential to show your capabilities effectively and to illustrate yourself as an ideal candidate because you can meet expectations with your skills and experience. 

Edit and adapt your free CV before job applications to be tailored best for each position. 

Consider the job ad’s keywords. Which keywords applies to your capabilities?  Catch the recruiter’s attention in this practical way. Promote yourself,  in an honest way. 

Examples of hard skills: sales, marketing, UX design and cloud computing. 

Examples of soft skills: good communication, passionate, flexibility, integrity, good team player and  positive attitude. 

Add information from the below that you are proud of if you have space left upon completion. 

– Certifications and awards

– Volunteer Experience

– Personal projects

– Languages

Triple-check everything on your CV for honesty and correctness, spelling, punctuation and grammar, plus the correctness of information. 

Spelling mistakes and grammar errors are dealbreakers, easy to avoid and yet very commonly found on resumes. Spell checker is your best friend! 

Finally, do not save the resume as a Word document because it may scramble up your CV formatting. Instead, save the file as a PDF. 

Whether you are actively job hunting in South Africa or keeping an open mind, the websites below are great to help get you a free, customizable CV or resume. They are special in their own ways with different free options in CV formatting, layouts and template designs.

NOVORESUME

https://novoresume.com/

Bonus: Novoresume’s CV templates are also optimized for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

CVMAKER

https://cvmkr.com/

RESUME.IO

https://resume.io/

RESUME.COM

https://www.resume.com/

CANVA

https://www.canva.com/create/resumes/

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