CV writing: creating a killer resume that stands out against the competition

POSTED Jun 26, 2020 BY Jane Watson

On average, 250 resumes are received for each job position, illustrating just how competitive it is out there in the world of recruitment. There are lots of things that can quickly cause recruitment staff to take one look at your resume and put it aside, from spelling mistakes to an unprofessional email address, leaving you with little chance of finding work. Getting your resume up to scratch is therefore essential to starting the job hunting process with the best foot forward and increasing your odds of landing the job you desire. Our guest writer Jane Watson wrote this great new article for us and please also be aware that JobnetAfrica now also offers CV writing, Linkedin profile and Africa career advice

Poor spelling and grammar can cost you the job

When it comes to spelling and grammar errors on resumes, up to 77% of hiring managers will immediately dismiss a resume if it isn't proofread well, according to Fool. This is particularly true for roles where spelling and grammar will be a crucial part of what you’ll do, such as marketing or advertising. Using a spellchecker can help, but they won’t always pick up grammar mistakes. Once you’ve finished your resume, go back to it a day or two later to slowly read through it. This helps you to read what you’ve actually put on the page and not what you think you wrote. Asking someone else to read through it can also help, but make sure they have good reading and writing skills.

Use a professional-looking template and keep it short 

There are plenty of online resume templates, many of which are free. These are usually designed in a way that optimises the content, psychology, and visual perception, which will encourage hiring managers to look at them for longer. There are few reasons not to use these templates, such as if you’re applying for a design job, in which case you’d be better off designing your own to showcase your creative skills.

It’s also important to keep your resume at a reasonable length. You need to find the balance between including enough information about yourself to show off your skills and experience while not making it so long that people lose interest. Between one and two pages is usually recommended and using a template will help you to stick to this. If it starts to get too long, leave out older education or irrelevant work experience to keep it snappy. 

Be honest, but don’t sell yourself short

Research shows that some people are too modest when it comes to writing their resume, including people from different cultures and women, in general. It’s important to remember that your resume is about promoting yourself, so there’s no place for modesty on it. With that being said, it’s still essential to remain honest or you may be asked to do something you said you could by your new manager only to have to admit that you can’t, leading them to question your character, skills, and experience. Basically, if you’ve had training in something or you have a certain skill, don’t be afraid to boast about it on your resume, just make sure you can back it up. 

Living and working in Africa can be a dream come true, but you’ve got to set yourself up in a good position to be considered for in-demand roles. Be sure to show off your skills, check your spelling, and keep it looking professional.


Check JobnetAfrica for CV writing, Linkedin profile and Africa career advice and if you have any questions, contact us at