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How to write a CV in South Africa and get the job you want

aerial view of a cv on a desk next to a plant and a cup of coffee

How many people do you know that are working their dream job? Probably not a lot, or maybe no-one at all.

On top of that, it is easy to lose hope of getting a job (not to mention landing your dream job) when the job market is more competitive than ever, and economic difficulty adds sky-high unemployment rates.

So, what is the secret to getting the job of dreams? You need to write the CV that your dream employer wants to see. 

Learn how to write a CV in South Africa that’ll knock any employer’s socks off — this post has you covered.

Get the right job – with our custom CV template!

Tap the button to access the template now.

Download - CV Template

Let’s start with the format.

How to write a CV in South Africa

Your Curriculum Vitae (CV) tells potential employers whether you’re the best candidate for the job by summarising your employment history, education, skills, references, personal traits, and how to get in touch with you.

So make sure that you include all the following sections in your CV. This is the most popular CV format in South Africa:

  1. Header with contact info
  2. Personal profile statement
  3. Work experience
  4. Education
  5. List relevant skills
  6. References

And, if you’re wondering what file format your CV should be, we recommend using the PDF file format.

A South African CV format guide

A great CV could be the difference between getting the job that makes you rich, and not getting a job at all. So put some time aside, follow this post and write an outstanding CV this week.


Header with contact info

Recruiters and employers want to know who’s CV they’re looking at.

So start your CV with a header that clearly displays your full name and your role (or potential title), and lists your contact info. This way, Susan from HR will know exactly who she wants to reach, and how to do it.

You must have the following contact details:

  • Phone number
  • Email address


These are optional, but may be helpful:

  • Address
  • LinkedIn URL
  • Portfolio or website link
  • Social media (only if it strengthens your application)


Consider the job that you’re applying for and what the company might want to see from someone applying for the position.


Personal profile statement

Make your CV stand out by writing a short 70 – 100 word paragraph that tells your future employer why you’re the best candidate for the job.

If you’re an experienced applicant, then you can write a CV summary that highlights your accomplishments, progress, and a future goal. Whereas if you’re inexperienced, then you may opt for a CV objective that features your skills and how you’d fit in, instead.

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Work experience

List your current position and your most recent roles alongside the relevant employers and timelines here. The positions should be sorted from present to past, so start where you are today and work your way backwards.

Keep your older roles shorter and make your latest positions stand out by adding your responsibilities and key accomplishments.

Include the following:

  • Job title
  • Name of your employer
  • The employment period
  • Responsibilities and accomplishments



Marketing Director

Acme Inc. – 2018 -2025

  • Grew Acme’s total audience size from 150 000 to 575 000
  • Lowered the average client acquisition costs from R435 to R225
  • Hosted 7 annual conferences and increased event attendance from 10 000 to 30 000 in person (+ 200 000 online attendants) 

For some jobs, you may even want to list your side hustles, and what you’ve managed to accomplish on your own.



The same applies for your education, start with what you’ve learnt or studied most recently. 

Include the following:

  • Name of the qualification
  • Name of the institution
  • The location of the institution
  • The attendance period
  • More info: Awards, grade average, honours or coursework, etc.



Postgraduate Diploma in Business Administration

Cape Peninsula University of Technology: CPUT, South Africa

2016 – 2017


List relevant skills

Now is your chance to show off what you can do. List your hard and soft skills under this section, where hard skills are things that you learn on the job (like using Zendesk if you’re a customer support rep), and soft skills are  abilities that are universally transferable (like problem-solving).

Here are a few tips:

  • Tailor the skills on your CV to the job that you’re applying for.
  • You may add some of your skills to your other sections too (but make it natural)
  • Research what skills are most in-demand in your industry



Add the names and contact details of people that you’ve worked for (and with) here. Let your references know that you’re adding them to your CV, and try to keep this section up-to-date. If it has been several years, then check-in to see if the contact information is still the same before updating your CV.


CV template for South Africans (that you can use today)

We created a super simple, easy-to-use template for you. The template looks great, is gender-neutral and strikes the perfect balance between creative and professional.

Click the link to download the South African CV template.

The first page of the CV template contains clear instructions that’ll help you to make it your own, plus, the template was created using Google Docs, so you don’t need expensive software to edit it — all you need is a Google account.

Get the right job – with our custom CV template!

Tap the button to access the template now.

Download - CV Template

Final thoughts

Getting your dream job won’t be easy, but if you keep at it and put in the work to make your CV stand out then you can make it into the 10% and tell the world that you’re doing what you love.

Or, you can use the tips that we’ve shared to improve your CV to get a better job so that you can earn more money. The choice is yours!

Check out this article if you were retrenched and are wondering what will happen to your debt.

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Disclaimer: This website and any information herein is not intended to be, nor does it constitute, financial, tax, legal, investment, credit, or other advice. Before making any decision or taking any action regarding your finances, you should consult a qualified professional directly.

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