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10 Tips for Writing a Stellar CV

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10 Tips for Writing a Stellar CV

A professional curriculum vitae (CV) is a key document when looking for your next career move, and could even be said to be the face of your whole application. A well-written CV will help you stand out from other applicants and is a useful tool to highlight what will make you the best fit for the role. There are online tools that can help you build a distinguished CV, such as Elite CV or even LinkedIn.  In this article, we will cover 10 steps to writing a professional and comprehensive CV for your next application process:

1. Ensure you have the right format

There are several types of CVs, including chronological, functional, and combination formats. Each format highlights different aspects of your background and skills, so it is important to choose the right type for your needs. This will most likely depend on a variety of things such as the industry you’re working in, the job you currently have and the job your applying for, and the types of companies you are looking at applying to. You can get more information here about the different types of CVs and when they’re used.

CV Correct Format

2. Do your research and include all necessary and relevant information

Before you start writing your CV, gather all the information you need to include. This should include your education, work experience that highlights important and relevant skills, any other special traits and qualifications, awards and achievements, and references from previous roles/projects. Some examples of this include a detailed list of any projects you have worked on, the various tools and technology you have used in previous roles, any relevant industries/sub-industries you have experience in, and other details that give insights into how you fulfilled your roles in the past i.e. KPI tracking, progress reporting etc.


 Make sure you have accurate dates, job titles, and descriptions of your responsibilities, remember that CV fraud in South Africa can land you in prison!


Professional CV Star

3. Choose a professional layout

Once you have gathered all your information, create a layout that presents your information in a concise and professional way. Consider the type of job you are applying for and what information is most important to highlight, you might need to emphasize certain skills or experiences depending on what your current employer is looking for, this is why it is good practice to constantly update your CV. It is always a good idea to add a bit of a stylistic touch to make your CV appear more aesthetic and professional, however, you need to ensure the style of your CV is still formal and legible. This can be dependent on the type of work you do and industry/sub-industry you operate in. For example, if you are an engineer you can use a layout that centres around the various projects you have done, if you are in digital marketing and design you can add various design elements to your CV to showcase your marketing skills, etc.

4. Make sure your introduction is clear and captivating

Start your CV with a clear and concise summary of who you are and what you can offer in terms of unique skills and experience. Consider what kind of company culture and work structure you would best fit into, as well as what you need to best perform and utilise your skills effectively. You can use this as an opportunity to accentuate any significant achievements or career highlights. Don’t underestimate the value of company culture and synergies – include what is important to you in your role, be it independence and being able to oversee the entire scope of a project, or gaining exposure in certain disciplines etc.


5. Highlight your education

Include your educational background, the name of the degree, the name of the institution, and the date of graduation. You should also include any relevant honours or achievements during your studies. Any relevant courses and extra curricula activities should be mentioned here, especially if they are relevant to the job and/or company. If you have been working for 5+ years it isn’t necessary to delve too much into your secondary education, especially if you have an undergrad or postgrad qualification.

Graduation Cap

6. Focus on your work experience

This is one of the most important sections of your CV. It’s best for the layout to list your previous jobs in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent position. Include the job title, company name, dates of employment, and a description of your responsibilities. You can outline certain roles and achievements in more detail depending on the industry you work in and even the job you are applying for i.e. if you are looking at going into a C&I solar role then highlight all C&I solar work you have done in all your roles. Remember to include details here such as the sizes of the projects you have worked on, your key area of expertise on various projects, and any unique challenges you may have solved during your experiences.


7. Emphasize your skills

Include a section on your skills, including both technical and transferable skills. If you feel you have any lucrative transferrable skills, and are working in an industry outside of renewable energy/sustainability and wish to break into the industry, then be sure to explain in detail how these can be advantageous. Remember to consider the job you are applying for and showcase the abilities and skills you have that will make you a perfect fit.

8. Include noteworthy awards and achievements

If you have received any awards, certifications, or recognition, include them in your CV. This can include career-related achievements, education awards and honours, and even social responsibilities you have undertaken to participate in. This could be community service or outreach programmes, and even any activities during the COVID-19 pandemic to help others. This can help set you apart from other candidates and demonstrate that you are a dynamic and driven person, with a commitment to your field and giving 110% in all aspects.

9. Include professional and reliable references

Include the names and contact information of at least two professional references and be certain that these are up to date! It’s not a bad idea to check with your references before submitting your CV to confirm their details and just inform them that they may get some calls regarding a new job (chivalry goes a long way on all fronts). Make sure you have their permission to use them as references and inform them that they may be contacted by potential employers.

Verified references CV tips

10. Be sure to proofread and make any necessary edits

Finally, proofread and edit your CV carefully. Check for spelling and grammar errors, and make sure all the information is accurate and up to date. This process is always made easier if you update your CV annually, and not just when you have to submit it. Ask a friend or colleague to review it as well, to catch any mistakes you may have missed. Remember, any errors can seriously hamper your chances of solid first impressions, so go through it more than once and utilise tools such as Grammarly or Wordtune.

In conclusion, compiling a professional CV takes time and effort, but it is worth it when you are looking for your next career move. Your CV is your first opportunity to make a significant impression on potential employers, so make sure it is both accurate and professional, as well as consider the overall presentation and layout. This should be an ongoing process and even when you are not seeking a new job, you should constantly update your CV. When you partner with a recruiter, like AltGen, you will have a career-building buddy who will help you tailor a professional and relevant CV and format it to make it stand out from the standard submissions.

Sean Gibson

Managing Director

“AltGen is all about effecting change, through people. With integrity, and passion”. 

Managing Director and Founder of the AltGen’ Group. Sean has played a pivotal role in steering and leading the vision and mission of AltGen, making AltGen the only highly specialist renewable energy recruitment firm operating within the renewable energy and sustainability space in Africa. Sean oversees the success of the entire group of AltGen companies.

Sean holds a Master of Philosophy in Sustainable Development from Stellenbosch University as well as an Honours degree from Rhodes University

Robert Veith

Sales Director

“Without quality and intelligent effort, there is no success and no reward.”

Joining AltGen in 2014, Robert started as a Recruitment Consultant and has since become our Recruitment Director overseeing the Recruitment and Executive Search division. Robert has extensive experience in securing talent for rare skills in the energy engineering market, including skills to the likes of Power System Engineers, SCADA Engineers, Project Developers and Electrical Engineering skills specific to design.

Through Robert’s leadership, each recruitment team is enabled to focus on their specific area of expertise, ensuring all client hiring needs are met. Through Robert’s years of dedication to sourcing and securing top talent in the industry, he has a wealth of insight into the skills market and provides our clients with a competitive advantage in a scarce skills environment enabling them to effectively execute on some of the most challenging renewable energy projects across Africa. Robert is also responsible for growth of the engineering recruitment team.

Robert holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing Management from UNISA as well as a National Diploma in Electrical Engineering from CPUT.

Lindy Taylor

Business Development & Innovation Director

“The success of an organisation is defined by its people.”

As the Innovation & Business Development Manager, Lindy is responsible for the marketing and business development activities of AltGen. Through her big picture vision, Lindy has enabled AltGen to remain responsive in the cleantech space. She is responsible for engagements with new clients.
Lindy initially joined AltGen in 2015 and has grown into being an integral member of the senior management team. She ensures a collaborative approach with clients catering to their custom needs. Her focus is on attaining new clients, as well as handling contractual relationships with new and existing stakeholders.
Lindy holds a Bachelor’ Degree in Social Sciences from Rhodes University.

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Chris Roetz

Workforce Management Services: General Manager

“My goal is to deliver exceptional operational performance within AltGen – Northern Cape building on people, energy and sustainability”

Chris Roetz oversees AltGen’s Workforce Management division in the Northern Cape. He is responsible for the successful execution of HR advisory and management services for clients’ utility-scale projects in the region. Currently, Roetz mobilises an outsourced staff complement of over 200 employees. He also steers AltGen’s Solar Works programme in conjunction with his Pofadder based team.

Chris has 20 years of professional experience in an HR and outsourced staffing capacity within the energy environment and holds a National Diploma in Human Resource Management from UNISA.

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Muslim Janoowala

Consulting Services: Senior Consultant & Business Development Lead

“My focus is to be able to do impactful work, being in the front lines of the development sector finding solutions to safe and reliable drinking water, power and sanitation”

Muslim Janoowala drives AltGen’s consulting services arm. Muslim has 10+ years of experience in the renewable energy, water and general engineering space in Eastern Africa and has played an instrumental role in the success of AltGen consulting engagement on the AFD Green Mini-grid Programme in Kenya. His expertise caters to M&E activities, project management, impact analysis and assessments of funded water and renewable energy programmes that “enlighten” and uplift communities in rural Africa.

Muslim holds an MSc in Construction Management from Cass Business School and a Bachelor of Engineering in Architectural Environment Engineering from the University of Nottingham.

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Wiehahn de Jager

Senior Consultant & Team Lead

“The happiness of your life depends upon the quality of your thoughts.”

Wiehahn de Jager has specialist recruitment expertise in the finance sector and has worked on various mandates for large international and national clients on both a retained and contingency basis. Wiehahn has gained an in-depth understanding of the professional skills operating within the capital markets, fin-tech, and green finance space, with a keen focus on talented professionals within the African context. He has a strong track record successfully working on a range of skill levels, from Directors to Analysts, with a special focus on professionals from mid-level up to Corporate Executives.

Wiehahn holds a Bachelor in Law from the University of Stellenbosch.

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Robert Slater

Senior Consultant & Team Lead

“I love to serve people and be the steppingstone between them and their dream job.”

Robert Slater is an expert in the talent acquisition of carbon management, environmental and social governance-related professionals across Africa. Robert has successfully closed mandates for clients who are focused on sourcing skills with experience in climate change, clean cooking, sustainability, and agricultural environments.

Slater cares deeply for people and the planet, he has a Life Coach Training certification from New Insights and volunteers at ON A MISSION, an NPO which enables businesses and individuals to invest in carbon offset projects. He holds an Honours Degree in Environmental Management from UNISA.

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Natascha Marais


“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. I look for people who want to change the world and introduce them to like-minded companies.”

Natascha Marais is highly skilled when it comes to sourcing those “unicorns” for our clients in the OEM, AI and technology, economic development, and legal spaces.

Natascha has proven experience in identifying and onboarding professionals to the likes of business developers, sales, and account managers as well as technical sales or software developer skills.

Marais holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Law from Pearson Institute.


If you are serious about moving to the UK and are a PV Design Engineer or have engineering experience in offshore wind, in grid & transmission/network planning, or sub-station design and construction then let us know!
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