Can a CV builder help fix South Africa’s unemployment problem?

If you’ve ever been involved in processing job applications, you’ll know that it can be a pretty dire process. Every time you open up a position, you’ll be hit with a litany of badly-written CVs with spelling and grammar errors, awkward fonts, and completely irrelevant information.

In a bid to help fix that, skincare brand Clere for Men has launched a CV builder to at least give job applicants a better chance at getting a foot in the door.

The CV builder, as well as the revamped Clere for Men site, is a collaboration between Retroviral and boutique design agency Wonderland Collective.

According to Retroviral owner Mike Sharman, the idea was inspired by the deluge of unsolicited, badly-constructed CVs that come through his inbox on a daily basis.

“I receive unsolicited mails – weekly – from graduates, matriculants, and experienced industry individuals, vying for a potential role at Retroviral; anything,” he writes on his personal blog. “The mails are terrible. I’ve seen more attractive, Comic Sans, conference, communication spam. The urge to delete is strong”.

The site isn’t just about CVs though. Aimed particularly at men, it also provides grooming and styling tips as it looks to help job candidates improve their whole package.

“If you start off smelling good,” Sharman writes, “it’s a shorter leap to then feel good, and once you feel good, you’re on your way to looking good (with a few pointers on the style front required). These are the key factors for enhancing your confidence”.

“Everything in life is about confidence,” he adds. “This brings us full circle to actually stepping foot into the interview situation to land the job you are after. Your paperwork has to be in order, your CV needs to look slick, but the piece of paper isn’t going to win you the job. You – the person – are!”

It’s a noble idea and something that could be helpful to a number of people, but it’s up against some seriously harsh odds. South Africa has a major unemployment problem. At least a quarter of the country’s willing labour force is without work. And that’s a stat that multiple government and civil society efforts have failed to make a real dent in.

The Clere for Men site might give qualified people with internet access a better chance, but it’s important to remember that there’s plenty it can’t fix.



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