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6 Common CV Mistakes to Avoid

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Writing CVs is difficult so it’s not surprising then that job seekers can get it very wrong, particularly when they haven’t had to do it in a while.  Picture this you’ve spotted your ideal job online, you upload your CV and then wait for that all important phone call.  It never comes!

Sadly this is all too common, with highly skilled candidates not doing themselves justice on paper.  So why did you never get that phone call?  Here are 6 of the most basic CV mistakes that could have had an impact.

 

1. Incorrect contact details

Having your correct phone number and email address on your CV is a no brainer right?  Well, yes it should be but there have been many times when I’ve attempted to call a candidate with no success simply because they’ve put the wrong number on their CV, or worse still they haven’t listed any contact details at all.  Make sure your email address is professional sounding too.

 

2. Including irrelevant information

Before including any personal information, consider whether or not it will help employers decide if they should interview you.  Or more importantly whether it could make them decide not to interview you.  You don’t know what biases the person reading your CV might have so for that reason it’s best not to include anything that could prevent you from getting an interview including political or religious activities, age, whether or not you have children and any hobbies that might be considered a little odd.  While there is legislation to protect the candidate from discrimination during the recruitment process it really is best not to include this kind of information.  After all none of it is relevant to whether or not you can do the job.

 

3. Failing to proof read

By all means use your spell check but don’t rely on it to pick up all errors.  I’ve screened a lot of CVs and seen many “Mangers” as opposed to “Managers”, amongst other things.  Most candidates mention “attention to detail” in their CV yet those same CVs contain spelling and other grammatical errors.  To be fair recruiters are just as guilty as candidates when it comes to spelling errors.  There are at least six job ads on Seek today with Manger in their title and 15 more which mention it in the body of the ad. But let’s face it – spelling errors in a job ad are unlikely to influence your decision as to whether or not you apply for a job.  Shame the same can’t be said for the recruiter.  Mistakes on CVs are an easy way for a recruiter to weed out applicants when they have dozens of CVs to read.  Triple check your CV and make sure you give it to someone else to proof before you send it out.

 

4. Poor Design and Layout

Don’t underestimate the importance of good design when it comes to your CV.  If your CV is hard to read, badly laid out or disorganised then there is a good chance that it will be discarded without being read.  Don’t make it difficult for the reader to find the relevant information.  Use a reverse chronological format with clear headings and an easy to read font, like Arial or Calibri. Be consistent with font and size too.

 

5. Too much information

The longest CV I’ve seen ran to 20 pages and I’m sure there are some out there that are even longer.  Busy recruiters simply don’t have the time to read a CV of that length.  No one does!  Keep it relevant and stick to the facts.  No one cares about your school results if you have a degree, particularly if school was 20 years ago.      Employers don’t want to know everything you have ever done.  Tailor your CV to the job you’re applying to and concentrate on the key elements that will persuade them you can do the job.

 

6. Not enough information

The flip side of too much information is not having enough.  I recently saw a CV for a highly talented individual with extensive experience.  But other than job titles and company names in the Work Experience section there was nothing else for a potential employer to go on.  Not surprisingly the job search hadn’t been going so well.  Oh and there were no contact details on the CV either!  List your achievements relevant to each role, particularly those that are important to the job you’re applying for.  You need to make it clear to the person reading your CV the value you have added to your employers so they will want to find out more about you.

So there you have it – six common CV mistakes.  Don’t be tempted to rush the CV writing process, it takes time to get it right.  If you fail to impress at this stage in the recruitment process you may not make it to the next one!

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Guest Saturday, 24 October 2020

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