In these uncertain financial times it can be a cut-throat job market out there, with dozens or even hundreds of people applying for every position that becomes available. To have any chance of being considered for a job you need to stand out from the crowd and grab the employer’s attention. Your CV is your only way to make a good first impression, and while submitting a great one may not in itself get you the job, submitting a bad one will ensure that you’re not even given the chance to impress at an interview. So what are the common mistakes people make when drawing up their CV?
Generic Personal Statements
The personal statement section of your CV is your chance to sell yourself, to convince the recruiter that you are a suitable candidate for the job you’re applying for. Many people make the mistake of drawing up a single personal statement detailing every aspect of their lives, and include this same statement on every CV they submit. This is a wasted opportunity, as if you tailor your statement to each application highlighting your qualities and experience that will suit that particular job, you stand a much better chance of catching the recruiter’s eye. At worst, a generic boilerplate personal statement can be taken as a sign of laziness and indifference to the job in question.
Irrelevant Personal Details
Although it’s a good idea to include some non-professional personal details to show that you’re a well rounded individual, if you include too much information that has no bearing on your ability to do the job it suggests a lack of focus. Try and ensure that every point you include can be linked in some way to the job you’re applying for, with no filler material that only takes up the recruiter’s time.
Poor Contact Details
Amazingly, some people forget to put proper contact details on their CV. You should make it as easy as possible for a recruiter to contact you, so include a full postal address, a telephone number on which you can always be reached, and an email address. On a related note, take a look at your email address: does it project a professional image or is it casual and light-hearted? Consider getting a highly professional email address just to use for job applications if you want to ensure you’re taken seriously.
Superfluous Words and Photos
A busy recruiter may have a large pile of resumes to comb through, and while you might think that adding a photo of yourself will help your CV to stand out, in reality your looks have no importance to most jobs. You want to make sure the most memorable thing about your CV is your potential as an employee, not the skill of some photographer. Don’t waste that prime space at the top of your CV, use it to sell yourself with words. Similarly, don’t make it hard for the recruiter to find out your qualities by hiding hard facts under pointless verbiage – be succinct, focussed, and to the point at all times.
Pay Attention to Grammar and Spelling
Nothing screams unprofessional is m like poor grammar and spelling. If you can’t be bothered to run your CV through a spell-checker then why should a recruiter take the time to plough through your typo-ridden offering? Grammar can be more difficult to get right as there are more grey areas, but take the time to proofread your CV carefully to pick out any mistakes, and ask someone else to take a look as well – sometimes, an extra pair of eyes will spot an obvious error that one person can overlook.
Although it’s important not to produce a long, rambling opus of a CV – around two pages is ideal – it’s even more important not to leave out an important detail that could be crucial to you getting asked for an interview. Have a brainstorming session and note down every conceivable fact that could be included on a CV of yours, and then organise these notes into sections. Use this ‘master’ list to check that each individual CV you send out includes everything that is relevant, without taking the scatter-gun approach of including everything in the hope it might find the mark. Also make sure all the really vital details such as a complete work history are fully filled out with no gaps that might otherwise suggest periods of worklessness or an otherwise spotty employment record.
Writing a top quality resume is an art, and the CV errors outlined above are all too easy to make. If you want to land that dream job, though, you need to have everything you can control working in your favour, and that includes ensuring your CV is as free of these mistakes as is humanly possible.