Most of us have a good idea of what SHOULD be included in a CV. But what about the stuff to AVOID?
1. Spelling Mistakes
This is a no-brainer. One of the best ways to stop typos and / or grammatical errors creeping into your CV is stepping away from it before giving it a final read. You’re more likely to stop silly mistakes, which could cost you an opportunity to be called for an interview, if you have a break from your CV. I’d also recommend asking a friend or family member to give it a once over.
2. Talking About Tasks Instead of Successes
A recruiter or hiring manager will already know what most jobs entail so a CV that simply regurgitates the people spec or your day-to-day responsibilities simply won’t cut the mustard. What makes a CV standout is when you provide evidence of your achievements. So try to think of concrete examples that demonstrate your ability to do the job. For instance, instead of saying “I reconciled accounts”, you could say, “I developed a campaign to claim all outstanding payments to the company. In three months, every customer was paid up-to-date and new credit terms applied to prevent future cashflow problems”.
3. A Fancy Layout That’s Hard to Read
A design-heavy CV makes you stand out from the pile of applications for all the wrong reasons. It’s essential that your CV is quick and easy to follow. Lots of fancy boxes, tables, or strange design elements slow down the reader and can be an instant turn-off. So use a sensible size font, make good use of headings, white space, and bullet points so you don’t end up with big blocks of text.
4. Sending a Generic CV to Everyone
If your CV doesn’t talk about the specific role you’ve applied for, you’ll potentially damage your chances of getting an interview. It’s easy to go along with job sites and their ‘one-click’ applications that let you send your generic CV to anyone in seconds. However, taking a little extra time to customise, even just a few sentences is likely to make a world of difference. Employers will undoubtedly favour candidates who want to work for them, who take time to research, and demonstrate attention to detail. Refer to a few points in the job description and match them against your listed skills to make it easy for the CV reviewer to see why you’d be a good fit – and that you’ve taken the time to create a personalised application.
5. Barefaced Lies
From upping your degree grade to saying you’ve worked somewhere that, in reality, you’ve never set foot: lying on your CV is a big fat NO. Indeed, an employer could dismiss you even after employing you if they discover you lied during the application process. It’s really easy for any employer to investigate things on your CV. A quick phone call to a ‘former workplace’, requesting your university degree certificate, or even using social media to check things: the truth will out.
6. Other stuff
- Your date of birth
- A headshot, although granted it’s is customary to include this in some jurisdictions
- Cheesy and meaningless personal statements telling the reader you’re amazing. A well-drafted CV should enable the reader to form his/her own positive opinion of you.
- Achievements no longer deemed significant due to time lapse. You are no doubt very proud of once being a school prefect, but is this an achievement worth mentioning now that you’re all grown up?
- References to basic language skills. Employers only care about those you can use in a professional context. Similarly, basic IT skills such as familiarity with Mircosoft adds no value to a CV.
- Unless a job specifically requires you to drive there is absolutely no reason to include the fact that you have a clean drivers license!
By Sanu Miah, founder, CheekyLittleCareers.com