Top 10 CV Mistakes: How to avoid them and get the job
In many cases, your CV is the first impression your potential employer has of you. So if you want to land that all-important interview, you need to make 100% sure that your CV is up to scratch. Unfortunately, many promising candidates miss out on their dream jobs by making some of these 10 common CV mistakes. Make sure you’re not one of them by keeping your CV free from these errors.
1. Not following honesty as the best policy
While it might seem tempting to fudge a few details on your CV in order to boost your skills, lying doesn’t pay off in the end. From exaggerating your accomplishments and lying about your education to faking credentials and providing false references, CV fraud is considered a serious offence and could lose you the job instantly. Your reputation in the industry will also be damaged and recruitment agencies will hesitate to represent you again. Those who do land the job based on a fraudulent CV often end up stressed and incapable of handling the responsibilities of the actual position. So when it comes to your CV, be sure to stick to the facts and let your real accomplishments speak for themselves.
2. The one-size-fits-all approach
Your potential employer is searching for a specific person for a specific role in their company. So you can’t afford to be generic. Research exactly what they’re looking for in their job advertisements, and also brush up on their company offering. Knowing these details will make it easier for you to highlight the relevant skills in your CV that are likely to impress them most.
A CV is a professional document and not a platform to share your personal interests or other irrelevant details. Information such as marital status, age, religion, ID number or your full home address don’t need to be included. Also remove any information about your current and past salaries, older information such as the high school you attended or extracurricular classes you took as child. Unless specifically asked, don’t include a profile photo of yourself. If you land the interview, you can impress them with your style in person.
4. Information overload
Your CV is going to be stacked together with many others for your potential employer to go through. They don’t have time to read through pages of detail and just want to find out the most relevant information about you. Keep your CV no more than two pages long and only include information that’s relevant to the position you’re trying to fill. Don’t include any irrelevant work experience, such as school holiday jobs or any unrelated qualifications you might have. Information such as hobbies and favourite pastimes should also be left out, unless they help position you for the role. Less is more!
5. Mystery gaps
From travelling and studies to illness or family responsibilities, there are many legitimate reasons for being employed for an extended period of time. But on paper, these unexplained gaps can seem a bit unusual. If for any reason there is a significant amount of time between two jobs on your CV, it’s always a good idea to include a short explanation of what you were doing during this time.
6. Getting too fancy with formatting
Your CV isn’t the right place to express your creative side. Elaborate fonts, different colours, images and logos can create a cluttered effect. Keep your CV easy on the eyes by using a simple black font between 10 and 12 in size. Avoid colourful backgrounds, shading or distracting borders. Use bullet points and clear headings to keep copy neat and legible, and avoid long, chunky paragraphs.
7. Confusing clichés
While you might really be a team player, go-getter, thought leader or dynamic professional – all of these words can seem a bit meaningless unless they’re backed up by some real, hard evidence. Rather than simply describing yourself using these generic phrases, focus on showing the impact you’ve had at your previous positions instead. If you’re an impressive salesperson, highlight just how much you increased profits. Mention how your efforts helped the company achieve their KPIs. Adding facts and stats to your achievement will help them seem more impactful and impressive.
8. Why you said goodbye
Whatever your reason for leaving your previous job, there’s no need to include it in your CV. Mentioning that you weren’t happy with the role or the salary or your boss can only come off as negative. Instead, use your CV as a platform to attract new employers by focusing on your talents and what benefits you can bring to their company.
9. Not dotting your I’s and crossing your T’s
Even a small spelling or grammar error can affect the way your potential employer views your CV. Most candidates will be expected to have strong communication skills, so be sure to spell check and proofread your CV in great detail before submitting it. Be particularly careful to get the company’s details correct. Also, ensure that your file is labelled professionally. ‘CV Final Draft V3’ seems a bit messy. Instead, use ‘Your Full Name CV’ to keep it short and direct.
10. Unprofessional emails
This might seem like a bit of a no-brainer, but while many candidates spend hours polishing up their CV, they don’t give a second thought to the email account they’re sending it from. If you’re still using your fun and quirky account name for personal emails, consider creating a separate account for professional emails. Don’t forget to sign off your email with a professional greeting and your full name.