Common Mistakes To Avoid When Writing Your CV
Let’s set the scene… the company you’ve had your eye on has started recruiting, not only is there an opportunity to work in your dream industry but the role sounds really interesting! But wait… you’re not confident about your CV and you don’t really know where to start to get it to the level you need! That’s where we can help, we’ve put together a list of the top mistakes that really should be avoided when writing your CV.
Arguably the most important thing is formatting; it must be clear, concise and relevant. What you have to remember is there could be loads of applications for that one role and if your CV isn’t clear and formatted correctly then it could get lost with the other applications! It has to be easy to read and the important information has to be easily accessible; the last thing an employer will want to do is have to read large chunks of text to get to the key work experience they are looking for. We would suggest using bullet points to list your previous duties & skills and make sure the most relevant and transferable skills are listed at the top making them stand out and grab the reader’s attention.
Speaking of transferable skills, make sure that any relevant experience you have had in similar roles are listed, for example, if you are applying for a HR position but have only done Customer Service you could expand on your communication skills that helped to resolve issues, dealing with key accounts – building relationships and nurturing them etc. Pick a skill/trait that the new role is looking for and pick out the main transferable skills from previous roles – the examples above show that the candidate is personable and understanding and would be a good person to go to in times of need.
Another important factor to remember is that CV’s must be concise: no-one will want to read through a nine page CV! Although, on the other hand it isn’t always best to keep it short and sweet either – so how can you win? Most people associate CV writing with the stigma that it has to be limited to two pages; this is a good rule to try to follow but this isn’t always possible. We would suggest listing your most recent roles and expanding on the duties involved; provided they are applicable to the role you are applying for. You must make sure that you tailor your CV to the role you are applying for as previous duties may not always be applicable to the new position. Remember one size definitely does not fit all! This could be a good way to narrow down a CV without losing valuable information but still keeping it relevant to the role you are applying for.
CV’s are made to sell yourself and your skills to a potential employer so why not list your achievements too? Always try to include any achievements in your CV and make sure they are quantifiable, for example if you have won “employee of the month” four times in the last six months – get it on your CV! Another few examples to include could be meeting or exceeding sales targets, saving the company money by reducing aged debt, percentage achieved against KPI’s etc.
Finally, always be wary of Spellcheck too! It’s easy to flick through and make changes to your writing but remember these will automatically be changed to the American spelling, which means lots of “Z’s”. It’s good to check your CV with spellcheck once you are finished writing to ensure it makes sense and any spelling blunders can be rectified however, remember to stick to the UK spellings if possible.
Hopefully these hints will have helped you make the most of your CV and if you stick to these tips then you should be right on track to get the job of your dreams!