Don’t let silly mistakes get in the way of your dream job. Discover the six of the most common CV errors that will turn employers off
Words Joy Montgomery
Being concise and extracting vital information from your experience is an important process when shaping your CV. One page is ideal for graduates, while two is good for more experienced professionals so try not to exceed this! Get to the point and be clear. Avoid fluffy terms such as ‘passionate’, ‘motivated’ or ‘hard-working’ – use practical examples to demonstrate these qualities instead.
It might be tempting to use the same CV for all applications, especially if you’re applying for jobs within the same industry. Even if it’s just small tweaks, it’s important to tailor your CV for the job at hand, so read the requirements carefully. Alongside adding and taking away points, also be prepared to move around sections in order of priority.
LACK OF KEYWORDS
It’s worth remembering that when applying online, your CV will often need to contain certain keywords to get to the next stage. These will be job-specific phrases or words that relate to certain qualifications or areas of expertise. It can be helpful to pick out the most important keywords within a job spec to shape your main points – both for CV and cover letter.
Including too much detail in a CV can detract from all your good experience. Think about what aspects of your role are impressive and which are obvious. Concentrate on highlights – when you took the lead in a project, moments you implemented a new system, or the time you exceeded targets for that month. It can be helpful to restrict yourself to bullet points rather than prose, in order to keep your ideas clear and to the point.
GRAMMAR AND SPELLING
It may sound glaringly obvious but even the smallest spelling mistake or grammatical error will be an instant turn off for employers. It will make you look sloppy and not reflect well on your approach to work. So proofread, then proofread again. Then give it to a friend (or two) to look over. You might also find it helpful to print it out and read as a hard copy; the new perspective might help you you to spot mistakes you previously missed.
Another simple, yet essential, consideration is how your format your CV. When applying for jobs online it’s important to format your document so it can be opened on all computers. The easiest way to do this is to save and send it as a PDF – this way the formatting and layout will remain in tact. Secondly, depending on your industry, it might be worth having a think about visuals. Even if you’re not applying for creative roles, the aesthetics will affect how someone receives your CV. Use headings to keep sections clear and underneath use short sentences or bullet points. Try googling CV templates if you’re in need of inspiration.