You may have spent hours putting your CV together but in reality it only has around 30 seconds to make an impact.
In that time it has to persuade recruiters that they should interview you for the role. But too often job seekers undersell themselves on their CV or fail to highlight clearly enough what they’ve done.
If you’re thinking of updating your CV or you’re about to apply for a role, read our guide to six common CV errors and how you can avoid them.
Crafting a generic CV
Most employers who receive generic CVs generally won't read them. Recruiting managers look for tailored CVs explaining exactly why – in terms of achievements and accomplishments in previous roles – the person is appropriate for the role.
Top tip: As you’re writing your CV, have the job description to hand and write to persuade the recruiting manager that they should interview you.
Check your CV carefully before you send it. Ask a friend to check your spelling if it’s not one of your strengths.
Spell check software can pick up some mistakes but it’s not foolproof.
Typos, spelling mistakes and grammatical errors
Errors like this are avoidable and show carelessness – and that’s not an impression you want to give a potential employer.
Top tip: Check your CV carefully before you send it. Ask a friend to check your spelling if it’s not one of your strengths. Spell check software can pick up some mistakes but it’s not foolproof.
Photographs, colour paper and unusual fonts
From time to time we see CVs that have photographs of the job seeker on them, are written in using coloured or unusual fonts or on coloured paper, or that have a quirky design. In our opinion, these will only make your CV stand out for the wrong reasons.
Top tip: Make sure that the words speak for themselves. Keep to a font that looks clean and to a design that isn’t cluttered.
Not including specific career information
When a hiring manager looks at your CV, they need to know exactly what you have achieved in your previous roles and how this is relevant to the job you’re applying for. If, for example, you were responsible for implementing a new way of working, say exactly how you did it and spell out the results you achieved.
Top tip: Look at the career information you want to include in your CV. It should tell a prospective employer:
- What your role was
- what your responsibilities were
- what you achieved and the benefit it delivered to your employer
If these points aren’t clear the first time you glance over your CV, rewrite them until they are.
Too much text
It’s much better to use bullet points to highlight your key achievements and skills. If you use long words and complex sentences on your CV, you risk making it harder for your prospective employer to work out what you’ve actually achieved.
Top tip: Check what you’ve written and see if you can rewrite the information so it’s more concise.
Incorrect contact details
There are few things more frustrating for a prospective employer than to have a great CV in front of them and not be able to contact the person whose name is at the top of it.
Action Point: Make sure your email, phone number and address details are correct.
Need more CV advice? Read related articles.
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For more career advice please contact:
Nic Sephton-Poultney, Country Manager (South Africa)
+27 (0) 11 881 2414