First impressions matter, particularly when it comes to a CV. When your CV is in front of a recruiter, you will normally have between 10 and 30 seconds to impress them, so don’t let your CV become a rejected CV.
To have a chance of getting the job, you must master the art of writing a stellar CV that is tailored to the position you are applying for, as well as know how to avoid the pitfalls that could jeopardize your chances.
Grammar and Spelling
There are no real excuses for this, but it’s surprising how many CVs come out with spelling errors and bad grammar. We’ve also seen the word Curriculum Vitae misspelled. Keep in mind that this is a document that reflects you, and any errors will reflect poorly on you.
Double-check your CV. Then send it to a friend who can look it over and give you some positive feedback. Sitting down and reading your CV out loud is a perfect way to double-check it. This will highlight any parts that are too long or include further punctuation.
Horrible Email Address
Do you really need to use firstname.lastname@example.org as your email address?
Email addresses like this can only be used for personal communication. Setting up a ‘professional sounding’ email address on Hotmail, Yahoo, Google, or any of the other free email providers takes just 5 minutes.
We come across some truly surprising email addresses that immediately cast a negative light on a candidate. If you have an email address, try to use it with your name. What a shame it would be to be the ideal candidate for a job only to be rejected at the first hurdle due to your “funny” email address?
Dates that aren’t right
You must ensure that you have correct start and finish dates when listing your jobs; typically, specifying the month and year would suffice. A CV without this information would be refused since the recruiter would assume you are attempting to conceal information.
Arrangement & Formats
Nothing is more frustrating than staring at a CV on a computer or on paper and trying to figure out where each segment begins and ends. Poor formatting would not only scare off recruiters, but it will also place an applicant at a disadvantage on job boards. Some job boards will fail to show a CV that isn’t properly formatted at all.
This may be appropriate on the continent, but having a headshot on your CV in the US may entertain the recruiter, but it will most likely only push your CV one step closer to the ‘no’ pile.
There is no need to have a lovely picture of yourself unless your line of work allows you to have the right image for the job, such as acting or modeling. A candidate’s ability to do the job will be judged based on their skill, work background, and education, not because they have a nice smile, at least not yet!
You can also keep the CV in a word format rather than a PDF or ZIP file, for example. Give the recruiter a good reason to reject your CV, and they’ll accept it! Note that the Word-based CV will be the one that gets into the recruiter’s HR systems and is posted on job boards.
If you’re a graphic designer or multimedia developer, avoid the urge to just submit a connection to your CV’s download page from your homepage. Again, a simple Word-based CV will suffice, and once you’ve piqued a recruiter’s interest, you can always point them to some supporting content.
Paragraphs that are long
Put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes. They want a short, snappy CV that gives them all the information they need quickly; they don’t want to read long paragraphs and are unlikely to have the patience to do so.
Your CV should be easy to scan and get to the essential meaty bits about your work background, expertise, and achievements easily.
Make your paragraphs as short as possible and bulleted as much as possible. Use a lot of white space in your CV to make it easier to read.
More and more companies are conducting rigorous background checks before hiring new employees. On their CVs, almost everyone exaggerates their job accomplishments, but lying might get you in trouble. Many candidates have tripped themselves up, with the most popular erroneous details on CVs being:
- The use of dates that are inaccurate in order to hide job hopping or unexplained gaps in jobs.
- Exaggerated professional achievements
- Inflated Salary
- Job title that are exaggerated
- Outright lies about positions and responsibilities
- Exaggerated educational successes.
Also Read: Salary Negotiation: Tips You Need to Know
Fonts That Make You Laugh
We get a lot of CVs where the writer has gone a little ‘artistic’ and used five different fonts in every color of the rainbow. The golden CV rule is to use only one easy-to-read font, such as Calibri, Arial, or Times New Roman, which is the newspaper font of choice. Avoid fonts that are difficult to read, such as Blackadder ITC, and hideous fonts, such as Comic Sans. Often, aim to keep the font size to a minimum of 10. It’s likely that reducing the size to 8 means that your CV is too busy.
Again, printing a copy and showing it to people for their input is often a good idea, and then taking the feedback into consideration.
There’s So Much Personal Data
Adding too much personal information that is irrelevant to the job is a waste of space and could hurt your chances of getting a job, just as attaching an image to your CV is pointless.
Does a recruiter need to know your age, height, weight, religious or political affiliations, marital status, or sexual orientation if you’re not pitching for a date?