The first step to any job application is obviously your resume/CV. Your CV is like a quick snapshot or overview associated with what you have achieved in your career over the years. It is also usually the very first thing prospective employers look at about “your work”, which is why it is essential that your CV is in perfect condition. If your CV fails to shine, it could be giving your recruiters a good reason to throw your CV to the side.
Sometimes if you are lucky enough to make it past recruiting, the hiring manager can reject you based on a quick skimm. Unfortunately it isn’t likely that a manager is going to read your resume thoroughly. So how do you know what to do to make sure your resume isn’t overlooked immediately?
Here is a list of 6 common errors we have seen in CVs and tips on how to avoid them.
1. It’s Vague
When employers look over CVs, they will want to know precisely what you have achieved in your previous and current roles. In addition, they want to know whether these specifics are relevant.
For example, if you were responsible for driving the growth of a company, you need to explain how you achieved this and be specific with any results you may have achieved. Detailing any initiatives or projects you participated in can add a lot more value to your CV.
Whenever you can, include metrics to quantify what you have done. Think about cost savings or how your projects made money for the company. This helps the manager see how you could bring that value to their company.
Look over the information about your career included in your CV. Does it clearly display the following?
What role you were in and when
What specific responsibilities you had
Your achievements, quantified
Any benefits that were delivered to the employer
If a hiring manager isn’t able to quickly see this information by skimming your resume, you need to update it. Change your CV until you get these points across, and follow some CV writing guidelines.
2. Unusual Fonts, Colored Paper, Photographs
We have started to notice that many job seekers think that it is a good idea to “jazz up” their CVs in the way of using fancy formatting, strange fonts and even a photograph of themselves. You may think that this might help your CV to get noticed, yet it might also give out the wrong impression.
The words that you use in your CV are far more important. Use a clean font, and ensure that the overall design is not cluttered.
Sometimes an elaborate design can detract from the information you have added in the resume. In most cases, a manager does not want to see a picture included on a resume. An exception to this is if you are trying to go into some sort of public position like TV newscaster. If you are applying for a typical corporate job, leave the picture off.
3. Elaborate And Long Sentences
If you have used elaborate sentences and long words throughout your CV, you might risk overshadowing what your achievements actually are. Bullet points are a great way to add clarity and structure to your CV. They also provide the recruitment managers with the information they are looking for in a format that is easy to digest.
Check over what you have written, and maybe rewrite your information so that it appears snappier and shorter.
Remember. your CV is a quick overview of your career and everything that you have achieved over your working years. Specific, more detailed examples should be saved for the interview. As mentioned earlier, the manager isn’t going to spend a ton of time reviewing your resume. Keep it short, concise and easy to read.
4. Incorrect Contact Information
OK, you may be rolling your eyes with this one. It is obvious, I totally agree! The issue is that it happens all the time!
There is not much worse than a recruiter or an employer holding a fantastic CV in their hand and they are unable to make contact with the applicant!
Please don’t think that the recruiter will go the extra mile to try and find you through other means like LinkedIn. They are typically sorting through tons of resumes and don’t have time for that. Not to mention it’s a huge red flag to your attention to detail.
Always make double sure that your address, phone number, and email address is correct. It is also a good idea to have someone look over it for you to confirm you have it listed correctly.
5. Trying To Use The “One Size Fits All” Approach To Your CV
Recruiters that receive generic CVs will usually discard them. They are more interested in tailored CVs that explain why from previous accomplishments and achievements, the candidate is a good choice for the role they are recruiting for.
When you are updating your CV, use the job description to help motivate why you are the right person for the job. Each word that you use should be convincing the employer that it is a good idea to put you on the shortlist or even interview you.
Also consider adding a cover letter to your application to detail why you are unique to all the other applicants. I am going to be honest, this may not always get read. A recruiter may take a look if they are wavering on sending your resume through, so it could be the tipping point to send you for consideration. Don’t use a cookie cutter approach with this either though. Only include a cover letter if you are going to put in the effort to tailor it to that specific job or company.
6. Grammatical Errors, Spelling Mistakes, And Typos
You would be surprised at the number of CVs that we frequently receive that contain grammatical errors and spelling mistakes. This is easy to avoid if you take the time and effort to go over your CV. Similar to the contact information section, when you forward your CV and it contains mistakes, it might look like you are careless or that you are not bothered when it comes to checking over your work.
If you look over your resume a ton of times, you may be blind to simple errors. It’s always a good idea to have someone else look over your resume to catch these mistakes. Make sure you choose someone who will be honest. There is also an option to enlist the help of a professional resume writer if you want to have someone with an expert eye look it over. I recommend checking out TopResume or Fiverr to find someone to help.