Writing Your CV: Don’t Make These Mistakes

For the Sales Team here (and indeed anyone who is recruiting), we can go through hundreds of CVs each day searching for a suitable candidate, and there are certain things that can really improve your chances at being submitted and accepted. Ever helpful, we have a page on our website with a few pointers about writing a CV, but I thought I would share with you some of our pet-peeves (so you know what not to do, too):

– No Name

I mean, DUH. Just consider the (very likely) possibility that prospective employers or recruitment consultants may print off your CV. Yes, your name might be on the original email or the original cover letter, but what if these are deleted or lost, but a copy of the CV remains? It doesn’t look very professional on your part, and first impressions count.

– Incorrect Address (or worse, none at all)

Now, i’m not asking for your house number and street name, but your locality is crucial to know. Imagine my disappointment (and yours) if i’m working a role and your CV is passed onto me by a colleague, you’re a perfect fit so I call you up immediately and impress you with an opportunity that is competitive and suitable… only to find out you now live 3 hours away.

And, if your CV doesn’t show any address whatsoever, there will be a select few people out there who won’t pick up the phone because they’re pre-empting that you’re a no-go.

– Poor Personal Profile

Here you may include your latest employment position, or a few hobbies or interests, some key skills that you hold or qualifications that you have gained. All of what i’ve just listed doesn’t really belong in your personal profile, instead, they belong in their own separate sections: Employment History, Hobbies & Interests, Key Skills and Qualifications (seems obvious, doesn’t it?). Your personal profile should be a brief paragraph of your background, experience and career aspirations.

Furthermore, any profile that starts or finishes with a sentence like, “I am perfect for the role you are advertising and I believe I would be an asset to your business” is a serious no-no. This generic writing highlights your laziness. Write a cover letter instead; name the company, give the role it’s full title, and use details and examples as to WHY you think you are perfect for it.

(Hello! You’re now at the mid-way point, thanks for staying with me so far. Hopefully you’ll continue on to the end, and if you do, click on THIS for a little something extra once you’re done!)

– Oversharing

More often than not, a Hobbies & Interests section is only necessary when applying for a long-term/permanent position as it allows the employer to see if you’re a suitable fit for their existing business culture. For everyone else, all we want to know is that you are qualified and experienced for the job you are required for.

But, whether you put it in your CV or not, keep it brief and keep it appropriate – It should never be a longer list than your key employable skills and I really don’t need to know all 8 different sports you follow. So thanks, but no thanks.

– Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

Whatever you do, don’t fudge the truth on your CV, i.e. don’t prolong employment dates or alter job titles, change grades of qualifications or lie altogether that you have one when you definitely do not. At the end of the day, it is fraud. And, if the lie is spotted, your application will most likely be discarded immediately.

Here’s an example for you from our industry (in case you haven’t realised how pointless it is yet): contractors who lie about holding the necessary safety cards to gain access to the work site – shock horror – don’t get on site. They would be sent home with no wage, down in travel expenses and with a poor reference.

– Lack of Balance

Content is very important to get right but, that said, presentation should not be ignored. So, take note of the following faux-pas:

  • Obviously not grammar checked (how hard is it to click F7?)
  • Messy, non-paragraphed, no structure and not a bullet point in sight.
  • Totally illegible font (no, cursive font is not OK)

If you need more help then I suggest you get Googling, or better yet, give us a shout.


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