Many skilled candidates miss out on career opportunities because of minor mistakes they have made when writing CVs.
Keep in mind, that:
- your CV provides the first impression for prospective employers
- there is only a 17% chance that your cover letter will be read
Knowing this, it is vital that, when writing yours, you get it right. If your resume contains several common mistakes, you will have less success in being shortlisted by recruiters for interviews.
Now that you are aware, let’s take a look at some of the most common errors and how to avoid them.
1. CV is too long
There are two facts you need to know:
- Recruiters receive approximately 250 CVs for each job position
- The average time that they spend looking at a CV is 5-7 seconds
As recruiters spend their day receiving and reading CVs, they do not have 30 minutes to spend on each one. If your resume is too long, they might be less likely to read it to the end.
- Communicate the important information concisely
- Explain what you did by getting straight to the point
- Write short sentences
- Highlight your achievements and results
- Use bullet points to list your tasks
- Do not go into details and do not write more than 3 pages
It can be frustrating for some of you but companies need to know if you fit their profile before spending time getting to know you. A CV is a quick snapshot of you to spark the interest of employers. If you do so, they will call you for an interview, where you will have more time to discuss your experience and talk about yourself.
2. Too many skills in the experience section
If you include too many skills in your CV, the ones that matter will be lost in the crowd.
- Tailor your resume to each job offer by selecting the most relevant skills for the role
- Organise your skills by groups, it will look clearer and will be easier to read
3. Resume not targeted to the role
If your CV is too generic, employers will not see that you are the perfect fit for their position.
It will also show that you have not researched the company and reviewed the job description.
- Your CV needs to be adjusted for each position you apply for
- You have to show recruiters that you are the perfect candidate therefore, they need to find relevant information in your resume
- Research info about the employer and the role you are applying for in order to target your CV and make it suitable for the company you are interested in
- You don’t need to go through all of your previous experiences, just pick the ones that are pertinent to the job offer. Emphasise your experiences relating directly to the industry of the company you are applying to:
For example, for a marketing role in a pharmaceutical company you will highlight your marketing experiences in the pharmaceutical industry, instead of your experiences in the retail industry for instance. While for a role in an IT company, you will describe your professional experience as a marketing assistant in a company selling computers.
4. No analysis of the professional performance
A professional resume highlights the results achieved during each experience. The recruiter does not only want to know the tasks you carried out but also the level of success you accomplished with your responsibilities. This provides an opportunity to showcase your skills, and how your experience is related to the position your are applying for.
- You need to demonstrate what results you achieved for each of your previous employers
- For each previous experience, list the relevant duties you were responsible for and the results you achieved
- Highlight your results with numbers and tangible examples
5. Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes
According to recruiters, this issue is a cardinal sin while screening CVs. One spelling or grammatical mistake and your CV might be rejected.
This is one of the premium filters used by employers to select potential candidates.
However, this can be easily avoided.
- Ask at least 2 people to read your CV to make sure there aren’t any mistakes
- Do not mix tenses: if you have written about your experience with past tense, ensure that all your experiences are described with past tense
- If you write your CV in english (to apply outside USA), make sure to use british english and not american english
- If your CV is not written in your native language, ask a native speaker to correct it before sending it to any recruiter
6. Inconsistent layout
Have you ever heard the phrase ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’? This quote does not apply when writing CVs.
A messy resume will give the recruiter the impression that:
- You are disorganised
- You do not pay attention to details
- A CV has to be clear and easy to read
- Make sure everything is aligned
- Ensure paragraphs have the same font and text size
Now you have all the information to write a CV that will get you job interviews!
Our last pro fact before you begin your interview hunt: one in three employers reject candidates based on something they found out about them on the internet.
Think about “googling” yourself and controlling what appears about you online.