Looking for a new job can be daunting at times, especially when you have the additional task of updating your CV or even having to create one from scratch. While most of us know how to put together a CV, it's actually surprising how many people make simple mistakes that could cost you that dream job. To ensure you are creating the best CV you can, steer clear of these top five most common mistakes and why to avoid them:
Mistake #1: Not including the basic information
You'd be surprised at just how many CVs recruiters receive that do not contain any simple personal information so before you begin crafting your perfect CV, make sure that you've included all the essential information required for employers to get in touch. Details such as your full name, phone number, email address, postcode or home address should ideally be written at the top of your CV before anything else. The placement of it, however, is down to personal and design preference but all-in-all, ensure this information is in your CV and avoid making this costly mistake!
Mistake #2: Writing too much
Did you know that succinctness is key to creating the perfect CV? While it's apparent that you'll need to include your skills, experiences and qualifications on your CV, there really isn't a need to present your entire career history on paper. In fact, it's best to keep it concise and as relevant as possible to what you are applying for. If your CV is longer than the commonly accepted two-page rule, then consider evaluating these aspects to shorten it:
Personal statement: is every sentence in this section necessary? Does it add value to help you land that dream job? If the answer is no to either one of those, then there's no need for it. Your personal statement should impress readers and tell them who you are in as little words as possible – it's all about quality, not quantity!
Format of your CV: have you listed your skills and qualifications in one long list that's taking up most of the space in your CV? If you've answered yes, then you may want to consider reformatting the layout of your CV to regain valuable real estate.
Here are eight more design changes you can make to your CV.
Mistake #3: Being too general
Avoid creating a generic CV and stand out from the crowd by tailoring your CV to the role that you are applying for. As CV screening and automation are becoming more prevalent across all industries, keywords must be used throughout a CV to accurately match skills and experience to the requirements of a role.
The best way to avoid being generic is to keep a 'master' CV on file that contains a comprehensive list of all your experiences and skills. That way, you can pick, choose and include only the most relevant details pertaining to the job and job description.
Mistake #4: Having a confusing layout or structure
Consider the design and layout of your CV and ensure that it's easy to read by using a layout that allows the key sections to stand out. Formatting options such as bullet points, font type, sizes and colours should be kept consistent throughout the CV with the use of any images or photos be kept to a minimum of zero as these can cause a CV to be stopped by spam filters.
The best CV’s flow well and have a logical structure throughout. For example, you wouldn’t put your work history at the very beginning and then your personal details at the end. The general structure of a CV is as follows:
- Personal information – this includes your name, contact details, and address
- Personal statement – a written description of your achievements, interests and experiences
- Education – a list of your qualifications with the dates of when it was achieved
- Work history – descriptions of previous work you have done including the dates, places and the responsibilities held
- Skills and interests – any additional information tell readers who you are outside of work
Mistake #5: Basic grammar and spelling errors
Nothing kills a CV like a spelling mistake! While this seems pretty obvious to most, it's one of the most common CV mistakes we see the most often. To avoid making this slip-up, make a habit out of re-reading texts aloud once it's completed as you'll be able to catch missed mistakes. Repeat this step a few more times until your CV makes sense and if possible, send it to someone else for another check. Or copy and paste your CV into Grammarly, which is a free tool that points out both spelling and grammatical errors.
Your CV is your shop window for an employer to find out about you, your qualifications and work experience to gauge whether you are suitable for the role. So it goes without saying that your CV should be as perfect as you can make it.