Common Errors That Could Lead to Your CV Going Straight In the Reject Pile
Did you know that on average recruiters will only look at a CV for between 10 and 30 seconds? So first impressions really do count!
That means you need to make an excellent impression and avoid anything that could lead them to throwing your CV straight in the bin. So to be in with a shot of getting an interview here are a few things to avoid putting on your CV:
A Ridiculous Email Address
They may have seemed funny or cool when you created them a few years ago, but having “ firstname.lastname@example.org” written at the top of your CV isn’t exactly going to help create that intelligent and hardworking image that you are trying to portray. It only takes a few minutes to set up a ‘professional sounding’ email address via Hotmail, Yahoo, Google or another free email provider. Try and keep it simple, preferably involving your name, and although commonly done, it’s best to avoid putting your birth year in your email address as you don’t want to offer any reason for discrimination.
Unless you’re applying for Britain’s Next Top Model, pictures are not necessary on a CV and are often frowned upon in the UK. Employers want to judge potential candidates on their ability to do the job based on their skills, work history and education not their smile, hair style or fashion sense.
Spelling & Grammatical Errors
There really is no excuse for poor spelling or grammar in a CV, especially as Microsoft Word kindly points out most mistakes to us. A CV is usually the first impression that a recruiter gets of you, so any mistakes will reflect badly. Check your CV several times, and then get a friend to read through it and give you some constructive criticism.
You must ensure that your jobs have accurate start and finish dates listed. A CV with dates that don’t match up, or even worse, no dates at all could be rejected because the recruiter won’t necessarily have the time to contact you to get the correct dates.
The last thing a recruiter wants to do is spend lots of time deciphering where each section starts and ends because of poor formatting. Make sure your CV is clearly laid-out with sufficient white space, so that recruiters can easily navigate around your CV to find the information they a looking for quickly.
We all like getting a bit artistic from time to time, but a CV is not the place to do this. Avoid using lots of fonts in an array of different colours – it might look pretty to you but it will probably just annoy the recruiter, especially if they can’t actually read it. Keep the font to one easy to read style such as Calibri, Ariel or Times New Roman. Try and keep the font size to at least 10, any smaller and it will be hard to read and make your page look crowded.
There are differing opinions on how long a CV should be; some say 2 pages, others say no longer than 3 pages. Really it depends on how much experience you have. Your most recent roles are likely to be the most relevant to the position you are applying for so focus on them the most. If your CV is 5+ pages long, then you have included too much information. Sit down and have a read through it. Is everything on there actually relevant to the new position? Unlikely! So cut it down. At the same time, if you’re near the beginning of your career and your CV is only one and a half pages long, but all very relevant, don’t feel the need to waffle just to make it look longer. Use a bit of initiative to decide if your CV if the right length.
A CV isn’t an essay. Recruiters want a CV that quickly gives them all the info they need, they don’t want to plough through long paragraphs. Keep information in short paragraphs or even better, bullet points where possible.
Too Much Personal Information
Including too much personal info that is unrelated to the job is a waste of space and could be harming your chances of getting a job.
We don’t need to know about your Blood type/ Sexual Orientation/ How many children.
Just don’t do it – you will get found out!
Try and tailor your CV to each individual job you apply for. This may seem time consuming but having a CV which shows that your experience is relevant to that specific job will increase your chances. A CV is an opportunity to tell recruiters how perfect you are for the position and the organisation so make sure you make your make the most of this chance by spending a little extra time on your CV.
Wrong chronological order
This is a classic mistake. Make sure your most recent job is at the top of the page. You don’t want your paper round when you were 12 to be the first job a recruiter reads about.
Incorrect contact details You may be absolutely perfect for the job, but if the recruiter can’t get hold of you then you will never get an interview. Make sure you double check that your telephone number and email address is spelt correctly. You’d be amazed at how often this happens!