When you are looking for a job, your CV or resume is the window through which employers can look at you in order to determine whether you are appropriate for the role. They have nothing else to go on other than the words on the page and so, unless they are well-crafted and advertise you in a good light, you don’t stand a chance of being successful.
In the current climate, any job opening is going to attract multiple applications and therefore there is going to be keen competition for any role you apply for. Can you really afford to be making mistakes on your CV in such a competitive environment? After all, this is only the first hurdle and any busy employer will not be willing to consider anyone who has made a glaring error straight from the off.
So what are the most common reasons for a CV ending up in the bin without even so much as a second glance?
Spelling/ Grammar Errors –
Even if the actual job you are applying for will never require you to write anything; employers want to know that you have an excellent grasp on language. Therefore a spelling or grammar mistake anywhere in your CV is going to have them reaching for the bin faster than you can say ‘I am writing to apply for the position of…’ These mistakes do happen to the best of us but modern spell checking capabilities and the fact that you should really check and double check your application before sending it means these are unforgivable.
Too Long Or Too Short –
There are no set rules for the length of a CV but ideally it should be kept to one page. Any longer and the person reading it will be reluctant to read the whole thing and may end up not reading any of it. Anything shorter than a page will also be cause for concern as it shows a lack of experience and will look empty compared to others. If you have too many previous jobs to fit them all on one page then consider only including the relevant or important ones. You can always talk about the others when asked at the interview.
A Poor Cover Letter –
A lot of applicants will be so worried about their CV that they forget to put just as much effort into the cover letter. 77% of employers have stated that they didn’t even look at a CV which was preceded by a bad covering letter and so neglecting this part of the application could put you in the bad books from the start. Common mistakes include failing to find a suitable addressee for the letter, writing in a generic way which shows you haven’t tailored your application to the specific job role and even forgetting to attach the CV to the email.
Being Too Honest –
Don’t get me wrong, honesty is a great trait to have but there are times when it may be detrimental for you to be completely open. For example, if you left your last job because you hated it and didn’t get on with your boss then there is no need to mention this in your application for a new job. Never mention why you left your previous job unless you are asked at the interview stage. Doing this could highlight the fact that you could be a problem employee and this will raise alarm bells with the employer. Another example of being too honest is over selling yourself in your CV.
It is natural to have a few lines about what sort of person you are and why you would be a great choice for the role, but this is not a space in which you can blow your own trumpet. If you think you’re great then that’s fine but tone it down a bit so that you don’t come across as cocky or arrogant.
Writing a CV is by no means easy and so if you are struggling to create one that really makes an impact with potential employers then there are many places you can turn to for help. Recruitment agencies, like this, will be able to give you some great pointers and there are also many online resources that can help you with this.
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Chris Mayhew did a lot of work on his CV when he was out of work and it ultimately paid off. He would recommend that anyone on the lookout for a new job uses a helpful recruitment agency such as Ashley Associates.