Your CV is often your first point of contact with a potential employer and a well-presented resume can make the difference between getting the job and not being invited for an interview. However, despite the evident importance of your CV, there are several very common mistakes that job hunters often make.
Over the last 35 years, we’ve worked hard to ensure our students progress forward with their careers when they finish studying with us. We understand how difficult it can be when you’re sending out a CV and not getting the response you would like in return, so we’ve put together some CV mistakes to avoid to help boost your chances of landing that dream job.
Make Sure You Stand Out
It’s important to remember that employers may have hundreds of CVs to look through when a position is advertised, and while you want to include all the necessary information, you don’t want your CV to be too lengthy or difficult to read.
A CV should never be more than two sides of A4 and you should avoid using multiple colours or complex formatting like borders, boxes or multiple fonts in an attempt to stand out. Pick a clear font like ‘Arial’ or ‘Calibri’ and keep the majority of your text in black at 12 point size to ensure your CV is easy to read.
As many employers are likely to be short on time, it’s vital to express that you are specifically interested in the role you are applying for. As such, it’s useful to tailor your CV to the individual vacancy and company, rather than sending out the same stock document to everyone. This can make a big difference in getting an interview over a less obviously keen candidate.
Keep Information Concise
The constraint of length and font size does limit how much information you can add. It can be tempting to start leaving out early work experience, or make an overly short personal statement, but rather than cutting content, present the information in a concise fashion. For instance, when detailing your previous experience, it’s better to bullet point a few key accomplishments than write long paragraphs with exhaustive and repetitive lists of duties. This will make your CV easier to skim read so the potential employer can pick out the most important information about you with ease.
A logical structure for your CV also helps with its readability. We recommend starting with your personal information and statement, following on with key achievements, work experience, qualifications, interests and finally references using clear headings to separate sections.
Make Sure Everything is Correct
It might seem obvious, but errors such as putting incorrect contact information, and failing to check your resume for typos and grammatical mistakes, are very common. Spelling mistakes give a very poor impression to employers and suggest you don’t have great attention to detail, so proof read, and double check everything again, before sending.
After you’ve spent so long formatting your CV, it’s worth remembering that different employers will use different programs to open documents. You don’t want to risk losing your careful editing. One of the simplest ways to avoid this is to save a copy of your CV for yourself as a word document to edit later and then to save a copy as a PDF to send with your application.
A concise, well-structured and readable CV will have you one step closer to getting your next job and, don’t forget, our Careers Adviser is on hand to offer support while you’re applying for jobs too.
Oh and once you’ve written your CV, proof read it one more time before sending…just to be sure!