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CV Mistakes

5 April 2009 | Articles | 5 Responses by paul savage.

Working with recruiters, employers and applicants, we see many CVs every week. It’s sad to say that a high percentage of these CVs tend to have the same problems. Remember that when you are sending a CV to apply for a job it needs to be the perfect CV for the person who will be reading it. You can, if you wish get a professional cv review from us, or you are get a friend to look over it. Find someone you know who regularly looks at CVs as part of their job. Having a good, professional CV is key to getting a new job. Without one you will struggle to get interviews, not to mention a new job !  Remember : Your CV will make the difference between you getting an interview and not.

Common CV Mistakes

Now a days it is common for employers to request your CV in electronic form, but this doesn’t mean you don’t do as many checks as you previously did when you were sending a paper copy of your CV/Resumé. Here is a run down of some common CV mistakes :

  • Basic spelling and grammar mistakes 
    • Use spell check and get more than one review from a friend. Bad spellings can show your prospective employer that you are not taking the whole process as serious as you can.
  • Errors when printing out your CV
    • Employers will print out your CV eventually. So make sure you actually print out your CV to make sure that boarders line up and the CV is visually appealing. Things like tables in MS Word should be avoided if at all possible, use tabs.
  • Incorrect font used (Comic Sans MS, should never be on a CV !
    • Make sure you use only one font in the whole document. Recommended Ariel , Verdana, Trebucht MS
  • Break your CV into section with headings
    • State that this is a Circulum Vitae, at the top of your page. List Work Experience first and then Qualifications/Education.
  • Send your CV in the appropriate file format.
    • Normally employers will want your CV in WORD format, but some employers prefer PDF or even plain text. Make sure you listen to their wishes and make it as easy as possible for them to read your CV.

Also the length of your CV is very important. If you have enough past jobs or experience to fill 5 pages, please don’t add them all in. This is something that you can explain at an interview. At most your CV should be 2 pages, and include 3 to 4 previous job roles. Prospective employers’ time is limited, and when face with reading a twenty 2 page CVs or twenty 5 page CVs you can guess  as to the most appealing choice. The first page is very important, to have your contact details i.e. name, email, phone, mobile phone in one easy to access place.  If the employer can find the keywords they are searching for in your work experience earlier on, then you are much more likely to get an interview. 

Remember a CV is like a business card, its job is to get you that first interview. It doesn’t need to be particularly flashy, it just needs to explain your background as easy as possible and it should be easy to read. By avoiding the CVmistakes above you will be on the way to increasing your chance of getting that interview.

5 Responses

  1. Rowan Manahan said on 5 Apr 2009 at 11:44 am

    The ‘spellling and grammer’ joke was funny at the beginning – but all the other ones?

    Plus – talk to any employer – the last thing they care about on a first pass of your CV is your contact details. They should be last, not first.

  2. paul savage said on 5 Apr 2009 at 5:42 pm

    Hi Rowan, thanks for your comment. I guess that’s what happens when I write after being up all night ;).

    I take your point about the contact details being at the end. But I also think that having them at the front lends itself better to be able to be sorted by employers.

  3. Paul - CV Writer said on 9 Apr 2009 at 8:26 am

    Different situations may require a different approach and jobseekers should embrace the critical point that a CV is a “fluid document”.

    I agree with Rowan that generally most employers probably don’t consider contact details as critical data on a CV. Having said this most employers would probably put it top when writing their own CV so placing contact details top of a CV won’t really bother them. Let’s be honest this information takes up minimal space if formatted effectively– Name, Location, Phone & Email.

    I normally place it top when writing a CV BUT going back to my initial point about fluid document there are situations when I might consider contact details at the end of a CV … say if I was relocating and felt my current location was contributing to lack of positive response from employers. I would want them to read what I can bring to the table before they see that I am a relocation candidate.

    To make everyone happy – is there an argument that contact details should be placed on all pages of a CV – What if a page is misplaced by the employees – he loves you but can’t get hold of you – lol.

    Final point – accuracy of contact information is more important that location – received a CV with old mobile number yesterday – very frustrating.

  4. Liz said on 15 Jul 2009 at 2:01 pm

    State that this is a Circulum Vitae, at the top of your page.???????

    The correct spelling is CURRICULUM VITAE

  5. JJ said on 5 Jan 2010 at 12:26 am

    “List Work Experience first and then Qualifications/Education” Am quite surprised at this very outdated advice. As a careers guidance professional, I really do operate on the “fluid document” principal. It depends on what you want to highlight. If your Work History (better title than work experience, as latter could be perceived as a work experience programme/option) is part of a previous career path, and you have completed/in process of completing further Training/Education to persue a new path than Training should preferably come next after Personal Details as it relates to what you want to market most. This space is the “Hot Space”, the prime marketing position in your CV. Wishing all jobseekers the very best of luck. John

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