Ten Things to Avoid When Writing Your CV

8th August 2013 Joe Graham Careers and Finance

Writing a CV is all about making a good impression. It is your one chance to offer a potential employer a brief snapshot of who you are as a person: your skill set, your qualifications and your best attributes. In the current job market, graduates are fighting for the best posts so it is crucial that you get your CV right to ensure you stand out among the rest.
Ultimately, it is good to think of your CV as a tool. Its purpose is two-fold. Firstly, to get past a recruiter and in front of a potential employer and secondly, to impress the employer so they want to interview you.

Here are the ten things to avoid when writing your CV to keep it out an employer’s bin:

1. Don’t Send an Old CV

If you haven’t updated your CV in months – or even years – it won’t sell you as effectively as it could. Students and graduates who have taken part in training, work experience or a part time job are learning all the time. Detail and demonstrate as much of that learning as possible so to give potential employers a true snapshot of what you can offer.

2. Avoid Sending a Generic CV

Many jobseekers are guilty of this. Whilst applying for jobs can be tedious and time consuming, sending a CV listing every GCSE and certificate that one ever received is pointless. The same is true for including experience which is irrelevant to the job being advertised.

3. Don’t Submit a CV Longer than 2 Pages

This rule will help to keep your CV specific to the job role at hand. Additionally, don’t try to cheat the 2 page rule by making the font so small that no one can read it.

4. Spelling Mistakes

This one ought to go without saying but do not forget to proofread your CV. Get family members and friends to read through it, too. If an employer’s first impression of you is a bad one then any subsequent impressions will be shaded by it too and chances are that you will not be called back for an interview, no matter how much experience you have.

5. Generalising and Rambling

Don’t make a sweeping statement without experience or qualifications to back it up. Employers are not looking for you to explain everything that you have ever done. Instead, include key elements which showcase your strengths.

6. Don’t Highlight Duties, Highlight Achievements

There’s no use in copying your responsibilities from old job roles. You should use your CV to find ways to detail what you actually achieved whilst you were there, whether that be time-saving activities, new procedures or increased sales.

7. Avoid Using Clichés

Anyone can write ‘hard working’ or ‘works well in a team’. If you have detailed your achievements throughout your CV, these skills should be evident without having to list them.

8. Poor Design

Layout should always be second stage to the content, unless you are applying for a design role. Choose a simple black font against a white background to make it easier to read and digest.

9. Incorrect Contact Details

Make sure that your contact details are correct and up-to-date before sending out your CV. Additionally, do not include inappropriate email addresses. If your email address is immature or unprofessional then create a new one.

10. Don’t Include Fake References

References are a great way of adding some real value to your CV. If you do not have any, don’t manufacture your own as employers will ask for the contact details and you could end up looking silly.
Once your CV is complete, read through it and read through it again. Then, get a second opinion before sending it off to any employers.

And finally (bonus tip)….

11. Apply your skill set to any number of jobs

Your skills can be cross functional, so even though you have done a degree in graphic design, you can take the skills from this and get a job in another area that may interest you, such as Marketing. Don’t be fooled into thinking you have to do exactly what your degree was in.

Joe Graham

Joe Graham

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