Monday, August 8, 2011

Basic CV Errors

You would not believe the litany of basic, stupid and thoughtless errors that people make when writing their CV. Sloppy, badly-presented CV's reflect a sloppy, careless attitude. And if someone is happy to present themselves for consideration with this as a basis then they deserve to have their CV filed in the bin!

Things which most certainly won't help you win...

  • Unusual or wacky font - Difficult to read = bin
  • Name at bottom of page instead of top. If you're looking for something specific amongst a load of papers you look at the top not the bottom
  • Unusual name – are you male or female? how do you pronounce it?
  • Undated CV. Just useless!
  • Wrong address or no address. As above
  • Age: 37 instead of Date of Birth. You could have been 37 four years ago!
  • Period of employment 1999 – 2000. This could be one month or two years!
  • Surname spelt two different ways - yes, believe it or not!
  • Incorrect mobile phone number - Dear, oh dear!
  • Most recent position not listed first. Generally accepted norm is that most recent is first since it is potentially the most relevant
  • Mixed fonts and sizes - just make it more difficult to read
  • Blocks of Text – No White Space – Poor Layout = lack of consideration for the reader - difficult to read = bin
  • Hidden credentials - unforgiveable. This may cost you the position.
  • Unexplained gaps - Employers and agencies don't like gaps. Why are they there. Something to hide? Doubts = possible bin.
  • Education not listed - Why not? = doubts raised = possible bin.
  • No “action” words / Passive Tense / dull / boring - People who read a lot of CV's want to see that certain "Spark"!
  • No summary at the beginning - makes the reader and evaluator work harder = possible bin
  • 3 places at one time - Oh yes I'm afraid so = possible bin.
  • No interests or hobbies listed - Sure, you're going for a job but these give a good insight into a persons character. If you have no interests or hobbies that's not necessarily seen as a good thing by employers
  • No explanation of a non-household-name company - Sure, you know what they do but most probably nobody else does
  • Strange job title - Is this relevant to the position being applied for? Maybe it is but you can't take it for granted
  • Company specific TLA’s (three letter acronyms) - Sure mean something to you but most probably not to anyone else
  • Spelling mistakes - Absolutely no excuse!
  • Staccato phrases - difficult to read meaningfully in the context of a CV that is meant to be a cohesive document
  • Ridiculous objectives “ I want to create a company which makes its stakeholders wealthy and which, whilst at the same time adhering to the ideals of true capitalist principles, promotes the well being of its employees.” - Of course you do. Don't we all.
  • Subjective phrases – “I became quite skilled at…” - I'm sure you did.
  • Wacky email addresses - not businesslike or suitable for a professional CV
  • Very short stays – unless specifically a contract position - don't you get on with people?
  • No skills matrix (e.g. for an IT Position) - Make it easy for the reader!
  • List as having attended a course which prepares you for certification and no mention of taking the exam - Can only assume you failed.
  • Mobile not listed – no way of contacting if on your way to an interview and there's a problem
  • Dreadful grammar – “I done the…”
  • 1998 – 89. Self-explanatory. Attention to detail? I don't think so.
  • I was a “Technical Architect” – but no mention of the technologies. Very interesting but not terribly helpful
  • “Extreme” Hobbies - can be off-putting to an employer. Base-jumping might give you a massive adrenalin rush but ultimately an employer wants to be safe in the comfort that you're more than likely to turn up for work on Monday.

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