Whether you’re applying for a new role via a job board, recruitment agency or directly with an employer, there are some critical CV mistakes to avoid to ensure it’s not instantly dumped in the bin.
According to a study from CV-Library, hiring managers are instantly put off candidates if they see mistakes such as spelling errors (71%), unrelated skills (41%) and pictures (14%).
With a maximum of 30 seconds to impress with your CV, we look at some of the more obvious and not so obvious faux pas to consider and eliminate.
Typos and grammatical errors
Research by Adzuna found that 90% of CVs contain spelling errors, with two thirds containing five or more mistakes. Common misspelt words include experience, professional, liaising and responsibilities. Incorrect and unnecessary use or apostrophes was also common, especially in the education section when referring to ‘GCSE’s’ – should be GCSEs.
There is no excuse for having typos, spelling and grammatical errors in your CV and it shows an extreme lack of attention to detail. Just turning on the spellcheck function is not enough either. Check it once, check it twice and check it again. And then get someone else to check it for you.
Untailored and irrelevant skills and experience
It isn’t the case of one size fits all when it comes to your CV. Depending on the job you are applying for, ensure your experience and skills match up with those required in the job description. That doesn’t mean starting with the most relevant job first if it isn’t your most recent role – almost half of recruiters say a logical order is the most important consideration when reviewing a CV.
Explain your achievements and not just your responsibilities by using action verbs to provide evidence such as ‘increased, facilitated, created, delivered and led’.
Finally, consider whether you are adaptable. New research has revealed that adaptability is the most in demand skill of 2019, but only included in 15% of British CVs.
Sharing too much personal information
It’s nice to be open and honest, but you should avoid including information on your CV that could lead to discrimination. It shouldn’t happen in the shortlisting and selection process, but it can and still does, despite the provisions in place under the Equality Act 2010.
Being invited for interview should be based purely on your skills, experience and qualifications. As such, there is no requirement for you to include your age or date of birth, marital status and dependents, full address or photo. Interestingly, however, almost three in four UK workers think the way you look affects your career prospects.
Buzzwords are a big thing. And because they’re a big thing, everyone uses them. Do you possess ‘excellent written and verbal communication skills’? Are you a blue-sky thinker? How about a hard-working team player? Research has shown that both the latter and ‘socialising with friends’ annoys a third of recruiters when reviewing CVs.
Try using words and phrases that are more personal and specific to you. Maybe even evidence your achievements as mentioned previously. If you do find you need to use a cliché, see if you can find an alternative word using a thesaurus instead.
A staggering 92.5% of Brits have admitted to getting away with lying on their CV and over 70% got the job as a result. But if you’re tempted to be economical with the truth, don’t. Qualifications, previous employment, salaries and experience are easily corroborated – in fact, 20% of applicants failed background checks in 2017/2018 due to major CV lies.
The likelihood of getting away with lying on your CV will be down to the diligence of the recruiter or employer and their referencing processes, which will sometimes be influence by what kind of job or industry it is. At one end of the scale, you could find yourself getting caught out at interview stage or soon after starting when you can’t fulfil your duties effectively. At the other end of the scale, you could be fired for gross misconduct and your future employment prospects tarnished.
A CV should look appealing, but from the perspective that it will be an easy and quick read. According to the study by CV-Library referenced at the start, nearly 13% would dismiss CVs that were too creative.
If you’re applying for a design job, for example, then by all means, be a little creative with the design – or save it for your portfolio. But if you’re not, then you don’t need—and shouldn’t include—seven different kinds of fonts with five graphics. This ends up distracting from what you’re trying to say, not adding to it. It can also come across as unprofessional and immature.
Stand out with simplicity
In a competitive job market, it’s no easy task to stand out. However, if you pay attention to these details, you’ll significantly increase your chances of being successful in your job application.
Michelle works alongside Charmaine and Grace sourcing superstars in the realms of Information Technology! Michelle is driven by her passion and dedication to delivering IT recruitment services in an ethical manner to both candidates and employers. Some of her key accomplishments include improving staff retention levels, reducing recruitment overheads for …