A typical corporate job posting will attract approximately 250 CVs on average.  How well does your CV stand out?  Well avoiding the most common errors with CVs will help.  Here they are in summary:

  1. Underselling Yourself is one of the most common problems with CVs. Candidates do not describe their achievements and grab the credit they deserve.  All too often there is a list of duties under each role and candidates are silent on the impact they have had.  It’s not a time for false modesty and using the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) can help you capture the achievements.
  2. Poor Spelling / Grammar gives the prospective employer a bad first impression – and one you are likely not to recover from. Make sure you take time to carry out a proper quality check.  In addition, get someone to read it for you.  There really is no excuse for these type of errors – so make sure you create the right first impression!
  3. Personal Statement – too vague / general / bland. Does your personal statement explicitly describe your expertise, experience and what you have to offer?  Ensure you are including information that focuses on the needs of the organisation that you want to join.
  4. CV not tailored to suit role. Are you guilty of sending the same CV out when applying for a range of different roles?  Spending 15 – 20 minutes tailoring your CV to fit the role you are applying for is time well spent and increases your chances of securing that interview.  Spending a small amount of time can help to show you as a candidate who really does fit the role on offer.
  5. Structure / Format. Do you make it easy for the reader? Or are you more interested in getting as much information crammed into 2 pages? If your CV is not easy on the eye, there is a real danger it won’t get read.  Remember, you could be competing with another 249 CVs!  Have clear headings, use of bullets and white space, and having a logical flow will help you tell your story in a way that others will want to read.
  6. Length of CV – at times CVs are just too long. There can be a tendency to not wanting to leave anything out and this can result in a comprehensive document that contains all the information relating to your whole career.  It might be well written, accurate and something you are proud of….. but it will not get read.  Be discerning about what you include and what you don’t include.  Generally prospective employers are more interested in your recent career history – not so interested what you might have been doing 15+ years ago!
  7. Missing Information – it’s important to include all relevant information. For example, be careful you do not have significant gaps in your career history.  A few months is not too bad, however having an unexplained gap in terms of years will raise some eyebrows, as well as a few questions.
  8. Inappropriate Email Address – whilst this may appear rather minor, it isn’t. Back to the point of creating a strong first impression, this information will be at the very start of your CV.  There is a real danger of the reader concluding you are demonstrating a lack of professionalism.
  9. Overselling Yourself – be careful you do not cross the line into Fantasyland. Stick to the truth and by all means package your story in a positive and upbeat way.  If you stray into Fantasyland, you will probably get found out – even if you get offered the role!
  10. Using Clichés – using buzz words and jargon can be very off-putting.  Be explicit about what you offer in terms of skills and expertise – then back this up with examples and hard evidence.
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