Recent evidence suggests that more and more young people are complaining that once they submit their CV to a company, they don’t hear anything back. In the current climate, the number of people applying for every job has more than doubled. With fewer jobs in the public sector, and more and more commercial companies refusing to recruit externally, the competition is getting harder. I am not surprised that many people feel aggrieved and frustrated when they submit a CV and then hear nothing back. However, without wishing to sound blunt, these people only have themselves to blame!
Over the last few years I have advertised many job vacancies within my company, from sales administrators through to office managers. This means that whilst I have witnessed some truly fantastic CV’s, I have also seen my fair share of bad ones. With this in mind, I want to share with you some fantastic advice on what CV mistakes to avoid.
It is becoming increasingly clear that too many young people are creating just one CV, and then submitting it to scores of different companies. They do this in the hope that they will land an interview. This is a big mistake! If you want your CV to stand out, and get your dream job, then you have to change your attitude to the employment process and learn the key CV mistakes to avoid.
First of all you need to wake up to the fact that the majority of employers will receive hundreds of CV’s for every post advertised. To give you an idea of what it is like right now, I advertised a Sales Administrators post a few weeks ago for £6.08 per hour. I was inundated with CV’s! In fact, I can safely say that I received well in excess of one hundred applications. Was I surprised? No, I wasn’t. Let me give you some top tips on how to impress recruiters.
If you want to get invited to an interview, then here are some important pointers that will help you to get ahead of the competition and get an invitation to interview:
1. Create a new CV for every single job that you apply for. While this involves a lot of work, if you are applying for jobs then my guess is that you have plenty of spare time on your hands anyway! Create the CV around the job you are applying for, not around you.
2. Use keywords and phrases from the job description and person specification. This is VERY important. Before you apply for the job, take a look at the person specification and seek out strong keywords and phrases from it. When you write your personal profile on your CV, use the same keywords from the person spec. This is very powerful and the words will jump out at the person reading the CV, without them even knowing it!
3. Include a covering letter with your CV. Again, this is an important one. By including a relevant covering letter with your CV, you will be making yours stand out from the hoards of poorly written ones that get submitted every day.
What To Avoid!
Now that you’ve read some advice on what you SHOULD be doing, let’s take a look at some CV mistakes that you should avoid. By reducing these mistakes, you will greatly increase your chances of success, so pay close attention!
- [x] Confident [ ] Arrogant .It’s often said that one of the most important things that employers look for in a candidate, is confidence. They want a candidate who not only fills them with confidence in their ability to do the role, but is self confident enough to understand their own strengths and weaknesses. However, overconfidence can be fatal. This is particularly important when you describe your future ambitions. Before you write down that it’s your aim to be running the company within a few years, think about how you’d react if you read that on someone else’s CV. Confidence does not mean arrogance!
- Boring = Snoring When it comes to writing your CV, it’s imperative that you focus on the length. A good CV should be no longer than 2 pages in length. Anything longer than this and you significantly hurt your chances of moving on to the interview. Furthermore, the layout of your CV is extremely important. Take a look at your CV right now. Is it written in full length paragraphs, that span 2 pages of A4? Now think about if you were an employer, looking through hundreds of applications per day. Would you want to read all of that? The answer is no, you wouldn’t. When you construct your CV, you need to make it easy for the employer to find exactly what it is that they are looking for. It’s estimated that an employer looks at a CV for all of 11 seconds, and if they can’t find the information they need in that time, throws it in the bin. This might seem a harsh way to look at things, but employers simply don’t have the time to read an essay on why you are the right person for the role. Lay your CV out in carefully constructed bullet point lists and short paragraphs, which cut right to the chase.
- Wrong email? Fail! This is a very basic point, but one that a great many people miss. When you list your contact details on your CV, make sure you use a professional email address. . When I say a professional email address, I mean that you should a) try to use Gmail and b) absolutely avoid using joke names, for example ‘Baby_Gal_Princess@hotmail.com’. Employers will look at this as a sign of immaturity, and it will really damage your application. The reason that you should use Gmail is because on a number of other sites, some correspondence will go immediately spam. The best email addresses to use are professional and mature, for example ‘JohnSmith1982@gmail.com’.
- Focuss on the Gramer Did you spot the mistakes in the above heading? If so, good! Grammar is absolutely fundamental if you want to impress the employer. It’s an unfortunate fact that good grammar doesn’t prove much to the interviewer, but bad grammar proves everything. It shows that you have not checked your CV over before sending, that you have a lack of attention to detail, aren’t concerned with whether you get the job or not and that your English comprehension is poor. In a recent newspaper study, bad grammar was listed in the top 3 pet peeves for employers when looking at a CV. Again, it’s a question of making the assessor’s life as easy as possible. Put yourself in the position of translating 2 badly written pages, filled with grammar, spelling and punctuation errors. How would you feel? Grammar is a basic requirement, and one that you can’t afford to slack on if you want the job. This is a key CV mistake to avoid.
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