Make sure you avoid these common CV mistakes

Follow these tips and expect to see those interview invites starting to appear

Get it right and you can look forward to wowing recruiters in person. Get it wrong, and you’ll barely hear a response from anyone.

Happily, most CV mistakes are very common and easy to fix. Get a headstart on the competition by following these basic tips:

Make it results driven

No recruiter is interested in reading a long list of attributes and skills that the candidate claims to have – unless they are evidenced with clear, results-driven examples.

Demonstrate your expertise in action by defining the results you have achieved and make them as objective as possible – with figures, dates, percentages and hard facts provided. This offers authenticity and also gives the recruiter interesting topics to delve into further at interview.

Not personalising it to the job

A standard CV will immediately get you rejected. You must tailor your CV to the role in question and show that you have read and digested the job and person spec carefully before preparing your response to its requirements.

Take the time to really tailor your CV and save out each version by job so that you have a starting point for future similar roles.

Keyword stuffing

Remember, your CV is not an SEO blog. Don’t simply stuff as many keywords and buzzwords in as you can – or cram in vast amounts of information into the smallest possible font. Remember, human recruiters scan CVs and want to be able to pick out key and salient points.

Even CEOs will fit a career of experience onto a double side CV. Focus on accomplishments and keep it simple, using bullet points and incorporating plenty of white space for contrast and readability.

Grammar and spelling fails

It’s the oldest mistake in the book, but still one of the biggest bugbears for employers. Do not rely on your office package to spellcheck your CV. Do it by hand and get another trusted individual to do a second proofread. You must show that you have attention to detail.

Being a robot

Be authentic in your CV and show who you are. Employers today are looking for diversity and individuality as a marker of creativity and the ability to innovate.

If you simply prepare a bland corporate CV, you will fail to come across as authentic and your CV will feel like a cut and paste job!

Don’t be afraid to show personality – you can still be professional, expert, and the perfect job candidate, without losing the essence of you.

Poor formatting

Your CV should be on two pages and should not have photos, your date of birth, your marital status or colours and background images – unless you are applying to the creative industries, in which case you will be preparing a portfolio.

Use black type in a non-serif font such as Arial for readability and choose a size of at least 10. Leave spacing and organise each section logically.

A reverse chronological CV is typical for first job seekers and a functional CV may be more appropriate for those further on in their career.

Follow these tips and expect to see those interview invites starting to appear.

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The British Institute of Recruiters is the Professional Body operating The Recruitment Certification Scheme

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