Hard to see mistakes you are making on your CV
So you’ve checked your CV for spelling errors and you’re happy with the CV template you’ve chosen. What could go wrong? Why am I not getting more interviews?
The answer could be that you’re missing small but very important details from your CV that an employer is looking for. Catching the attention of the hiring manager is not just about presenting a great looking CV with zero errors. There are some hidden secrets and mistakes that everybody makes.
Here’s what to look out for…
Listing responsibilities without achievements
It’s very easy to state your previous tasks and responsibilities in your ‘work history’ section, but what the recruitment manager is actually looking for is someone who can backup those things with achievements and results. An employer is not looking for someone who just does things by the book, but is looking for someone who steps outside of their comfort zone and achieves more than what the role asks of them.
Did you change a system process and make improvements?
Did you cut down on costs saving the company a large sum of money?
What did you achieve in your role?
Where you promoted, and why?
Where you the top salesman for 3 consecutive months, and if so, what were your sales figures?
By answering all of these questions you should be able to get an idea of how you can backup everything with some fantastic results. This will also give you some great points to discuss during the interview, as these achievements will surely be highlighted by the interviewer as they will want to know more.
Ultimately, an employer wants to build up an understanding of how you might perform for their company. They will never truly know until you are in the role, which is why your past performances and achievements are so vital to them. One of the biggest mistakes you can make as a job seeker is to write a CV that only shows that you have the right skills, qualifications and experience. You must also provide an indication of how you are likely to perform for them, and what you can bring to their company.
A mundane hobbies and interests section
Far too many job seekers assume this section is unimportant and needs little attention and thought. But we would argue that your hobbies can be an important part of your CV and provide a window into your personality.
Hiring managers have to look through hundreds of CV’s, and the all too familiar ‘I like to socialise on weekends’ gets boring and predictable. An employer is looking for a dynamic, hard-working and passionate individual. So socialising on weekends is not going to add any value to your CV.
Do you rock climb, play in a band, have your own website that you can provide a link, write scripts for films, act in amateur dramatic plays from time to time, play for a rugby team, play the piano, make model aeroplanes, work for a charity etc? These are all fantastic hobbies to explore and delve into further on your CV.
Anything that you are passionate about needs to shine through your hobbies and interests section. Let them know you have some great interests and that you are happy to discuss them. It is such a great ice breaker when you walk into an interview and someone else either shares the same hobby, or wants to find out more about it.
This, however surprising it may seem, could also be the reason why you get an interview. There may be lots of other CV’s that tick all the right boxes, so the only way to get an interview could be to stand out from the crowd. Be interesting, positive, passionate and different.
Last but by no means least – your hobbies are another great way to demonstrate your soft skills. There are lots of soft skills that an employer values – communication, problem solving, team working and resilience (to name but a few). Your hobbies may require some of these soft skills to be put into action, so by showcasing them on your CV you are adding another layer of evidence to support your claims of having these soft skills in abundance.
Fore more helpful information on the skills section, click here for our guide on How to write the skills section of my CV.
Failing to show how you meet the job specification
If you hide the relevant information within your CV and make it hard for the reader to find what they are looking for, then you are already set-up to fail! Highlight all the relevant areas, skills and qualifications that you know are vital for the role, and make it easy for the reader to see that you are the right person for the job. Tailoring your CV to the role is probably one of the most important aspects of writing a CV, and one which continues to be underestimated.
If you’re writing just the one generic CV which you intend to send out to more than one employer, you are making a huge mistake! The role and the company need to be researched heavily before you write your CV, so you can see what makes them tick. It doesn’t matter if you are applying for the same job title with different employers – you still need to tailor your CV and acknowledge the job description and the company’s goals, aspirations, customers, product/service, culture, and so on.
Top tip! Bring relevant past roles, tasks, responsibilities and achievements to the top, and don’t let them get buried at the end of your list.
Jen Wiss-Carline has been a Senior Manager and Consultant for several sizeable companies which included dealing with all aspects of staff management and recruitment. She is also a Solicitor and Chartered Legal Executive, having been admitted as a Fellow in February 2006.