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TIP: Need guidance on writing your CV? Try our guide: ‘How to make a CV – the right way‘.
The 7 mistakes to avoid on your electrician CV
Write an electrician CV that’s riddled with mistakes and you are not going to get an interview. Write a CV with just one small error and you probably still won’t get an interview. You can see where we are going with this!
When facing so much stiff competition from other candidates just as qualified as you, it’s easy to see why a CV mistake will decrease your chances dramatically. So many other candidates will have written an error free CV and will give the employer more confidence in their abilities.
What does a CV mistake say about you?
It says you are prone to making mistakes and lack the diligence required to be accurate and consistent. Can the employer risk hiring someone with these potential traits – especially for an electrical role? Definitely not! For roles like this, where attention to detail, accuracy and diligence are not just important – they are potentially the difference between life and death – your CV needs to be mistake free.
Here are 7 mistakes to avoid if you want to maximise your chances of getting an interview:
1. Choosing an ATS-unfriendly design
ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System, and it is software that is typically used by large companies to filter the best applications. Although not completely fool proof, it is necessary for big companies that expect to see hundreds or maybe even thousands of applications land in their inbox.
If you do happen to apply to a large company and suspect they may receive a lot of applications, then you need to ensure yours is ATS friendly. This means applying the following:
- Don’t use special characters, images or text boxes
- Choose an appropriate file format
- Stick with a traditional font
- Stick to two pages
- Use matching keywords from the advert
The best approach is to keep everything as simple as possible to ensure that after it is run through the machine, it also gets read by a human! Avoid using anything other than an acceptable font with headings and adequate spacing. Anything that might confuse the software will likely be rejected.
Our electrician CV template has been designed for ATS software. It uses Arial font without any graphics, columns or tables. You can see more ATS-friendly templates here, and you can find out more about ATS here:
2. Using too much colour
There is nothing wrong with trying to be a little creative and different when designing your CV layout. Adding a splash of colour could look great and make your application more memorable. Our electrician CV has splashes of electric blue (naturally!) However, don’t overdo it on the colour and go for a simple colour scheme.
Avoid dark and aggressive colours like red or brown. Instead, opt for a safer colour like light blue or green. A light yellow is also less intrusive and doesn’t overshadow your credentials. The colour can be used effectively to emphasise headings and borders. However, don’t use light shades for text as they may not print very well.
3. Using more than one font
Some people like to use more than one font to try and stand out and be a little creative. The problem with this however is that it can look very odd and detract the reader from actually taking in the content.
Using a second or even third font can leave the hiring manager scratching their head wondering what’s happening on the page. Our advice would be to use colour if you want to be creative as suggested above, and stick to the one font. The only exception is if you want to change the font for your headings. If you do choose this approach make sure the headings font isn’t too different from the main one and that it goes together.
Bonus tip: Keep in mind that if you send your CV in Word format, the recipient must have the required fonts installed to be able to see them. If they don’t, their computer will usually substitute for a more basic font. However, occasionally for very fancy fonts, the computer gets confused and simply replaces the text with blank boxes. Therefore, for CVs going via email as Word document, it’s safer therefore to stick to standard fonts such as Arial and Times New Roman for any key information.
4. Using a poor layout
The margins of your page will effect how the writing sits on the page. You may find during the initial stages of writing your CV that a paragraph ends up being split between two pages. This is something you definitely need to avoid as it will not look very good.
One of the most common editing mistakes we come across is whereby the job description of a previous role spills over to the next page. A slight adjustment to the margins and/or the font size would correct this. You need whatever is at the bottom of the first page to end before the reader turns over to the second page.
You will see on our electrician CV example that we’ve laid it out so that no roles split across the page. We’ve also used a continuation header on page two.
5. Unexplained employment gaps
If you spent a few months or even years out of work in the past, you need to explain why this happened on your CV. If you don’t, the employer will be left to guess, which is not going to end well. They will likely take a more suspicious approach than assuming everything was fine.
Imagine for a moment that you were the hiring manager and you noticed that someone has a gap of 6 months between jobs. What might you assume? Perhaps they struggled to find work. Maybe they are not great at giving interviews. Worst still, maybe they are just lazy. No matter what the reason for the gap, you need to explain it briefly to avoid suspicion. If you’re a mum returning to work, see our mum returning to work CV example for ideas on how to tackle this.
You don’t have to go into too much detail if you don’t want, especially if you were out of work for personal health reasons. However, it’s important you state the reason briefly with little fuss or drama and assure the employer that you’re now back to full strength, so the matter is dealt with. The employer can then continue reviewing your CV with more confidence.
6. Generic hobbies
The hobbies and interests section on a CV tends to serve little purpose other than to display a little bit of the candidate’s personality. However, there are ways to add value to your entire application if you recognise the potential of this section.
There are certain generic hobbies which the employer sees over and over. Interests like going to the cinema, reading books, and hanging out with friends on the weekend are certainly very generic. If this is what you put down on your CV then we would suggest considering removing this section altogether. It just isn’t necessary and it’s not going to add any value to your CV.
However, if you have more creative or sporty hobbies then you should take advantage. Certain hobbies can demonstrate your soft skills, like communication and leadership. If you go to the gym all the time and keep fit, the employer may assume you are not going to have many sick days. If you are the captain of a sports team you are demonstrating leadership skills, and so on.
Creative hobbies can also link with your career, such as robotics, web design, computer software or singing in a band (the latter showing that you are confident and happy with public speaking). Not only do these types of hobbies represent your soft skills, they are also a great talking point in the interview.
7. Irrelevant personal information
The only personal details you need to provide on a CV are your name, email address and contact number. There are certain industries which would require other personal details, like acting or modelling. But for the most part you would only need to provide those three things.
It’s not a good idea to provide anything else as you are leaving yourself open to discrimination. For example, if the employer has a preconception about young people, they may decide to reject your CV if you give your date of birth. However, leaving this off and landing an interview gives you the opportunity to prove yourself face-to-face.
Writing your electrician CV
Almost every employer looking to hire an electrician will request certain technical skills (Level 3 installation, 18th Edition etc) and you should . However, not every job advert goes into detail about other skills required, such as soft skills. To discover which are most important to the typical employer, job descriptions and profiles can be really helpful. For example: