The two biggest mistakes you’re making on your CV
Creating a professional CV is one of the most important aspects when applying for a job. With literally hundreds of potential applicants for just one role, you have to stay ahead of the game.
Did you know that just one tiny mistake could result in rejection? The employer is faced with the daunting task of reading through so many CVs, but does have a lot of choice. Do they go with yours that has a mistake or with a flawlessly written CV? The choice is of course easy!
Here are the two biggest mistakes made when writing a CV and how to avoid them…
You’re writing a ‘one size fits all’ CV
Most people write a generic CV which isn’t focused on a specific role. It will be written from the perspective of showcasing all skills, qualifications and experience. What’s wrong with that, right?
The problem with this is that often you’ll find that the hiring manager has to search within the CV to find what they are looking for. By tailoring your CV to each role you apply for you will make life much easier for the employer. It will also give you a much better chance of standing out from the rest of the competition.
There are lots of other benefits to tailoring a CV to each and every role. Firstly, you will demonstrate that you are the right person for the job. No frills, and no fuss – you have the exact skills and experience they are looking for. Secondly, it shows the employer that you’ve taken note of exactly what they want. This is more important than you realise, as the hiring manager will often receive lots of applications that don’t fit the job description. Lastly, it will show the employer how much you care about the role. You’re clearly someone who takes the initiative and strives for perfection.
You’re not using keywords
One of the best ways to customise your CV to the role is to use the job advert and job description. More specifically, use the keywords from the advert itself.
What is important to the employer? Is it a certain qualification? Do they require experience? Is it great leadership skills?
Search through your own set of skills and knowledge and highlight what appears to be important to the employer and use the same keywords and phrases where possible. This will instantly get the attention of the reader and make it easier for them to see that you’re the right person for the job.
Tip – don’t use different words when they mean the same thing. Look back over your previous job titles to see which ones are similar or the same as the one you’re now applying for. Can you change the job title to make a close match? This of course doesn’t mean to say you should lie about a previous job title, but ensure your wording is very similar. There are lots of different ways of calling yourself the Customer Service Manager. Some companies like to use more modern and wacky titles like – Customer Excellence Advisor. But if it’s essentially the same role you can adjust this within your CV.
Here’s a bonus tip for you to ensure your CV is free of errors…
Have your CV checked by someone else
If you choose to only use your own pair of eyes to check your CV, it could end in disaster. Most people rely on the spell checking tool in Microsoft Word, but this won’t always be 100% accurate.
Simply using your own keen eye and a spell checker is not going to be enough if you want to 100% guarantee that your CV is free of spelling or grammatical errors. It’s also always nice to have a second opinion on the quality and quantity of your CV to ensure it meets the standards required.
There are paid services on the internet that you can use. However, we would also recommend contacting a friend or colleague that you trust to provide you honest and candid feedback. Specifically someone who either works or has worked as a manager in the same role/industry as you are applying for. But any manager with experience of reading CVs, hiring and firing will do!
Once you have located someone ask them to not only proofread it for spelling/grammatical errors, but to also give you their honest opinion on how it reads – as well as presentation and layout.
Finally, once you’ve revised your CV send it back to them for one final check-up. There may be something you’ve still missed, and it’s always worth a second look to guarantee it’s ready to be sent.
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.