Our Career Development Coach and in-house CV expert, Fiona Hartley estimates she’s read over 3,500 CVs over the years. That’s a lot of CVs!
Fiona says she sees the same annoying mistakes coming up regularly, and even though some of them might seem trivial, she believes that having the best CV possible can be the difference between getting the job of your dreams and having your CV overlooked, especially in this competitive job market.
Here are Fiona’s top picks for the most irritating CV mistakes:
1. Careless errors
Many CVs are just sloppy. They haven’t been checked for basic errors like spelling or grammar. Some use unprofessional fonts and are inconsistent in format and contain outdated or irrelevant information.
“Always check and double check your CV for spelling before submitting it for any role,” says Fiona. “Basic spelling and grammar errors are a red flag to employers looking for attention to detail and sometimes it can give the impression that you just don’t care enough about the role.”
2. CVs that are too long
Long winded CVs can be off-putting, especially when they don’t get to the point.
“Keep it to two pages, three maximum,” advises Fiona. “Use bullet points and keep it relevant.
“The employer is really only interested in your last few roles. They don’t really care what you did back in 1995! An employer will probably only spend around 20 seconds on a first skim-read of a CV. If it’s too long and contains long-winded paragraphs, their interest may be lost. Your CV needs to be high impact to be memorable!”
Buzzwords are Fiona’s a pet hate, more specifically, ‘team player’ and ‘excellent interpersonal skills’. While some jargon often has to be used to reflect requirements listed in the job advertisement, using it often in your CV can actually have a detrimental effect on your job prospects.
Your CV should reflect your individual personality and should clearly state why you are the best person for the job, without too much jargon and cliched terminology.
4. Not explaining what you’ve accomplished
“Simply explaining what you were, or are, responsible for in your current or previous roles just isn’t enough”, explains Fiona.
“Your responsibilities might give an understanding of day-to-day work but it doesn’t highlight what makes you special and what an employer can gain from hiring you. Your title is often enough for the employer to understand what your role is. You can best sell yourself by highlighting your successes and achievements and emphasising the value you have added to the company/employer.
5. CVs that aren’t tailored
“CVs must be tailored to the role you are applying for. While it’s fine to have a general CV, it should always be tweaked for every role you apply for,” explains Fiona. “Review the job spec carefully and identify what the employer is looking for in the right candidate. Then, identify your key attributes and achievements to reflect this. Always make sure your CV reflects what the employer is looking for.”
Fiona Hartley is Director of Career Services at Hartley People, the south east’s leading talent acquisition firm. Fiona combines her experience and expertise as a qualified coach, with extensive and up-to-date knowledge of the recruitment market to ensure all clients are provided with practical and achievable solutions to achieving realistic career goals.
Our services include:
- Career Transition Coaching
- Secondary School Career Coaching
- CV Development including cover letter
- Job Application Form Review
- LinkedIn Profile Development
- Interview Skills Coaching
- Job Hunting Training
For further information, contact Fiona on 051 878813