As a recruitment agency specialising in healthcare, engineering, oil & gas, life sciences, ICT, banking and many more besides, we’ve seen our fair share of CVs, in all shapes and sizes. Some good, some bad, some excellent. But there are a few common mistakes that we see time and time again, and most CVs that we see are guilty of at least one of them.
Some errors simply boil down to common sense, but there are other mistakes which even the most studious of job-seekers make every time they apply for their next dream role. So here is a brief list of mistakes that our recruiters say are the most common, and are sure-fire ways to miss out on an interview.
This one definitely comes under ‘common sense’, but you’d be surprised just how many CVs are sent to us by top professionals with typos and other basic errors. Check it before you send, then check it again, and get someone else to check it for you. A typo tells an employer that you lack care and attention to detail, as well as the ability to write well, and in the current jobs market, that is more than enough to convince an employer to dump an otherwise promising CV.
Too much information
‘Less is more’ is the key tip here. Try to think of your CV as a brief overview of your recent work and successes, rather than a detailed tome of your entire career. Try to keep your personal overview brief, and only include your most recent employments and your most notable qualifications. If your CV is still over two pages, go back and see what else you can edit or condense. If your CV goes on for page after page, when the employer has so many other succinct CVs to read, then that interview is simply never going to happen.
Lies, lies, lies
We accept that it’s natural to embellish and exaggerate your accomplishments on your CV, you’re trying to sell yourself, after all. But there’s a world of difference between overstating how successful your last project was, and being blatantly dishonest. It sounds audacious, but lying about degrees and other qualifications is incredibly common, and it’s something which is so easily checked.
One SThree recruitment consultant explains: “Checking employment history, qualifications and achievements of candidates can be done in one click; it’s incredible that people still make the mistake of fabricating details of their experience or skills on their CV, but it does happen. Our advice – never, ever, lie on your CV because you will be caught out!”
Your CV is a tool that should scream to an employer how well-suited you are to the specific role they’re hiring for, and how you want it more than anybody else. They won’t get that impression if you send the same CV and cover letter filled with clichés and over-familiar phrases to every job you apply for. Go through the job description in detail and pick out exactly the key skills and experience they’re looking for, then tailor your CV to highlight these qualities. If you can convince the employer that your CV was written specifically with the job in question in mind, you’re far more likely to get an interview.
Ultimately, your CV is the first impression a potential employer will have of you. It’s the key sales tool that will promote brand ‘you’ and getting it right is vital.