7 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a CV

7 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a CV

- July 30, 2013

Writing a good CV or resume is the first step to getting a job, or at least getting an initial interview for a job. There are many good CV templates online and in Microsoft Word. There are also many guides and tutorials on the web giving valuable information on what to include in a CV and how to make it look professional.

But when writing a CV, many people make some common mistakes that leave an undesired effect on the employer. In this article we will list a few pitfalls to avoid in your resume.

  1. Including too much information in your CV, making it too long. Ideally, a CV should be one to two pages long, including major information about you, your education, work experience and skills. Cramming your resume with every detail of every job you ever had, for example, can be detrimental instead of being an asset. Keep in mind that your CV is most probably not the only one employers have to check out. Keep it short and to the point to avoid being ignored.
  2. Not including a clear objective or profile. A one sentence objective or a short paragraph profile give the employer a good idea about who you are and what you seek in applying for a particular job. Although some people opt not to include an objective/profile in their CV, we believe it makes your CV targeted and to the point. Read on for more on this.
  3. Including a profile/objective that does not match the requirements of the job you are applying for. If you are applying for 10 jobs, ideally you should have 10 versions of your CV prepared, each with an objective highlighting how you would be suitable for each job you are applying for. A one CV fits all formula can make you seem sloppy, lazy (for not researching the job you are applying to properly) and less professional than you want to appear. So put in the extra effort of tailoring your CV to each job you are applying to, it will pay off.
  4. Not choosing the right CV format that best highlights your skills and experience. There are different types of arrangements for a CV: chronological, functional, combination and targeted formats. You should choose the format that best suits your purposes as opposed to going with the easiest and most obvious choice: chronological (unless, of course, that is the format best-suited to your CV). This link will give you a basic idea about each type and when to use it.
  5. Listing duties and responsibilities in previous jobs instead of writing active statements that really show the employer how you could be an asset and what skills you can bring into the new job.
  6. Not providing concrete evidence of your accomplishments. It is not enough to write: “I was successful in increasing sales”. Instead quantify that statement with proof of the good work you did: “Under my leadership, the department saw a 5% increase in sales by the second quarter of 2013”. Show, don’t tell.
  7. Believing that content is more important than form. Your resume might be great, filled with details about you that would make any employer want to hire you. But if your CV does not LOOK good, chances are no will bother reading it properly in the first place. The format of the CV is key to showcasing its content and delivering it in the best way possible. Make sure you leave white spaces, organize your lists and write short clearly defined and spaced out paragraphs. Making your CV visually appealing increases its chances of being read through carefully.

On a final note, keep in mind we live in a ‘social’ age; employers are more likely than before to search you out on Linkedin, Twitter and even Facebook to get a feel of the kind of person and employee you are. So make sure your profiles on social networks, especially Linkedin, are updated and reflect the best image of you.

Check out this link for some more resources on CV writing.