When you apply for a job, the CV is the most important part. It’s much more important than a covering letter, perhaps even than an interview. It’s the piece of paper (or more likely, virtual one!) that should say everything a hiring manager or recruiter will need to know about you. But they’re also the most common thing people get wrong!
So here are the three mistakes we see everybody make time and time again:
1. Interests and hobbies
This isn’t an important, and certainly not mandatory, part of any CV. And that’s why it goes right at the end! But having something in common with the person making the decisions can help you make a good impression (though you’ll need to have the rest of the job’s requirements too!). It just shows you’re a human being, and might have something to talk about with your co-workers besides your jobs. Try to avoid listing anything too niche, or too broad – reading and going to the gym aren’t going to help you stand out. Or just avoid writing anything at all!
2. A jumbled employment history
Your work history should start with the most recent position first, and it’s always best if that’s related to the positions you’re applying for – after all, it’s where your relevant skills and experience will be best showcased. Of course, there’ll be times when that isn’t possible, but in these circumstances state your reasons in the profile or highlight your skills from previous employment separately. Equally, there’s no need to detail every job you’ve ever had – a paper round when you were 15 isn’t going to be the clincher to land you a role in management 25 years later. When it comes to reading CVs, if someone doesn’t see something they like in the first half of the first page, they’ll probably be moving onto the next, so get the relevant information down first.
3. A profile that’s personal, not professional
The profile at the start of your CV is not about your personality traits. You don’t need to list the attributes that should be a given for any job – being punctual, well-presented, hard-working and trustworthy won’t make you stand out. No-one would be happy to hire anyone who is lazy, dishonest, scruffy and with poor timekeeping, after all! Instead, you should be describing your professional qualities, your skills and experience: summing up why you and the specific role you’re applying for go hand in hand. It’s the interview that will demonstrate that you’re the right kind of person for a role – your CV is the proof that you’ve got the skills to do it.
Your CV is your passport to your next job. So make sure it is spot on if you want to land in our “Yes” piles when you send it off to us.