The CV – yes that flimsy piece of paper that gets you the interview!
Much has been said about the death of the CV, that we are moving towards vlogging, podcasts or such mediums to advertise our wares! I think we are a long way from that stage! The amount of CVs that I see on a weekly basis, that are simply not fit for purpose staggers me.
There are a huge amount of CV templates on-line, so I am not going to talk about that here, more so go back to basics and highlight the elementary errors, that candidates do time and time again.
- Building onto a CV that you have had from your very first job! Fonts get mixed, font size is irregular, always revisit your stored CV when it comes to updating it with your latest job. Be critical – could you really do with completing re-doing it from scratch & making it more fresh & modern and ultimately serving as that tool which will get you that interview?
- Missing dates – even if you have had a series of temporary/contract roles, it’s still essential to give an indication of when you were at the various companies, how will you be taking seriously if there is no clue as to how long you were with a company and what the nature of the assignment was.
- Typos – there isn’t any excuse for these in this day & age. I don’t really want to dwell on this for too long, as it will make me cross! Spell check please!
- Hard to find contact details – believe me this is quite common. Either no email, or phone number, so the recruiter has to go and attempt to find the cover letter. Not a good idea, contact details should always be at the top of the first page, right under your name. If you don’t want to give your exact address for security reasons, that’s fine – but do give a general indication of what country and what city you are currently residing in!
- Font – Using an easy-on-the-eye font, Times New Roman & Comic Sans, are not really that appealing anymore. Please use a minimum of 11 pt Arial, Calibri, or Verdana. By all means for dates, you can italic the dates and make them a 9 or 10 pt, in order give an easier to read CV.
- Bullet points, please itemise your achievements under each job heading, as opposed to writing in paragraph format. Try avoid making it just a shopping list of tasks – form them from the angle of what you improved, what efficiencies you promoted, cost savings etc. as opposed to “Data input” – that could read “Input data for 300 + customers each day with over 95% accuracy”
- Personal profile (I have written a separate piece on this), should read – what you are, what stand out achievements you have relevant to the role you are applying for & what your goal is. Not a series of fluffy statements – “hardworking”, “reliable”, “outgoing” etc. Meaningless statements without validation.
- Order – still to this day, there are some candidates, that write their CV in the wrong order. your current or latest job needs to come first, then work backwards.
- Interest/hobbies – there has always been a lot of debate as to where to include these. I would recommend you do, as sometimes what you list may strike a chord, or a connection with the Hiring Manager and serve as a talking point, if nothing else. In other cases, one of your interests may be extremely relevant to the given job, rare but it certainly does happen.
- Technical skills – make sure to give an indication of your proficiency in social media, as well as traditional office packages such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc. along with any other common database or programming skills, where appropriate.
- Education – depending on what stage you are at with your career, where you insert these details on a CV, will vary. If you are at the start of your working life and have minimal work experience, then these should be to the fore, after the personal profile section of the CV. If you are an experienced individual, or have minimal educational achievements, then they can be inserted after your work experience detail.. But under no circumstances should you ever omit this detail.
- Professional accreditation – these should be listed under Education and before technical skills.
- Number of pages – no more than 3 in an ideal world & even that can be too long! Remember the CV is a moving, living document, it needs to be modified & adapted for each new role.
And finally – the CV isn’t the place to be experimenting with colours, imagery and fancy tricks and trinkets. Simple is best. Simple font, simple layout, concise and to the point.
If any of you would like a best practice CV template please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org Always delighted to help.
Happy job hunting!