Your CV will be, without doubt, the single most important part of getting a job and it should springboard you to the next stage of your career. A top-quality CV will considerably boost your chance of getting a face-to-face interview, so it is worth spending time and effort on the content and presentation.
Also, bear in mind a CV is your jobseeker's business card, a selling tool that needs to ensure that a company would like to meet you; however there are many common mistakes which deter the progression of interview such as:
Not including a personal profile
This should be a short summary (probably 3 to 4 sentences) that outlines the type of job you are looking for and why you are interested in that particular role. This is an excellent opportunity to capture a company’s interest and introduce the document as a whole.
Insufficient or incorrect contact details
Check your telephone numbers (land-line including area code and mobile) as well as your email address are correct and remember to use a professional email address and not a ‘jokey’ one. Contact details should include your full name and ‘present’ address. Your CV should have your name in bold and clearly laid out at the top of the document.
Spelling and grammar
Even if writing is not really a relevant part of your job, you should not allow your standards of spelling, grammar and punctuation to slide, especially when it comes to getting the all important first interview.
Glaring errors are a definite way to get your CV dismissed and will immediately stop the job search process in its tracks. Poor spelling is the most common mistake on CVs; as when a candidate does not take sufficient time to accurately spell words and properly construct a sentence or paragraph it shows a lack of care. It is a good thing to read out loud what you have written because if it does not sound correct then it will not read well.
The apostrophe is one of the most widely misused punctuation marks in the English language and improper use could result in:
- A completely different meaning of a sentence
- Looking rather stupid
Bad grammar can affect your career, a company and their brand. People who do not understand grammar generally make the same mistakes again and again. Opportunities will be missed and for this reason it is important to put time aside to understand the relevance of correct punctuation.
It is always best to leave your CV alone once you have finished – preferably overnight – so you may look at it with a fresh pair of eyes the next day. Do not rely on a spell-check, read slowly and carefully several times; also ask someone else to read it and get their opinion.
Omitting relevant information
Avoid leaving gaps in your CV, it is important to detail your job history even if you were not working, without realising it you may have gained transferrable skills which will consequently improve your chances of employment.
Omission of key dates
Educational qualifications and professional experience must be included in your CV with proper dates, institution names and an accurate description of the title of a course you attended.
Lying on your CV
You might think that one or two over-exaggerations will help you in the job search, but it is inevitable that you will eventually get caught out. Also, bear in mind a lie does not necessarily have to be an outright false statement; omissions can be just as dishonest. Nevertheless some studies have suggested that up to 50% of the population has at least a small amount of misleading or inflated content on their CVs!
Not including industry keywords
Some companies, especially large organisations, are turning to technology to help with the initial sift through CVs. Key words are words that are commonly used in your profession or industry now; but apply current jargon and key words only if you understand fully what they mean and they apply to your experience also be careful to steer clear of outdated jargon -- like “personnel” instead of “human resources.”
Including your referees
There is no need to put your referees on your CV, as it just takes up precious space on your CV that can be better used listing your skills and experience. If a company wants these details they will ask you directly.