Career advice, insights & tips for HR professionals
Common CV errors and how to avoid them 29/08/2012
Your CV is the first thing a potential employer will see, so getting it right is crucial. Here Martyn Wright, director of HR recruitment at Robert Walters, looks at six common CV errors.
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- Typos, spelling mistakes & grammatical errors
- Lack of specifics
- Long sentences and over-elaboration
- Photographs, images, colour paper & fancy fonts
- Incorrect contact information
- Attempting a ‘one size fits all’ CV
Typos, spelling mistakes & grammatical errors
Although it may sound obvious, you would be surprised how many CVs we receive containing spelling mistakes and other basic grammatical errors.
Although they may not be the end of the world, they are avoidable and imply carelessness - not an impression anyone would want to give to a potential employer.
Lack of specifics
When an employer looks at your CV, they need to know exactly what you have achieved in your previous roles and how this is relevant to them and the role you are applying for. So, if you were responsible for driving growth in a business, say exactly how you did it and go into specifics on the results achieved. For example, if you are a reward specialist and you have a proven track record of implementing innovative compensation and benefits initiatives, go into specific detail on the changes you made and employee take-up. Detailing financial benefits to the company and actual bottom line savings of the projects you have been involved with will also make your CV more compelling.
It's a good idea to include exact dates you have held roles for and all the different roles you have held within the same company as this shows how your career has developed. Also, detail the level of the people you have worked for and with as employers really like to know about the interaction you have had with the rest of the business.
Long sentences and over-elaboration
If you use excessively long words and over-elaborate sentences on your CV, you risk overshadowing your actual achievements. Using bullet points where appropriate helps to add structure, clarity and, most importantly, gives recruiting managers the information they want in an easily digestible format.
Photographs, images, colour paper & fancy fonts
We have noticed an increasing tendency for candidates to ‘jazz’ their CVs up by including various additional visual elements, such as photographs of themselves, fancy fonts and other colourful graphical representations. While some people may think this will make their CVs stand out, what it really does is imply style over substance. When employers look at your CV, they want to know about your past achievements and why you are appropriate for their role.
Incorrect contact information
Again it may sound obvious, but people are constantly switching phone numbers and moving home and it’s not unheard of for candidates to forget to change these details on their CVs. Nothing is more frustrating for a recruiter than when they have an amazing CV in front of them but are physically unable to get hold of the person concerned.
Attempting a ‘one size fits all’ CV
Employers that receive generic, ‘one size fits all’ CVs generally discard them. Most recruiting managers look for tailored CVs explaining exactly why – in terms of achievements and accomplishments in previous roles – that the person is appropriate for the role. If you don’t do this, other people applying for the job will.
Robert Walters in the UK has a well established national network of offices covering both permanent and contract recruitment across London, Midlands, South East and North of England.