In this post, I’m going to show you eight common cv mistakes that you might be making that are causing your cv to get overlooked by recruiters meaning that you’re missing out on jobs that you really should be getting. Also, am going to show you how you can fix these mistakes so that you can improve your CV, start to get more responses from your job applications, which will mean more job interviews, and better job offers.
So as you may well know your CV is a really really important document when it comes to job searching. It is the first impression that you will be making on recruiters and employers and it’s often what will stand in the way of you getting an interview. Or not so, if there’s mistakes in your CV that is making you look unprofessional, or unsuitable for the roles you’re applying for then you know that’s going to greatly reduce your chances of getting callbacks interviews and obviously job offers.
Therefore, it’s really important to stamp those mistakes out. so what I want to do in this article is to go through eight of the most common cv mistakes that I see candidates making and just show you how you can fix them.
8 CV mistakes that will kill your job application
1. Failing to do your research
What I mean by failing to do your research is that you do not research your target jobs before you start writing your CV. If you write your CV without doing, that then you have no way of knowing what your target employers are looking for in a candidate.
you’ve got no basis for what to put into the CV. what I would suggest is, before you even type one word on the CV, you head out to our job site and run a search for the types of jobs that you’re looking for you scroll through them and you build up a good picture of the type of Candidate they’re looking for.
If you take the time to do that research and find out what skill, what knowledge, what experienced, what qualifications your target employers are looking for in the jobs that you’re going for then you’re going to have a much better understanding of what you need to put in your own CV.
Moreover, when you’re writing the CV you just try and reflect those skills and experiences as much as you can to closely match the job adverts. And that way, you’ll get a lot more responses because your CV will look a lot more suitable than if you just wrote the CV without bothering to do that research.
2. Poor readability
What I mean by that is that the CV is difficult for recruiters and hiring managers to read. you have to remember that when you’re applying for jobs, you’re one of many possibly hundreds of people that are applying for the same role, and that recruiter or hiring manager inbox is going to be full with other candidates applications. so they don’t often have the time to read the CVS, for generally what they’ll tend to do is have a quick skim for each one, and then build a shortlist which they’ll then go back to later.
So to make sure that you get past that initial skim read, you need to make sure that the CV is very easy to read. a lot of mistakes that I see people make are, not structuring the page properly, not having the correct sections, not breaking the text, start using big chunky paragraphs, and all of those things that makes it very hard for anybody to scan through the CV and pick out the information they’re looking for.
So if you’re looking at your CV right now and you’re thinking it might be a little bit difficult for people to read, there are a few things you can do to fix it.
Firstly, I would say to divide the page up into very clear sections and use bold headings and borders even to break the page up so that recruiters and hiring managers can navigate it easily and find the sections they want.
Secondly, need to break up the text within that as well so you need to use short sharp sentences very short paragraphs and make good use of bullet points. Bullet points make it very very easy for recruiters to skim through and pick out the things they need. And if you do one of those things you’ll see that the recruiters and hiring managers will find it much easier to read your CV so they’ll be able to spot your suitability a lot easier you’ll make it into more short lists and you’ll get more calls for interviews.
3. Having a ridiculous email at the top of the CV
If you have an email address, that might have been cool when you were back in school that you’re still using now on your CV. something silly like [email protected] That may have been very cool when you were younger but your CV is a professional document that is going to be seen by company, directors, recruiters, hiring managers.
It’s really important that you look as professional as possible. If you do have an email address that looks a bit unprofessional what I would suggest is simply setting up a new account solely for your job search. and just using something like your first name and surname or close variation of that that’s really all you need to do and also be a nice way to split up your normal emails from your job search emails number.
4. Not proving your impact
What I mean by that is when people normally write their CV, they have a tendency just to list out the things that they’ve done in their role.
For example, if you’re a sales person you might write “attending meetings, cold calling, making presentations to clients, and other things like that. But what’s missing from that is your the impact on the business.
so when you’re writing your responsibilities for your roles, make sure that you try and fix in what the impacts were on the business. for example, in that particular sales role that person may have made cold calls that may have gone on meetings but made presentations that’s all very well and good but they should have added the results to say that they were generating leads or they were generating sales or revenue for the business.
and it’s not just sales jobs that have achievements you know there could be a number of different things that you could achieve for your business. it could be saving money, saving time, bringing on new clients.
There are many different things to try and think about when you’re writing your roles.
Don’t just write what you’re doing, try and tie those into what the impacts you made on the business were, and another good tip is to try and use numbers where possible to quantify the impact you’ve made. For example, if you’re in a customer service role, and one of the things you did was you resolve complaints to keep customers coming back. Then instead of just writing that you resolved many complaints, and you kept many customers onboard. You could say something like you resolved 90% of all complaints within a two-hour time period, and you retained 8% of customers.
Now, that’s obviously just a hypothetical example anywhere. When you add numbers like that, it gives recruiters and hiring managers a real sense of the kind of impact that you could possibly bring to their organization.
5. Using too many clichés within your CV
When I say clichés what I mean is things like “I’m a hard-working team player, or I go the extra mile, or I’m a strong communicator. Now those things are all very well and good but they’re generally applicable to most jobs. Whereas in your CV, what you need to be doing is selling yourself as an expert or professional within your particular field, selling your hard skills. So you’re interested in specific skills, your software knowledge languages, you know anything that actually relates to the jobs you’re applying. If you fill up the CV with too many generic clichés, it takes away all the space that you need to actually put in the important hard skills, and also those clichés and generic soft skills are overused time and time again in CV.
they tend to not go down too well with recruiters or hiring managers so it’s best to leave them at the CV. but what if you want to prove that you’re a hard-working team player, well what you need to do is, you need to imply that rather than state it. so rather than just writing I’m a hard-working team player which people might not believe, when you’re talking about your roles when you’re writing your role descriptions you need to give examples of where you have been a hard-working team player.
So for example, you might write that you work within a team of five and mention some of the goals that you work towards and achieve within that team that shows people that you’re a hard-working team player. But you haven’t to written it and you’ve also had the chance to show some industry specific skills that you’ve used within that role.
6. Having a CV that is too long
Having too many pages now as I’ve mentioned previously. Recruiters and hiring managers tend to be very busy people and when they are looking for candidates, they will generally have hundreds of applications to deal with on top of working towards deadlines and lots of other stuff going on in their jobs.
generally speaking, if you’ve got a CV that’s five pages long and you’ve got really important information tucked down on the bottom of page five, the chances are when a recruiter does the first skim read of your CV they might miss the important information, think you’re not suitable, and skip past you. In order to rectify this, you need to adapt your CV for the attention spans in the modern recruitment world.
So generally speaking a CV of around about two pages is just about the sweet spot. This means that you’ll be able to put enough information to actually persuade people that you’re suitable for the job and it’s in a format that can be quickly skim read so that when a recruiter first opens your CV they can get an idea of your suitability within the first few seconds.
So my advice on CV length would be to keep the CV around about two pages or less if you don’t have much experience then you can probably get away over one page CV.
but if an experienced candidate with more years’ experience and you probably need to max out those two pages but try not to spill onto the third page because once you start going onto page three four you’re looking at pages that probably aren’t going to get read and information is going to be missed.
7. Over complicating the design of the CV
Now a CV only needs to be a very simple document but many times I see people putting crazy design features skills graphs photographs of themselves and lots of a weird and wacky things. These things just overcrowd the page and make it difficult to read and they actually distract people from the content that you’re trying to get across.
All what your CV needs is show people that you can do the job that they’re advertising for. So it just needs to be a plain document, white background, black text, very simple font so it’s easy to read, and that’s really what needs to be. If you start trying to cram all of these, have a weird and wonderful design features. More often than not, it’s just going to have a negative effect on your applications because if people can’t see the content within the CV, you’re wasting lots of space of all these crazy features and people might actually be missing the important things in your CV, your skills, your knowledge, your qualifications, your experience. which means you’re not going to get callbacks which ultimately means you’re not going to get interviews and you’re not going to get job offers and just a quick note on the photographs and skills graphs.
These things are definitely not needed in your CV because they won’t have any impacts on most job applications. So firstly, a photograph is not necessary unless you are a model, or an actor or something like that where your face is needed to be seen.
However, generally speaking, people don’t really care too much about how you look they just want to know if you can do the job. Skills graphs are generally a huge waste of space because they don’t offer a real scale to people.
For example, if you put in a skills graph in your CV where you say that you’re a four out of five and Microsoft Excel that really means nothing to the person reading it. What you’re better off doing is just writing for example how good you are in Excel. To consider yourself to be an expert, do you have three years’ experience, that way you give people a real picture of how good you are in Excel rather than just using a school’s graph that they won’t understand.
8. Failing to optimize the top of quarter of your CV
What I mean by the top quarter of the CV is this part here “it is the part of the CV that is first visible when a recruiter or hiring manager first opens up the CV”. So as you can imagine this to be impactful because often if a recruiter or a hiring manager doesn’t see what they want, they might just shut it straight down and move on to the next one in their inbox.
What you need to do is really pack this section full of the most relevant skills and knowledge qualifications and experience that you have, then closely match the jobs that you’re applying for.
So if you cram this section full of the skills and experience that recruiters are looking for then it stands to reason that they’re going to take notice, they’re probably going to read further and that’s going to mean that you’ve got more chance of getting into short lists and getting callbacks and interviews.