As someone who regularly works with clients to help them with their CV writing more effectively, it is an all to often occurrence to see people undersell themselves by virtue of a poorly written CV.
As a checklist I have compiled a list of my favourite ‘hates’ when it comes to poorly presented CV’s:
- Poor spellings, text talk words and misplaced words. All word processing software packages have a spell checker-use it! Also check that your spell checker is set to UK/Ireland english not USA! Proof read your CV when it is completed and the way to do this is to read it from the last line to the beginning, one word and sentence at a time. This is the best way to pick up on errors.
- Work history not presented in a clear, logical, chronological order, with ones most recent or current employment appearing first.
- Gaps of any significance in ones work history,(more than a couple of months) really attract the potential readers attention and ALWAYS beg the question ‘What was this person doing during that time?’ If you leave gaps, you are selling yourself short and setting yourself up to do poorly in the selection process.
- Not accounting for all time since education ended. Potential employers need to see what your history has been right back to leaving school or college. If you are an older applicant the details of 25 years ago might not be relevant but its still important to account for the time even if its just one line.
- Personal achievements and personal strengths. Tell the reader what makes you stand out from the competition. This is not the time to hide your talents. You need to believe that you are the person they need, so tell them in positive, honest language. These strengths need to be written with the potential position in mind and I always recommend having a copy of the job description or advert to hand so that one can use the appropriate language and phrases that the employer is looking for.
- Clarity! Simple font, 11 or 11.5 size, clear spacing, balanced text on the page, easy to read and well printed on white paper. No coloured paper, no fancy CV covers and no staples. Employers will want to make a copy and anything that delays putting your CV onto the autofeed on the copier will be viewed as a nuisance. I Also use a good quality paper, crisp and clean and not creased.
- Correct address and contact details, use an email account that is professional looking. Most people now use a web based email such as Gmail or YahooMail. These are all fine however ensure that your email address is professional and readable.
Doing all the above will not guarantee that you will get the interview, however it does mean that you have made your best effort in this part of the process. Good luck!