“How to write a good CV” is probably one of the most searched terms on Google. Nevertheless, I have seen many people making mistakes on their CV or resume. Their mistakes can be small or big but they would all increase your risk of ruining your first impression. The competition in today’s employment market is very stiff and inevitably you cannot afford any small mistake on your CV, given that this is your first step in the recruitment process.
Take a look at the article below for the most common mistakes that you are likely to make in your CV as well as the tips for avoiding them.
Here are the most common mistakes that you are likely to make in your CV:
- A CV which is too short or too long: A CV which is more than 2-page long is considered too long. On the other hand, a CV with just a few paragraphs is too short. The recruiters will not have time to read a long CV. On the other hand, a short CV properly doesn’t contain enough information.
- A CV with a lot of spelling and grammatical errors: One of the most common as well as the hardest-to-forgive mistake. A CV with such errors can create a very bad impression. Recruiters would think that you haven’t spent enough time on writing and checking your CV.
- A CV with inaccurate or out-of-date information: You should never lie on your CV. What would happen if your recruiters see through all of the embellishments? Pay attention to the out-of-date information as well. They are also classified as inaccurate information.
- A CV which looks unprofessional: There are many things that can make a CV look unprofessional. The format of your CV might be inconsistent. You use different sizes throughout your CV, for example. Or you decide to use an email address which doesn’t look professional at all (like firstname.lastname@example.org).
How to avoid making mistakes in your CV
1. Use a professional template
It is important that your CV is easy to read. Keep in mind that on average, recruiters will spend less than 10 seconds to scan through your CV. A clean and easy to read CV helps create a good impression.
Instead of thinking about which fonts and design that you should use for different parts of your CV, you can use a template with a premade layout. It helps you to have a professional looking CV. In addition, a premade layout will contain all of the sections that you need to fill in for your CV.
There are a lot of premade layouts for you to choose on the Internet. You can search for job-specific CV or skill-specific CV. No matter what you are going to choose, you should always go for clean and neat layout with as fewer font and font sizes as possible.
2. Read your CV a few times and have it read by other people
As I mentioned above, grammatical and spelling errors are two things that you should avoid at all cost. Many recruiters see the way you write your CV as the showcase of your attention to detail ability as well as your precision. So follow these tips to ensure an error-free CV:
- You need to reread your CV several times to ensure there is no grammatical mistake in your CV. Read your CV the first time to check for any spelling errors and read the second time for
- If English is not your native language, you should ask your friend or your colleague to check it for you. You can also use some helpful software and websites such as Grammarly to spell-check for you.
- Don’t leave until the last minute to write and proofread your CV. You should some spend time to write and read your CV. Then come back later to read it again. You might see the errors that you couldn’t see for the first time.
3. Fill your CV with valuable information
Here comes the most important part that you need to know when you write your CV. Remember to follow the tips below to ensure that you can have the best CV:
- Never lie. Sometimes, the recruiters will see through your lies when they read your CV or they will find out later when you attend an interview. Therefore, you need to think about the experiences and skills that you have and try to sell them effectively.
- Pack your CV with convincing evidence. For example, if you say on your CV that you are good at another language like Japanese, include any certification that you have in this language (if Japanese is your second language). Or if you say that you graduate from your University, tell the recruiter your final grades, capstone project or any scholarship that you received.
- You should read the description of the job that you want to apply for carefully. By doing so, you will be able to know what your potential employers are looking for. As a result, you can fill in the most relevant job experience and skills.
- While you have a lot of things to say about your work experience and the skills that you have acquired, it is important that you keep your CV as much concise as possible. As I mentioned above, a CV which is too long or too short should be avoided. Try to pack your information from 1 or 2 pages.
- If your CV is too long, delete any information about events that happened a long time ago. You also don’t need to include information about your marital status or your hobbies which are somewhat irrelevant to the job that you want to apply.
- Last but not least, always keep your CV up-to-date. Add information about your new job or your new achievement frequently.
4. Use strong words
Last but not least, shouldn’t fill up your CV with a long list of tasks and responsibilities. You need to show your employer the result and how well you perform your tasks and responsibilities. You can make use of the strong words to deliver a strong and powerful CV to your recruiters.
Here are some strong words to use
- Action verbs: “accomplish”, “initiate” or “deliver”. These action words help you to express what you have truly done.
- Words that match the value of the company you apply for: For example, if one of the objectives of the company is to deliver “excellent customer service”, try to include this term in your CV.
Don’t go for such generic cliché term such as “hard-working team player”. This term says nothing about you at all. That is the reason why you should always back up your CV with valuable evidence.
Here are some words to avoid:
- Team player, self-motivated, strategic-thinking or hard-working
- Don’t use informal words or slangs. You should try to make your CV as much professional as possible. That is the reason why you should avoid words and terms like “best of breed”, “awesome” or “incredible”.
If you don’t know where to start with your CV or want some professional help with your CV, you can consult people who have experiences such as a recruiter. You can attend seminars about writing effective CVs.
Overall, making sure that your resume is flawless and outstanding is a challenging task for everyone. I can’t stress well enough about the importance of a resume. There are quite a few mistakes that you should avoid making in your resume. Remember to check your resume over and over. Last but not least, you should update your CV frequently, adding more updated information and making sure that there would be no mistake on it.