Your résumé/CV is your gateway to landing an interview and receiving a possible job offer. If it is not well-written, you could miss the chance to meet with a prospective employer, which is one of the many issues most job-seekers face.
Therefore, avoid being stereotyped or misunderstood. Give yourself a better chance of getting invited for interview(s). When constructing your résumé/CV, pay close attention to the following common errors:
1) Bad Grammar
Like a bad habit, bad grammar can happen as a result of using too many slang in day-to-day life.
Solution: Get a teacher friend or established professional to proofread your résumé/CV before you send it out, to help pick out any slips and misses that might be picked up by grammar pedants. Also, read your résumé/CV out loud to make sure it sounds right i.e. correct use of tenses, wide range of vocabulary (not repetitive words), double check simple mistakes like “their/ there,” “your/ you’re.”
Getting all this right shows you truly pay attention to detail.
2) Spelling Mistakes
Solution: Do not rush through completing your CV. Typos happen all too easy. For example, we would not recommend to an employer a candidate who ‘revolves customer problems and inquiries’ or ‘knows how to use a laptap.’
3) Poor Formatting
I know a number of employers who are quick to write-off CVs due to bad formatting. They believe they just can’t trust such a person to be straightforward on things.
Solution: Keep the format simple and slick. “These days your CV will most likely be read on-screen before it’s printed off. If indeed, it is ever printed. Therefore, format your CV so that it is easy to read on a screen,” – official advice from a respectable employment site (jobs.ac.uk). Do not have crazy backgrounds or use too many colors. Also, stick with simple and readable font styles. Borders and alignment need to be consistent at all times.
4) Too Long/ Too Many Sentences
The most ideal number of pages your CV should have is one. Employers/ Recruiters receive tons of CVs, therefore do not have the time to go through a CV that is too lengthy or too wordy.
Solution: One page is perfectly adequate for graduate-level applications. Plus, the ability to be concise is a great way to show off your communication skills. Therefore, get rid of clutter, in the form of mission statements, unnecessary descriptive words (e.g. “driven” or “passionate”), irrelevant jobs or jobs you’ve held for less than a year- better still, you can spend less time detailing your roles on that job. Using bullet points on your CV will make the document easy to scan through and more likely to catch somebody’s eye. You can always fill in the gaps at the interview, but until then – less is more.
5) Generic Interests
“Swimming,” “Cooking,” or “Watching movies” as interests for a role of an Accountant, for example, should never be stated.
Solution: If you have no interests that relates to the role you are applying for, do not talk about your [other] interests at all.
6) Not Exhibiting Personal Development
Think of this as the perfect ice-breaker. Think hard on what would make you stand out.
Solution: Instead of simply listing generic interests, think about the kinds of hobbies you have in terms of the skills the employer’s organization requires. Likewise, include anything that could be useful on a practical level such as knowledge of foreign languages or voluntary work, which demonstrates your versatility and leadership abilities, respectively.
7) Not Oriented For Results
Your communication skills are also judged by your use of language.
Solution:When describing your responsibilities be precise and use positive action words such as “initiated…” or “created…” to reinforce the message that you are a go-getter and can-do type of candidate. Furthermore, if you have numbers to prove your impact (e.g. increased customer retention by 5%, mentored 50 youths during a 5-month period, or improved the grades of 50% of the students through after-school lessons); use them.
8) Write Your Own CV
Do not get stunned by questions the interviewer asks due to the information on your CV. Having someone else write your CV will have you disoriented during an interview, as the information may be incomplete, dates could be wrongly stated, or your name could be wrongly spelt.
Solution: WRITE YOUR OWN CV.
9) Unprofessional E-mail Addresses
email@example.com; tuk2DJ@e-mail.com; firstname.lastname@example.org …can guarantee you’ll hardly get a call back or an invitation for an interview.
Solution: Open a new e-mail account, preferably with your name properly spelt. It doesn’t matter if your first name and/or your last name has already been taken by another user. Including numbers should do the trick.
Need an example of a good versus a bad résumé/CV? Leave us a note, and we will publish one of each [for further discussions].