Mistakes to avoid making on your CV
Writing a good CV, and keeping it updated can sometimes feel like a chore. But it’s so worth it. Creating a decent CV first time round, makes it so much easier to keep on top of any little tweaks.
A good CV should be well thought out and easy to follow. Here are a few things to avoid if you want yours to be above average.
Say no to CV templates
By all means have a look at CV templates to get a feel for what it should look like, and of course what needs to be included, but don’t, blindly follow a set template. This will be very apparent to an employer.
Most employers – who have probably been looking at CVs for years – will be able to pick out a generic CV template. Your CV is an insight into you – so demonstrate this and prove you’ve genuinely thought about the best way to showcase yourself.
Stick to a need-to-know basis
If you are applying for a job in finance, it is very unlikely an employer will want to know about the paper round you had during school. If you’re applying for a job in journalism, your weekend job at a coffee shop during university is probably not going to be of huge relevance on your CV.
You get the picture.
This is why it’s important to keep you CV up to date. You need to demonstrate you have the relevant skills for the job to your potential employer (or at least the potential to gain them).
Filter out any old work experience from years ago rather than leaving it in to fill up space. No one will read it.
Focus on experience which is relevant, or find a way in which to associate your previous experience with a new role and state how it’s helped you develop skills.
Make use of bullet points
You need to make your CV easy to read.
Using bullet points is a simple way of doing this. Present your skills and previous responsibilities in clear and concise points. It will make your CV flow better, and make it easier for your reader to follow.
Writing long paragraphs, with no clear points will put off any employer from reading through the whole thing.
Use words with meaning
When listing your skills and strengths make sure they relate to the skills and strengths required for the job you are applying for.
If it’s not going to be useful for the role, then don’t put it in.
And when writing about previous employment, there is little point in just the listing duties you were supposed to carry out as part of your job. An employer wants to see evidence of skills and how these can be backed up by your previous roles.
So instead, talk about the responsibilities you had, and any achievements or projects you’ve completed or are working towards.
Looks are not everything…
…but they do hold some significance.
Of course, the quality of the content in your CV is most important, but unless you’re applying for a creative or arty job where a fancy CV may be expected, then don’t stray too far with your design. Keep it simple, and above all readable.
It’s fine to put a unique spin on your CV, but fancy fonts, colours and backgrounds are usually inappropriate.