According to one statistic from Be Hiring, "the average time that a recruiter spends looking at a CV is 5-7 seconds". With this in mind candidates need to have a CV that is written with the purposes of holding the attention of a hiring manager for more than this time. With the market place so competitive it is necessary for candidates to know that without having a well written and tailored CV then their chances of being selected for an interview are virtually nil.
A few minutes spent updating your CV and tailoring it to match the requirement specifics will be time well spent and will pay of greatly. Below we have listed the main five mistakes that candidates need to steer clear of when drafting up their CV’s to give themselves the best possible chances of securing their dream role.
1. Not checking for spelling mistakes - You must be sure that when you have completed writing out your CV that you proof read it again and again for spelling mistakes. Any job you are applying for will require a high amount of professionalism, and spelling errors will be perceived by hiring managers as very unprofessional, and will ruin your chances of being selected for an interview. If you need someone to help you to check your CV over for mistakes then perhaps ask a family member or a friend to help. A fresh perspective on things from different eyes can help to spot any potential spelling flaws.
2. Confusing and cluttered CV layout - Using text that is too small to read, different colours or using bold headlines that do little to draw the attention of the hiring manager to certain key elements of your CV should be avoided. The layout of your CV should be presentable easy to read and digest similary the format should be as such. Aim to use one standard text font type, of a certain size and colour. Where you do need to highlight and group certain information together remember not to cram too much information together and to leave paragraphs with plenty of space in between such as the grouping of employment history and skills. Your CV should flow in a chronological order (most recent dates first) so that it does not confuse the reader or worse lead them to put your CV to one side never to be read again.
3. Having a CV that is too long - Ideally most of the advice on CV length is between 1-2 pages. However where a candidate has an impressive employment and indeed experience history that they feel is beneficial to help their case in securing a role then in certain circumstances as long as that information is relevant (in particular of a professional role) then more than 2 pages is fine.
4. Telling lies to bulk out your CV - However tempting it may be, please avoid telling lies to either secure a role or to impress an interviewer. Saying that you were the head of the IT department when you were in fact a junior IT technician or that you managed a team of 300 when it was only a team of 3 will not help you if you are then asked to explain this in greater detail in any subsequent interview. The interviewer will be trained to detect such lies and if you cannot explain the outcome and key attributes of a project that you claimed you headed up and were the driving force behind its success, then the interviewer will know that you are hiding something. Employers will also check references, so even if you have managed to bluff your way through the interview and secure the position you could find later that you could face possible dismissal from any previous undisclosed lies you stated on your CV and during the interview. Be aware also that employers and recruiters are savvy in doing background checks online and are accustomed to using search engines and other sources to explore in detail if you actually were a head of an IT department or claimed to work for a certain company that never actually existed.
5. Forgetting to accompany your CV with a Covering Letter - While it can be said that your CV will help you to distinguish your skills as a viable candidate and why you are suited to the role as well as your previous experience and your background education, it is still quite a structured format that doesn’t really allow for any deviation in what can be said. Therefore the main benefit of having a covering letter is that you can really get across to the hiring manager why you are the best person for the job and how your previous experience is suited to the role on offer. Alternately a covering letter can help you to clear up any areas of confusion on your CV such as gaps in employment history, which the interviewer may ask you about in an interview. A well written covering letter bridges the gap and makes connections between you as a person and the skills and experience you can bring to the company.