Here are some common mistakes to be aware of:
- Sending a ‘vanilla’ CV which has not been tailored to reflect the needs of the job you are applying for. Do not expect the prospective employer to work out how you fit the role – you must do this yourself.
- Profile/Personal Details section which merely contains a list of what you are looking for, eg “I am seeking roles in which I can use my… skills”, etc. This section should promote you, what you do, your achievements and the value you add – concisely. In other words what you have to offer the employer, not what you want the employer or job to provide for you.
- Career History/Employment – many CVs contain just a list of responsibilities in this section. This is a wasted opportunity as it doesn’t give any indication as to the standard with which they were carried out, the value you added to the company, or provide an opportunity to sell yourself. While you should always briefly state what your responsibilities have been and state their scope and size, your emphasis should be on stating your achievements (ie., what you did, the skills you used and the benefit that resulted).
- Tucking the most relevant or impressive aspects of your candidature to the end. For example if your qualifications are particularly relevant/impressive make a feature of them and place them early on in the CV document after the Contact Details and Profile sections. On the other hand if your qualifications are not a particular sales point, put them at the end.
- An Interests section is not essential. If you include one it should be brief. It is intended to give the reader an indication of your interests particularly in terms of the picture they present of you. These can be very valuable for those newly entering the job market. Remember that your CV is a business document and resist the temptation to expand at length on your family, pets, hobbies, etc.
- Leaving unaccounted for gaps in your career history.
- Putting your date of birth on your CV. It is not necessary, and presents a particular risk to you in terms of identity theft if the document is stored electronically.
Finally, after the time and effort you have put into creating your CV, don't forget to check:
- For spelling, grammar and continuity errors
- That it does you justice – is this a clear, honest and comprehensive summary of your skills, aptitudes and achievements?