24 Sep 2009
The 7 Sins- CV mistakes to avoid
CV writing is a tricky skill to master as it often seems as though everyone is giving you different advice.
In the past I’ve posted some general information on CV writing skills. See: Is Your CV Holding you back?
However I thought it might also be useful to provide a few more tips to help you to write a successful CV. This post has been inspired by “The 7 Sins- Interview Mistakes to Avoid” post on the Off the Shelves Blog, which can be read here: http://thecareersgrouplibrary.wordpress.com/2009/09/16/7-interview-sins/
So remember the 7 CV sins:
1. Pride You want to sell yourself to employers and you may be tempted to include a photo of yourself. Even if you take pride in your appearance and feel that your photo presents a professional image it is not appropriate to put a photo on your CV. I recently attended an event where over 15 employers gave a speech, and they all specified that they did not want to see a photo on a CV. I have never met an employer who has mentioned that they appreciate a photo.
2. Greed When you write your CV you may have several different areas or sectors that you would like to work in. If you are applying for different types of jobs, or jobs within different sectors then prepare different versions of your CV that highlight your skills that are relevant for the job/sector you’re applying for. Don’t be greedy and keep one CV for all employers. Have several versions of your CV and share the jobs between them so each version has a shot at bagging the job that matches the CV.
3. Envy CVs from other countries are frequently formatted differently and can be much longer than traditional UK CVs. Whilst you may be envious of people in other countries for whom it is acceptable to have a 4 page CV, this is not the case in the UK. As a general rule your CV should not be longer than two pages (there are a few exceptions, for example if you’re an academic or doctor). Keep your CV concise and to the point.
4. Wrath So you spend time adapting your CV to a specific employer; you’ve put a lot of effort in and you feel hopeful. You send it off and wait expectantly only to receive a generic rejection letter or worse- nothing. Don’t waste time being angry or resentful. Be proactive- if you haven’t heard anything by a couple of weeks after the application deadline then you could call to check they received it, and see if they have reviewed it yet; they may just be delayed. If you have been rejected don’t take it personally and don’t get angry; move on and apply for more jobs.
5. Lust When looking at jobs do you find yourself lusting after a job that requires more experience than you actually have? In a competitive market it is unlikely that you will be considered if you don’t have some of their essential requirements. Instead of applying for the job make a note of what qualifications, skills and experience that kind of role requires so that you can work on developing them and be ready to apply next time you see a similar role.
6. Gluttony CV writing is hard work and you may feel the need to have a snack. Don’t get food on your CV! (ok, so it was hard to find a CV sin to do with gluttony!) But it is important to make sure that your CV is neat, clean and looks professional.
7. Sloth Take time to ensure your CV is up to scratch. Do some research on CVs, see a career coach, ask friends or family in recruitment to review it for you. Proof read it to make sure there are no spelling mistakes or typos. Edit it and make sure it looks neat and tidy. Be active and make sure that your CV is marketing your skills, qualifications and experience effectively!