How to Write a CV – Five Essential Mistakes to Avoid

How to Write a CV – Five Essential Mistakes to Avoid

1. Spam? No thank you, Ma’am

Job hunting is a notoriously excruciating process, as you hope that one encouraging reply or phone call will surface amid a tide of rejection. The temptation is often to apply for as many positions as possible, which is logical. Remember, however, to afford each application the proper, unique focus it deserves. Modify your CV for every single application, linking your past experiences and achievements to the particular post being applied for.

Generic CVs are easy to spot, and will have your prospective employer irked in an instant. Clearly, tailoring every application will be considerably more time-consuming but ten well-measured applications will deliver a higher success rate than 100 copied and pasted, blunt stabs in the dark.

2. Proofreading (contact ALBA EDITING!)

To err is human, to forgive divine. This is NOT a mantra adopted by your prospective employer when it comes to assessing CVs, who instead is actively seeking any worthwhile reason to consign your application to the recycling bin, and there are few more glaring justifications for this than a mistake in spelling, punctuation or grammar.

Your spellchecker will flag up most such errors, but it cannot be fully trusted. Have your CV read by an attentive and experienced friend or family member. Or better still, have your CV professionally proofread to ensure your application is flawless: a good proofreader’s objectivity is invaluable in this situation.

3. Presentation

When you go for an interview, you’ll make sure you look your best: dry-cleaned suit, an ironed shirt, a shave, haircut and make-up will, in varying proportions, be part of the pre-interview repertoire. But dedication to a neat and tidy appearance should start long before that.

A clearly and consistently presented CV is not as commonly encountered as one would expect. Ensure consistency throughout in terms of font and size. Your name should be clearly stated at the top of the paper with your essential details – date of birth, address and contact details – along the top.

In addition, remember to present your work experience and education in a chronological fashion with the most recent at the top.

4. A Boast to Success

Your qualifications and experiences may be impressive, so do not keep them secret. You may think that an engineering degree from a Russell Group university speaks for itself: well, it doesn’t. Your prospective employer will want to know more about where you excelled and why this sets you up suitably for the particular role in question. Listing a course’s content or simply writing a job description of a position you have held is not particularly enlightening.

5. Size Matters

Your prospective employer will have many interests and hobbies. But reading the life histories of complete strangers probably won’t be one of them. Which football team you support or where you travelled when you were sixteen may consume your friends’ interest, but not a would-be manager. So, when drafting your CV, keep it accurate, brief and clear, and avoid superfluous personal information.

For help with CVs and cover letters, contact ALBA EDITING at[email protected]

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