Unsure about how to write a CV? Here we provide some tips and pointers on how to create a document which represents you in the best way possible to prospective employers.
When creating a CV, the main thing to remember is that you must allow yourself plenty of time, as it requires a good level of focus to ensure that everything is double checked for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, bad formatting and inconsistency.
Missing this vital stage and submitting a CV packed with errors could prevent you from being invited for an interview, no matter how experienced you are. Remember: you want to stand out from everyone else, and first impressions count!
These are our top tips for overcoming the most common errors we see in CVs:
1. Keep it short:
A CV should be no more than two A4 pages. Employers spend an average of eight seconds looking at each CV they come across, so don’t send them a long-winded essay as that’s a surefire way to end up on the ‘no’ pile.
2. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors:
This is one of the most common mistakes made, so before submitting your CV and cover letter, you must always:
- use the spell checker on your computer, ensuring it is set to the correct language;
- print off your CV and cover letter and proof read, as you will find it easier to pick up on mistakes;
- read your CV aloud to highlight any glaring errors;
- and ask a friend or family member to proof read the document – a second pair of eyes is always useful.
Ensure all elements of your application are consistent. For example:
- ensure you are consistent in your use of abbreviations and capitals letters;
- use the same font and font size throughout your application;
- and don’t switch from writing in the first person to the third person, and vice versa. Write in the first person throughout.
4. The application is poorly formatted:
Formatting is often one of the first things a recruiter or hiring manager will notice. Here’s how to make the best first impression possible:
- keep your reader in mind – your application must be as easy to follow as possible. Therefore, avoid long paragraphs and break key information up using bullet points;
- avoid using logos and pictures on your CV. Not only are they unnecessary, but they can result in a poorly formatted CV;
- keep it simple: avoid the temptation to get carried away using backgrounds, borders or clipart;
- print the documents out to quickly flag formatting errors – this way, you will soon see if something doesn’t look quite right;
- and try and keep your CV in Microsoft Word as much as possible.
5. Tell the truth
Lies on your CV can land you in trouble, especially if your employers check your background and references. You may also be quizzed in your interview on what you have said, and if you can’t answer it will be an awkward and embarrassing moment for you.
6. Keep your CV current
A CV is a constant work in progress, and needs to be regularly updated to ensure it’s at its strongest. Even if you’ve been in the same role for years or aren’t ready to apply for new jobs, you regularly gain new skills, experiences and successes that should be reflected in your CV and online profiles.
By keeping your CV and online profiles up to date, you will have the ability to quickly apply for your dream job if it becomes available.
In summary, we strongly advise that you not only give yourself plenty of time to prepare your CV, but also ensure that you regularly review it and keep it current, so it’s ready to go in an instant.