CV's: BAD HABITS

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CV's: BAD HABITS

CV's, curriculum vitae; they can be tricky to write and a pain to keep updated.  Yours may or not be working for you. There are some things you really need to know, ready?

Inconsistent format

Little things matter. Make sure you have a consistent font and font size throughout your CV. Even if you are applying for a creative role (e.g. digital marketing or graphics) quirky helps. But accuracy and structure matter far more; the content HAS to be right. Another thing I have seen a lot of are CV's that switch the way the date is listed for periods of employment e.g. month and year for one role and then only listing the year for another. That stands out might lead a recruiter to think you're trying to hide something.

Obviously outdated information

Let me give you an example, I once read a CV that included lines like, "I am hard-working and conscientious student…," and, "…my predicted GCSE grades are…" This belonged to a nineteen-year-old who had dropped out of A-levels and been working full-time in a call centre. In my experience when an employer spots that kind of obvious discrepancy they put the CV aside and move on.

Mass mail outs - the "one-CV-fits-all" approach

Every role and every employer are unique. Any approach needs to be tailored accordingly. Many times I have been challenged over this, usually because this means more "work". It isn't about working harder. This is about focusing effort and working smarter! Take the time to understand your intended audience in order to grab their attention quickly. A lot of employers are drawn to "storytelling" i.e. a profile that communicates passion and a clear direction of travel. Employers want to feel you are a "fit" for the role, and for the culture and values of the business. If you REALLY want to work for their business, a tailored, individualised CV is a good way to go and worth the extra effort it will take.

Underselling or being overly humble

Most of us find it difficult to say how brilliant we are at something (I include myself in that statement). The last thing any of us want to be known as is conceited. We need to understand that a CV is definitely NOT the place for self-depreciation or false modesty. There is still a huge amount of competition out there! How are you going to stand out from the crowd? How else is the employer going to recognise your potential, your experience, and your quality? It needs to jump off the page at them.

Not evidencing your accomplishments

Even if you can overcome the hurdle of making positive statements about yourself, they mean little if you can't back them up. You have to flesh it out; use action verbs and phrases to describe your contribution. Don't overlook any voluntary work or non-paid placements. Showing measurable results adds credibility. Think about ways in which you may have improved service, had an idea for a new process, or solved a particular business problem. You should have a good understanding of what employers want to see, so show it (but keep a little something back for your interview).

Things to Remember

Number 1: There is no single, correct way to write a CV. Know that every Job Centre adviser, employment agency, and employability tutor will tell you something slightly different.

Number 2: Your CV is a tool to get you to an interview, which is its primary function. Therefore, the most important thing is to know the message you want to deliver. Make sure that everything in your CV supports that theme.

Number 3: While the downloadable CV templates are helpful, they are a starting point only. Unfortunately, they often look and "feel" like a template unless they are edited and adapted.

To deliver a brief but persuasive message you must choose your words wisely. In an era of information overload it pays to keep it relevant and authentic.  Show your ability, dedication and ultimately respect for your audience. Bottom line: before you attach that CV to an email, before you upload it or before post it off, definitely revisit it thoroughly… or get in touch with The BASE?