Update that CV with confidence #1

When re-writing your CV, sitting with a blank page in front of you can seem daunting. It’s tempting to just pull up your old one and tweak it a bit, and that can be a good place to start – however, there are a number of CV mistakes that you need to watch out for and make sure that you edit out. Here are some major pitfalls to avoid, to set you on the right track to a successful CV and hopefully an interview:

1 – Not modifying your CV for the job that you’re applying for
I mentioned this is my last post and it’s really important. You need to appeal to the employer and the specific role that you’re applying for and this is one of the main reasons that simply adding on your last role to your old CV can be false economy. You need to include, truthfully, the skills, experience and knowledge that the job advert has mentioned. You could even do further research about the company, or speak to your recruiter to find out what the company really wants and make sure that you have covered these points in your CV. You need to show them how you will really fit their requirements, and your chances of an interview will be increased.

2 – Not enough detail about your current job
So, even if you do decide just to add your last role to the top of your CV, please make sure that you take the time to write about it in detail. Both hirers and recruiters will check several main points in their first glance then, if the CV is of initial interest, will look for further detail. One of the first places they look is the current role and it needs to show your skills, experience and knowledge. The only time this will not be the case is if you are having a career change or if you have recently left education.

3 – Putting job roles in the wrong order
It makes sense now, the current role needs to be first because it’s the one that holds most interest for the person reading the CV, and it follows then that the job roles need to be in reverse chronological order; your less recent experience is almost always less relevant (and coincidentally, to avoid an overly long CV, should really be less detailed too).

4 – Gaps in experience, without an explanation
It’s fine to have gaps in employment; it’s pretty common too. However, if these gaps aren’t explained, the first conclusion that the CV reader will jump to is that you were doing nothing at all. Including dates when you have been undertaking personal projects, travelling, helping family, or even when you have been unwell will show the employer that you have been constructive and may even be a selling point to some employers – and remember that no good employer will discriminate against you for illness.
5 – Grammar mistakes
It goes without saying that bad grammar reflects poorly on the writer. It will give a bad first impression, demonstrate poor written communication skills and may even suggest that you are lazy. First, proof-read but, if grammar isn’t your strong point, ask someone to check it over for you or use a grammar-checking tool to give your CV the final once-over.

6 – Spelling mistakes
These are a big no-no. There is really no excuse for spelling errors with the spell-checking technology that is available today. Be careful though, spell-checkers aren’t completely infallible, and names or miss-used words can confuse them. A final proof read is important and again, ask for help if spelling isn’t your strong point.

I hope these pointers help with getting that CV update (or rewrite) started. There will be more advice for more detailed refinements in future.

10 September 2018