In my experience as a recruitment manager and my current position in HR, I am responsible for sifting through CV’s and selecting the ones I choose to reply to.
Believe me, it is not an easy task – especially if we have advertised on free sites like Gumtree and Jobvine which is further compounded by the fact that a position may not need a very high level of education or a number of years of experience.
Remember, your attitude ultimately gets you the job, but your CV – well, that get’s you an interview.
I know some of you struggle with creating the right CV and may not know what to look out for. I have compiled a list of a few important things to keep in mind before you send off your CV to an agency or directly to an organisation.
1. Don’t add unneccesary information. I find many candidates have their first page as a cover page which only says ‘CV OF ………‘ . That is a big no-no. If you are going to have a cover page, rather type a short motivation which gives the reader a bit of a summarised version of your experience and qualifications. Also remember to stick the guideline (if there is one from the employer) with regards to the number of pages they require.
If you graduated from high school a while ago, best not to put “head girl” ; “prefect”; “President of the SRC” as accomplishments. If you’re looking for a part-time job and you have just completed matric, then okay but other than that, no. Just no.
Do not give the reader 5 different telephone numbers! In fact, when I can’t get hold of the person on the 1st number, I am already feeling frustrated. Do you expect me to call that many numbers before I get into contact with you. Pass. A tip for you is to rather have two numbers (a landline and a cell), this means that there will always be someone available on the landline if you are not contactable on your cell and can give you a message if need be.
Keep your CV concise unless you’re applying for a CEO position or the like. I really don’t need to know that you worked as a waitress in 1990. Yes, I receive CV’s that are over ten pages long with a great number of temp jobs on them. In fact, this does not create a good impression. You may think it shows that you are experienced but, in fact, it shows that you may be a serial job hopper and if hired, you may move onto the next job that attracts you.
2. Have a neat, structured and good flow to your CV. Too many times I find CV’s that:
- have borders that cut off vital information
- are typed in various sizes and types of font
- list job duties in a single paragraph
- have large gaps between information
- use capitals throughout
- do not have the information aligned correctly
- are in different colours
- do not use bold or underlined headings
These are common mistakes and should always be checked. A tip on this is to go to print preview and have a look at how your CV looks to you. Here is where the recruiter will go if he/she wanted to print your CV so imagine you are recruiter – what would you like to see?
3. Always check grammar and spelling errors. I cannot stress this enough. In fact, this should be your main priority. Many recruiters will notice a spelling error as soon as they read your CV, and boom! your chances have already dropped. The spelling errors show that you did not think your CV was important enough to proof-read and believe me, an employer is not going to want you sending emails to clients and management if your spelling is pathetic. A top tip here is to read your CV out loud once you have completed typing it. Once you’re happy with the way it sounds, analyse each word and check for any spelling errors that may occur – it helps if you get a friend or family member to check it for you too. A fresh set of eyes couldn’t hurt.
Examples of errors I have seen: (from actual CV’s)
- “Switched bored”
- “Hard Workier”
- “Adopt” (instead of ‘Adapt’)
There are so many more errors, but this is just a few. Hitting another key by accident or being in a rush is no excuse. This is the one document that reflects who you are and you should give it the time and attention it warrants. You will be sending this to a number of employers in your lifetime so make sure you are 100% satisified with it.
I intend on making this a regular topic in my posts, I think we all need a bit of help especially since there a large number of people seeking employment. If you liked this post and would like to suggest I do a post on something more specific which is career-related, please let me know.