The five obvious CV tips that you’ve refused to listen to!

I think it’s fair to say that the old Curriculum Vitae is anything but straight forward. As daft as it sounds, writing down all the jobs you’ve had on a piece of paper is actually rather difficult. What information do you include? What information do you ignore? Do you add a picture? Do you include every job? How many pages should you aim for? Do you include some generic interests such as socialising and cooking? The choices are endless.

The average recruiter probably looks at around 100 CV’s a day and we see some amazing sights. You would be amazed at the different things we come across when filtering applications or searching job boards. So here are my top 5 CV fails that every recruiter comes across on a regular basis and how they can help you to improve your chances of landing that interview.

  1. Attach The CV
    As daft as it sounds I have been sent some amazing files instead of CV’s. The highlights include: A bank statement, a doctor’s note, a letter to the UK Border agency, a dismissal appeal letter, a death certificate and the crème de la crème a court summons for doing something pretty unspeakable. You might be the most qualified individual in the world but if you don’t actually send your CV, it seems just a tad unlikely that a company will give you a call.
  2. Spell Check Is Not Always Your Friend
    Now if we’re all being honest spell checker is slowly eroding everyone’s ability to use basic spelling and grammar. That said, it’s definitely not 100% accurate. The same can be said for autocorrect – now that one you need to be careful of. Whereas a failed spelling correction might just make you seem a bit like a seven year old, an autocorrect fail can completely change the tone of your CV.
  3. It’s Not The Size It’s The Way You Use It
    Bigger is definitely not better when it comes to CVs. There are legends of mythical 16 page CV’s I have seen whispered about in recruitment forums, personally the longest I have been sent is 7 pages, and some of the stuff that was included was really not needed! It does depend slightly on the level you’re working at, but as a general rule I would say three pages (at the max).
  4. Avoid Selfies
    Now I will be the first to admit I love a good selfie, but there is a time and a place for them. If you decide to include a picture on your CV, (and it depends on the sector you are working in as to whether this is a good idea or not) go for a nice professional headshot. Avoid pictures taken on nights out, funny faces, pouting and above all KEEP YOUR CLOTHES ON (Yes I have been sent a CV with a picture of someone in their underwear before)

  5. Content Is King
    All joking aside content is the most important aspect of the CV. Keep it nice and simple, headline figures, quantifiable, and in an easy to read format that gives a nice snapshot of your experience. I have come across some wonderful bits of information in CV’s before such as blood type, weight, sexual orientation, number of pets, most recent holiday destination, alcoholic drink preference, and even (bizarrely) brand of shampoo. If it doesn’t have any relevance you're probably best leaving it out.

As I said earlier, CV’s are surprisingly hard to get right, and at the same time it’s very easy for information to get lost in translation. A nice simple format with a solid personal profile that highlights your personality is always going to trump anything fancy looking, or that could rival the encyclopaedia Britannica in length. Hopefully by avoiding my top 5 CV fails, you can improve your chances for negotiating your way through the labyrinth of finding a new job.


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