Fed up with your application forms being shunted to the bottom of the pile? There could be something wrong with your CV or LinkedIn profile. Here, Andrew Fennell, director of StandOut CV outlines the most common mistakes made by job-hunters.
Mistake #1 Not matching the CV with the job advert
The biggest mistake is failing to research the job. Most people put together a CV using information they think is important. But if you look thoroughly at the job advert, company website or LinkedIn, you’ll get an understanding of the key things recruiters are looking for. You can then tailor your CV accordingly by moving sections and skills around to make them more important. Likewise, with LinkedIn, tailor your profile to the advert. There’ll be words used in the job description that you can squeeze into your profile, which should be picked up by recruiter searches.
Mistake #2 Designing your CV like a magazine spread
You get many CVs these days with wild colour schemes, photos and even graphs (that usually don’t tell you very much). Employers would much rather see a black and white document that simply tells them about that person. Most recruiting managers will be looking at a pile of hundreds of CVs. To stand out, make sure your CV is clearly designed, rather than using big blocks of text where it’s hard to pick words out.
Mistake #3 Failing to back up your claims
Rather than just listing Excel under your “Skills” section, give the reader/recruiter more info – how long you’ve used it for, any tasks completed, or data you’ve worked with. If you’re a junior candidate with little experience, it might be difficult to expand upon your skills. Instead, focus on numbers and metrics. If you’ve worked in a shop, you could say, “I resolved 95% of all customer queries”, or “I resolved customer wait time by an hour”.
Mistake #4 Bad spelling and grammar
Download Grammarly, a free grammar-checking software that will correct your spelling and punctuation as you type (grammarly.com).
Mistake #5 A CV that’s too long (or too short)
Two pages tends to hit the sweet spot for recruiters. One page isn’t enough, while few people would bother to read three or four pages.
Mistake #6 Bad covering letter (etiquette)
A few years back, covering letters were A4 letters that just repeated everything in the CV. Today, all you need is a quick note introducing yourself. Try to build some rapport, perhaps starting with a friendly, “Hello, hope you are well”. Also, always include the covering letter in the body text of the email, rather than as an attachment.
Mistake #7 Using clichés
“I’m a hard-working team player”, or “I can meet deadlines” – you see this stuff all the time in CVs. However, a recruiter will never search for these terms on LinkedIn or CV Database. Instead, they search for whatever the hiring manager has asked them to search for.
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