What could possibly be the worst mistake you could make when it comes to your CV?
Not targeting it to the kind of job you’re looking for is a biggie. Leaving out keywords that a scanner can pick up is another no-no. So is failing to list your achievements in ways the reader will find meaningful.
But the biggest error of all in putting your CV together is simply this: being sloppy.
A spelling mistake here. Forgetting to leave out information that could be used to discriminate against you there. Sending it in the wrong format. Small bits of sloppiness add up quickly. They can end up getting your CV tossed into the “don’t call us, we’ll call you” pile in a flash. So here are three tips to prevent this from happening.
Tip 1. Don’t rely entirely on spell check when proofreading
Think your word processing software will fix all the mistakes on your CV? Well, mine couldn’t figure out that in the previous sentence I should have written “all the mistakes” rather than using the singular form of the word “mistake.” Instead, it told me to write “fix the entire mistake on your CV.” So much for letting your computer proofread your CV for you.
What should you do as an alternative? Check out how to get others to go over your pre-final draft and catch the errors. Either free or for a fee, a few more pairs of eyes on your work can spot what you – and that pricey word processor of yours – didn’t.
Tip 2. Customise your wording to the job you’re applying for
Generic CVs are a dime a dozen. You may be able to get away with a “one size fits all” approach if applying for lower paying jobs such as retail clerk or warehouse worker. But for the higher paying jobs, an employer expects you to put in some extra effort.
Try your best to match the requirements listed in the job ads you’re applying for. And create a dynamic Summary section atop the first page.
Tip 3. Send it in the proper format
In our era of electronic job postings and e-CV submissions (sending your application via e-mail and online form), don’t guess which CV format the employer prefers.
Follow their instructions on the job posting carefully. If sending directly to an employer via their e-mail, include your CV as scannable text within the body of the e-mail itself; then attach a version with nice layout and fancier fonts too, just in case they want to show it around to other staff.