Resumes and CVs are a tough one. They are a blend of tradition infused with your own personality which can make it feel like there are no rules. But there are rules which means it’s easy to get some parts wrong and some parts very right. Here are the top 5 mistakes I see and how you can avoid them:
1. LONGER THAN 2 PAGES
Even those with 20+ years of experience do not need to spill into 4 pages. Sticking to 2 pages shows you respect the recruiters time and have made the effort to only include the most relevant skills, talent and experience.
It is often easier to do a complete brain dump, and I do recommend you keep all versions of your CV in case you ever need to reach back for those transferable skills in a career pivot but that should NEVER be sent out.
Instead, Understand which parts of your experience are most relevant to the opportunity you are applying for and condense those that are less relevant to a bullet pointed list with the date, employer and role. This way it is still showing as a part of your complete career history but makes room for the experience you really want them to know and discuss at interview.
2. NOT HAVING HYPERLINK(S) FOR CONTEXT
It can feel good to spend a few words explaining the awesomeness your impressive current and previous companies do. But don’t. A hyperlink to the company website or project (if publicly available) can say what you are trying to.
The page space on your CV is precious real estate which should be used to talk about you, you and you. Don’t give it away to your employer who probably doesn’t need the extra PR.
Instead, add hyperlinks to employers names and projects if they are publicly available on the world wide web.
3. COVERING THE COVER LETTER
Your profile at the top of the CV should not be more than 4 sentences. Do not elaborate to the point it is a duplicate of your covering letter. It should be an overview of who you are, what you bring to the table and what kind of role or environment you are looking for.
Instead, if you feel tempted to cover the covering letter, write it all out then condense it back down (I wouldn’t want to waste your flow). Once you have done that keep it simple and answer maximum 3 of the following questions:
- What is your approach to work? i.e. Always approaching new challenges with confidence
- Give me a summary of your experience? i.e. communications professional with over 5 years experience in fintech
- Summarise your strengths i.e. a passionate, focused and creative community manager
- What kind of role are you looking for? i.e. Seeking an opportunity to develop sales skills within the media industry
4. SPELL CHECK
It’s important that you do this consistntly becase if you spel things wrong it says you don’t have attention to detail or care about the quality of your CV.
If you haven’t paid attention to the detail of your CV how can I expect you to be detail oriented and quality conscious when you are in the role?
*see what I did there?!?!?
Instead, use spell check! Get someone else to read it with fresh eyes for grammar also.
5. NOT UPDATING REGULARLY
Your CV is a way of expressing your suitability for a role but it’s also a great tool to help you record and review your career growth and progress. Even if you’re not actively looking for a new role, give it a refresh every quarter to see what you’ve been up to, add it and give yourself a pat on the back!
Instead, set a calendar appointment to update every 3 months or so. This gives you enough time to progress in your learning, experience and projects.