Making a nice first impression on someone is a once in a lifetime opportunity so you want to nail it the first time; especially if it involves your career.
Sending your CV for a job application can be quite daunting. Did you add relevant information? Is it too long? Too short? What if they don’t hire you? Tons of questions can cloud your mind.
Do you know, a recruiter may only look at your CV for just 6 seconds! That’s the make or break moment. And quite honestly, there are certain things can give an immediate bad impression before the recruiter even reaches the end of your CV.
In order to create a killer CV, you need to follow a couple of guidelines, a list of do’s and don’ts if you will.
1: Get rid of that email address!
I’m sure you considered yourself quite the comedian when you named your email “firstname.lastname@example.org” or “email@example.com”. You might want to keep those for private use and not on your professional CV.
You’ll get yourself rejected at first sight if you put these at the top of your CV. Take out some time and set up a professional e-mail address and this time, stick to your own name. These silly e-mail addresses will only give a negative impression.
There really isn’t any excuse for spelling and grammatical errors on your CV. Your recruiter expects you to showcase yourself through your CV and any grammatical errors will just show how careless and lazy you can be. It might seem like you didn’t put any effort into your CV.
Recheck your CV at least THREE times! Sit down and read it out loud, have it checked by a friend, you can even use online spelling and grammar checking tools. Just keep in mind that you do NOT want to let any spelling mistakes slip by.
3: Don’t Use Inaccurate Dates
You would usually provide a list of all your previous jobs in your CV. You should make sure all your jobs are listed accurately along with their start and finish dates (mention the month and year you started and retired).
If you don’t accurately mention these dates, the recruiter might get the impression you’re trying to hide something or you’re lying. Another thing you must keep in mind is to list your most recent employments, stick to the last 5-10 years at the most.
Next, don’t fabricate lies. Businesses have started carrying out background checks before taking someone on board. So if you’re thinking about lying, you might want to think again.
Don’t fabricate university degrees, list inaccurate dates or exaggerate your accomplishments. These are simply ridiculous lies and you’ll easily get caught.
4: Candidate Picture
This should be easy enough to understand. Your picture (if required) should seem professional and simple. No need to include a glamorous picture off of your Instagram feed. You will be judged based on your skills and work experience, not because of the outfit or makeup you had on when you took that selfie! (At least we hope so)
Also, if it’s not required you don’t need to add one at all. It’ll give the recruiter more time to focus on your skills and experience.
5: Properly Format your CV
Imagine being handed a CV you can’t make head to toe of. This would be more frustrating if you have hundreds of CV’s to sort through. Nobody’s going to take the extra time to decipher your CV. This is why proper formatting is crucial.
A word of advice: Keep it simple and easy to read, use a simple font (Calibri, Arial or Times New Roman will do), use shorter paragraphs, bulletin points, leave plenty of white space and export your CV as a Word doc (1-3 pages).
6: How long?
How long should your CV be? Well, some say it should be a minimum of 2 pages at least. Some say it should be a maximum of 3 pages long.
What’s important is that you keep the important information at the top so the recruiter’s eyes land on it firsthand. That’s how you’ll grab their attention. Don’t be shy and show off those achievements of yours. THAT’S the real deal.
7: Don’t add irrelevant information
Just as we mentioned not adding a photo unless requested to do so, adding irrelevant personal information can also get your CV rejected.
You shouldn’t have to add your height, weight, religion, marital status unless it would directly affect the organization you intend to work for. The same goes for quirky hobbies that might be a bit too much such as ‘snakeskin collecting’ or ‘witchcraft’. Stick to relevant information.
Your recruiter should only judge you on the basis of your education, skills, and achievements.
8: Explain your unemployment gaps (Unless you got fired!)
Whether you believe it or not, a lot of people have employment gaps in their CVs. That doesn’t mean you should lie to fill up those gaps.
Be honest about this, did you take a gap due to health issues, did you take a small vacation, a sabbatical? Or did you simply retire momentarily? Try not to give the recruiter an impression that you might be hiding something.
9: Add proper references
Next, make sure you add some references for your hiring manager to contact in case he wants. Yes, most of the time they probably won’t but this just makes you more trustworthy.
Instead of simply boasting on about yourself, this shows that you’re confident in what people say about you. Add references to your two latest employers for a start. They will certainly boost your credibility
10: Add you’re correct contact information:
It would be the worse if you got finalized as a candidate only for the recruiter not being able to contact you because of the wrong contact information.
Recheck the contact information you’ve provided. There’s always a good chance you may have misspelled your email address or added the wrong phone number. CV’s without the right contact information is next to useless.