Selling yourself to a recruiter has never before been harder than in the Covid-19 pandemic that has rendered hundreds of millions of people jobless across the world, including Bangladesh.
With such job losses, job competitions are huge. Recruiters might take advantage of this too, posing as choosier than ever. And having a good CV without any mistake is of paramount importance now.
Notably, to sort out a CV, a recruiter usually spends 30-50 seconds on average. So, your CV is your first impression, and putting your best foot forward starts with CV writing.
Being a human resource (HR) professional, the author has observed good candidates quite often make silly mistakes in their CVs and pay the price at the initial stage. This article will shed light on the tips of CV writing that will help one know about the common mistakes and how to avoid them.
Spelling and grammar
There can be no excuses for typos and grammatical errors. A CV is the first document that represents candidates to employers. While these errors may look silly, they can represent applicants poorly to employers. According to Laszlo Bock, who was former senior vice president of Google People Operations, typos are deadly because employers interpret them as a lack of detail-orientations and as a failure to care about quality.
A simple spelling mistake can be really off-putting and it also gives the impression that the candidate is too careless to thoroughly review before sending such an important document. Therefore, it is important to take time to re-read a CV several times and, if necessary, to ask a friend to proofread. People tend to see what they mean to type instead of what is really written, so having an objective reader can help identify such minor mistakes.
Formatting and fonts
A lot of people think being creative with a CV means using different kinds of fancy fonts and colours. Honestly, this just makes the CV look clumsy. By no means should one mix up fonts in the CV. It is best to go with one font which is easy to read and professional. The size of the font should not be too big or too small as this can also impact the look of the CV.
Alignment and formatting are equally important because one definitely does not want the CV to look sloppy at the first sight. There should be enough space between lines and different sections and the format should be in a way which looks clean and makes it easier for the recruiter to read or scan through.
Inaccurate contact information
As silly as this may sound, a lot of people actually forget to update their CV to include their most recent contact information. In some cases, the contact information is not even complete and recruiters end up calling the wrong person or sending emails to an invalid address.
Hence, candidates must always make sure that the phone number, address and email address is up-to-date. Also, it is better to not just use a funny email address which someone might have created years ago, rather ensuring to have a professional sounding one.
Focusing on duties rather than achievements
Most people simply write down their responsibilities or what they do in their job on a daily basis. This makes a CV no different than a mere job description or list of responsibilities. Rather than just reeling off job descriptions, candidates should draw attention to their achievements in their current and previous roles.
Focus should be given on specific values they have contributed, projects they have accomplished, business results they have driven and examples of how they have made an impact. Recruiters do not just want to know whether a candidate is fit for the job, they want to know what separates the candidate from the others and what makes him or her a valuable asset.
Failure to tailor
Recruiters usually have to review piles of CVs to find suitable candidates. Therefore, it is important not to crowd the CV with too much irrelevant information to make it unnecessarily lengthy. On the contrary, too little information on the CV makes it look incomplete and gives the impression that the person is uninterested.
The information on a CV should be concise and crisp. It should be tailored according to what the employer is looking for. Also one should ensure to provide information in the reverse chronological order, which means beginning with the most recent position and proceeding backwards, so that his or her experience and work history can be understood easily in a proper order.
The price of a simple mistake on a CV can be very high; it can cost someone the one chance they need to get called for an interview and land on their dream job. While it is impossible to create an ideal CV because different recruiters have different views about a perfect document, one should definitely avoid these common mistakes which are frequently found in many CVs.
Tasnia Kabir is a human resources manager at an international development organisation in Bangladesh. She can be reached at [email protected].