CV Writing Tips – Part 2 – What to Avoid
Here is Part 2 of our 4 part series.
CV writing tips – Part 2 – What to Avoid
Content of a resume is extremely important, but so too is a well-written resume. How your resume is written can be just as important as the contents.
Lets start with the most important pitfall – spelling errors.
Did you know 61% of employers automatically reject candidates with spelling mistakes and typos in their CV?! If you have spelling errors, it’s a bad reflection on you – it questions your attention to detail and can also question your qualifications and even intelligence.
What not to include
1. Your personal details
Due to privacy issues and the potential for identity theft if your resume ends up in the wrong hands, it is recommended that you do not include your home address on your resume. However it is ok to include your city/suburb and state to show that you are local or can easily commute to work.
The same is true for your date of birth, place of birth and marital status.
If you are applying for a job out of town – it is ok to leave off your location completely so that you don’t inadvertently exclude yourself from consideration for the position.
It is important to include your telephone number and email address for prospective employer to be able to contact you. However beware of what email address you use – please see below.
2. Unprofessional or outdated email address
Your resume is your first opportunity to present yourself to an employer as a professional, so you should have a professional email address – for instance ditch the university or school email address and try not to use any unprofessional email addresses such as firstname.lastname@example.org. A survey found that 76% of CVs with unprofessional email addresses are ignored.
Don’t waste real estate in your resume with references. Event ‘references upon request’ is not required as hiring managers know you have references and will ask for them at the appropriate time.
4. Career Objective
A career objective is largely obsolete. It tells an employer what you want from them, when the focus should really be on the employer’s needs. Furthermore, if you are applying for a job that doesn’t eactly meet your objective, you are essentially telling your prospective employer that you are apply for a job that doesn’t exactly meet your objective and effectively the job isn’t right for you.
What to avoid
1. Company specific jargon
Many job seekers make the common mistake of using terms, job titles, or acronyms that are specific to their previous employer but aren’t universal to the industry. This sort of jargon can be confusing.
2. Soft skills
If you are going to have a skills section on your resume, it should be focused on hard skills and competencies – not soft skills. Whilst soft skills are important – it can be weaved into the work experience or your cover letter.
3. Stylized fonts
Appearance counts, but so does readability. Skip any fancy or ultra-stylized fonts and instead choose a font that is both professional and clean-looking. For example, Calibri and Verdana are standard fonts that will translate well from your computer to the receiver’s.
4. High School education
Your resume’s education section doesn’t need to reach too far back. For example, if you have a college degree, it’s inferred that you graduated from high school.
However, there are exceptions as to when you’d want to highlight something from your high school years. Some job seekers had truly significant work experiences in high school or if you started a business when you were in high school, that’s something you could put in work experience section.
Generally CVs in the UK, US, Canada and Australia do not usually include a photograph unless you are an actor, in media or journalism. This minimizes the potential for discrimination. It’s better to post your photo on your social media profiles or personal website, where it’s expected by recruiters and hiring managers.
However in European countries, such as France, Belgium and German, its common for CVs to include a passport sized photograph in the top right hand corner.
If you do include a photograph, it should be a head and shoulders shot – you should be dressed suitably and smiling.
Get your resume reviewed
One of the biggest mistakes you can make with your resume is not getting it reviewed when you’re done writing it. Having a resume is no use to you unless it’s working in your favor by properly highlighting your skills and the value you’d bring to a company. MentorSelector also has people experienced in industries who may be able to guide you on what to focus on in a resume, as well as certified resume writers such as Karen Huller.
In conclusion – don’t make a common mistake many applicants do. One survey of employers found the following mistakes were most common:
- Spelling and grammar 56% of employers found this
- Not tailored to the job 21%
- Length not right & poor work history 16% (we will address this in Part 3 of the series)
- Poor format and no use of bullets 11% (we will address this in Part 3 of the series)
- No accomplishments 9%
- Contact & email problems 8%
- Objective/profile was too vague 5%
- Lying 2%
- Having a photo 1%
- Others 3% (listing all memberships, listing personal hobbies, using abbreviations)
Stayed tuned for part three of this series next week, where we look at the importance of formatting your CV.
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