Common mistakes to avoid when writing your CV
The internet is full of advice about how to write a great CV. There are numerous CV templates to choose from and lots of free and “paid for” advice available.
Our tips are based on what we see work within the automotive sector in terms of conversion to interview. Lots of advice comes from people who focus on a document looking a certain way but not on the purpose of the document – it should be a means to an end.
Whatever the format you choose (and here is one we find useful) there are certain guidelines that should always apply.
2-3 pages should be enough for anyone. Focus on the most recent experience but also think about emphasising what is most relevant for the role. Older work history should be included but can be increasingly brief as you move back. Most recent role first.
Avoid boxes and any overly complicated formatting. Recruitment software and many job boards will not store or search your CV properly otherwise. A straightforward word document is the best.
Capital letters (capitals should not be used to add emphasis to a word) plus think about whether you want to use full stops at the end of your bullet points (either with or without is grammatically acceptable, but stick to one).
- Contact Details
Seems obvious but use numbers and addresses you have frequent access to as well as being confidential – and check them for accuracy.
Include your physical address with postcode. The postcode is used by many search engines and most recruiters will search using a geographical base.
Focus on achievements – especially recent ones. If you are a sales person, how you have done against recent targets is something recruiting managers want to see.
- Tailoring your application
Be prepared to amend your CV for each application to ensure the most relevant information is emphasised and is clear to the prospective employer. This may be as simple as changing the order of bullet points. Don’t rely on a cover letter – employers and recruiters will focus on your CV.
- Avoid Irrelevance
Just as it is important to include relevant details, avoid cluttering your CV with irrelevant personal information. The name of your wife, children and dog and the fact you once met Bono and were Mr Brighton 1994 may matter to you but not to your future employer.
- Don’t be a Dairy Manger…
We all make mistakes and often they don’t matter. However your CV is at first stages all that is representing you and needs to be right. Don’t rely on spell-check – it can’t tell if a word is in context. Always get someone you trust to proof read for you.
Here are my top typos to avoid – we see them every week!
- “Dairy” for “Diary”
- “Manger for Manager”
- “Professional” – spelt every way you can imagine
- “Principle for Principal” – we see nearly as many “Dealer Principles” as “Dealer Principals”
- “Roll” (as in bacon or forward) for “Role” (as in job)
- “Perspective” for “Prospective”
- Soured for Sourced as in “I regularly soured new customers …”
- Ruin for Run – “I have been ruining my own business since 2013”
- Using it’s when you should use its (it’s is short for it has or it is. If it cannot be expanded to one of those, it’s wrong!) and other random use of apostrophes.
- “Costumers” for “Customers”
- “Filed” for “Field” as in “I am a filed sales professional”
When we are working with you to secure a role that seems a good fit, we will work hard with you to ensure your CV best represents you and is in a format that we know works for the employer. This way you get the best chance to progress to interview – and we can offer great support with that next stage too.