To this day many people still overlook the fact that a professional CV is a marketing document in which you market yourself to prospective employers. It is not a document for you to simply list your personal details and employment history. A lot of well accomplished, capable candidates are wondering why they are not getting as many opportunities as they think they should even though they apply for roles they are qualified for and hold efficient experience. Maybe, just maybe that is not what the recruiter sees when reading their CVs.
Most of us have eaten burgers that a far more superior in quality than some of the more popular brands that have a similar price range and one would wonder how the other brand is getting more customers than the other. Well, it is simple, BRANDING & MARKETING. The one food joint is marketing themselves better than the other. The job market pretty much works the same. The candidates with the best and most well-written CVs get the interview and of the interviewed candidates the one that sold themselves best in the interview gets the job.
When putting together your professional CV avoid these common mistakes to enhance your chances of getting ahead in an already saturated and grueling job market.
Sometimes more is too much, consider the number of CVs the hiring manager has to go through. It is not reasonable to expect anyone to read a 10-page CV. Remember a professional CV is a marketing document, not a history book where you document your entire career journey. Stick to what is relevant and recent. Table the rest without going into too much detail unless that experience is relevant to the job you are applying for. Have a Skills Summary to summarise all the awesome skills you picked up along the way and only detail your last two or three roles, for older roles just have Company, Title, and Duration.
Lists of duties vs what you actually did
A CV is not a job spec, it is a bad idea to just list your duties, this is not the best way to market your expertise. The best approach is to document your accomplishments in each role and place emphasis on the ones that will demonstrate that you have the required skills for the job you are applying for. Have a role summary just to help the reader understand what your role involved and instead of bulleting your responsibilities rather focus on what you accomplished in the role. The day-to-day tasks you can cover briefly in your skills summary.
Not selling yourself
The reason you send out your CV in the first place is to get noticed for an opportunity you are interested in. Do not treat your professional CV like an information pamphlet, let your professional CV do what a CV is intended to do, sell you as an outstanding candidate. Without being cocky, let the reader see how you have what it takes and how you are the ideal candidate for the role. Do this by matching your abilities and experience to the role requirements and highlighting key achievements similar to the ones you believe you can and will achieve given the opportunity. Make this part of your personal summary right at the beginning of your CV.
A great-looking, immaculate CV won’t guarantee you a job just as much as taking a shower and dressing interview-appropriate will. But both work really well in your favour and present you in the best possible light. A sloppy CV says you couldn’t care less just as much as showing up to an interview in shorts and slip-slips. So do not self-sabotage, ensure your professional CV looks as immaculate as you will the day of the interview because like it or not, your CV goes to the pre-interview on your behalf and is what determines if the recruiter or employer will want to meet you in person or not.
Well, this one is more a matter of decorum than it is a mistake. Some people really value their privacy and would not like their contact details shared with a huge audience unless it is to be used for the purpose they’ve agreed to. Meaning, not everyone who gets your CV is going to start by doing reference checks, those will be done right at the end after you’ve successfully nailed the interview/s. So, it is always a good idea to indicate your references upfront on your CV so that the prospective employer can see that you do have reliable references but it is not necessary to divulge their personal information such and telephone numbers and email addresses upfront, instead just have their name, surname, designation and company (information that is already public knowledge on platforms such as LinkedIn) and then state that contact information is available on request.
Don’t let these mistakes stand in the way of you attaining your career goals.