We all know or at least suspect that busy recruitment officers don’t really have the time or the patience to actually read through the ton of resumes which they receive. Often times, a first glace is all that helps them decide between giving the CV a second look or tossing it out to the larger pile that will eventually hit the bin. If you’re currently looking for a new job or just want to keep your resume in tip-top shape, here are a few deal-breaking CV mistakes which you need to avoid.
1. A Boring Start
If you’re not able to catch the recruiter’s eye in about 10 seconds, according to Lou Adler, it may be too late. So keep this sort-of 10 second rule in mind when designing your CV in the first place, or maybe ask a friend to read it with a 10 second deadline. Then ask him or her: what were the most important highlights of your CV that they were able to note within this 10 second interval? If the traits they report are not the most important ones you wanted to tell a potential recruiter about, then rewrite your resume accordingly. Also, note that the beginning of the document is often the most neglected part when writing it, but it could make the difference between the selected pile and the larger pile. Don’t drag too much, get straight to the point, and do it preferably in a manner that catches the eye: one which is at the same time innovative, bold, smart, but not too over the edge or unprofessional.
2. Not Enough Information
Every statement in your CV should be backed up with facts about the place where you held a certain position, the details of that job, your main accomplishments, evidence expressed in facts and figures, detailed educational history and so on. Even more important for the overall feel and general credibility of the document, you should include contact persons for each job or position you include in your work history, to show you have nothing to hide and that there are people who can vouch for your eligibility. If the managers are truly interested, they’ll run a background check on you anyway, but if you make their work easier by providing all the data it’s even better. Plus: this little trick allows you to choose which of the people in your former office the recruiter speaks with; perhaps some were more impressed with you than others.
3. Too Much Information
Too little information can give off the impression that you lack seriousness, but still, there’s no need to write sagas in your resume. Abstain from giving irrelevant information, don’t ramble and try to highlight only the most important facts about your educational and work history. Moreover, if you have held a position which isn’t relevant to the job you’re currently applying for, it was temporary or seasonal etcetera, perhaps it’s best to leave it out completely to avoid overcrowding the document. If you know you have a problem with keeping things short, revise your resume multiple times and cut out the redundant part in order to polish it into the best shape. Also, the whole thing must not exceed 2 pages. No exceptions.
4. Being too vague
A lack of focus in your resume might be one of the worst CV mistakes you could make. Writing things like “I desire a challenging position that allows personal growth” and other such clichés not only takes up space without adding any real information or value, but might actually bore the recruiter so much as to make him or her stop reading. If there’s one thing most of the resumes that get tossed out contain, that must be something about having “communication skills”, being “a good team player”, and so on. Don’t go there if you want to get called back.
If you’re applying online – as most applications tend to be done these days – make sure you respect the email etiquette of your professional environment. If you had a tip from someone you know, make sure to mention who inside the company recommended that position to you; it might help. Keep focused, avoid these CV mistakes which often amount to being instant deal-breakers and apply to as many jobs as possible. Good luck!