Latest CV Review

I’ve reviewed a CV today that I gave a pretty low score of only 44/100, and the only reason it scored this well was that it was under 2 pages and fulfilled some of the basic section requirements of a CV.

The client rang me to talk through the review and I was genuinely shocked when she told me that she had paid £150 for it to be written by a “professional”. It looked like a CV produced by a job board where you fill in the blanks and choose some random sentences to string it all together! The grammar was appalling with parts of it making no sense at all and at least 3 basic spelling mistakes.

They hadn’t even included a full postal address (something she questioned only to be told “oh, you don’t need that nowadays”), seemingly unaware that recruitment software uses this as part of the mapping and search functionality that allows candidates to be identified geographically.

I often see CVs written by competitors and they generally have improvements that can be made in relation to layout or formatting and even grammar, but I have never seen such an appalling piece of work by a so-called professional CV business. They do have a lovely looking website though.

If you’re paying to have a CV written, please make sure they have a cast iron money back guarantee.

Top 5 CV Mistakes – updated

I see a lot of CVs (several dozen a week) and very few score more than about 60/100 in our free reviews and there is a common thread to the mistakes –

1/ It doesn’t say it’s a CV!

Blindingly obvious but so many people forget to put CV or Curriculum Vitae at the top of their CV. This may seem trivial but it’s supposed to be a professional document that sells you and you forget to put a title on it??

2/  Missing Contact Details

Whether it’s an email address, missing postcode or even no phone number, we see these mistakes every day and not just on CVs from relatively junior people. Without an email address or phone number you’re making the employer or recruiter’s job really quite difficult and a missing postcode often means they can’t register your details on their database.

3/  No Profile

A CV always needs to have a short profile that says what you are. Not a repetition of your CV, but 3-4 lines that summarises what you do. Make it easy for the recruiter to see that this is a CV they need to read as it fits the basic requirements of the role they’re short listing for.

4/  No Key Skills

This is perhaps the most missed out part of a CV and even when it’s there it’s often just a collection of key words that can confuse a recruiter. This is the part of a CV that you can tailor to suit specific applications to highlight why you match what they’re looking for – make sure you get it right and it’ll save a lot of time and get you more interviews.

5/  Dense Text

Have you ever picked up a Charles Dickens novel? How far did you get? Most people get about one third of the way down page 1 and put it back down again because it’s just this solid block of dense text that is way too difficult to commit to reading. Your CV is no different. But death by bullet points isn’t the answer!

Of course we see lots more mistakes than these 5, but if you don’t get these basics right then you’re making your search for a new job an awful lot harder.

Should I put LinkedIn on my CV?

More and more people are registering with LinkedIn and that’s because it is a great networking tool, but should you put it on your CV?

No, is the simple answer.

This goes back to the most basic (and often forgotten) piece of advice on CVs, which is that you must always remember that a CV is to get you an interview.

The 3 reasons not to put LinkedIn on your CV

Firstly, if you need a potential employer to read your LinkedIn profile to reinforce your CV it simply means that your CV is not doing it’s job properly and you need to look at rewriting your CV.

Secondly, consider what happens when someone clicks on that hyper-link on your CV. They stop reading your CV, and you’ve sent them into hyperspace and we all know what happens then. They get distracted and start looking and reading other things and before you know it they’re on Facebook looking at pictures of kittens! Sound familiar?

Thirdly, consider who you’re connected to. People in a similar job to yourself. The competition. And you just led the recruiter right to them.

LinkedIn is a great networking tool and there are things you can use it for in getting yourself noticed but putting it on your CV is not one of them.

CV blunders hit jobseekers’ chances of securing employment

Job-seekers are hurting their chances of securing new employment by not spending enough time on their CV, according to a survey.

The most common mistake is sending a general CV to employers, rather than tailoring it to a specific role, according to research by the National Careers Service.

Two thirds of careers advisers said this stopped people securing new jobs.

More than 60% of advisers said spelling mistakes were a common error.

CV howlers

A 17 page CV including every detail from when the applicant was born

Use of wording that the person whose CV it was did not understand because he had paid a firm to produce the CV for him

Using an inappropriate email address e.g. iamgreat@

A CV typed entirely in capital letters

A company name spelt incorrectly throughout the CV

Joe Billington, director of the National Careers Service, said: “People know they are making mistakes, but they are not spending enough time on making sure their CV is fit for purpose.”

“A CV is an applicant’s shop window. With the right advice and support anyone can turn their CV from a careers void into a careers victory.”

Most careers advisers believe people should spend an hour a week working on their CV, but fewer than a third of jobseekers agree.

Examples of the types of mistakes encountered by advisers for the National Careers Service include a 17-page CV, a CV typed entirely in capital letters, and the name of the applicant’s current employer spelt incorrectly throughout.

The report was based on polls of almost 200 careers advisers from the National Careers Service and over 2,000 jobseekers.

The National Careers Service, which provides information and advice on learning, training and work opportunities, says jobseekers should follow some basic steps to improve their CVs:

Ensure the email address you send your application from isn’t quirky as it is not likely to be taken seriously

Check your CV carefully for spelling and grammar mistakes

Avoid common clichés such as “team player” and “results driven”

Make small adaptations to your CV to target the specific requirements of the job you are applying for.

via BBC News – CV blunders hit jobseekers’ chances of securing employment.

Mobile Number on your CV

Firstly, make sure you put your mobile number on your CV.

Recruiters work 9-5 (or 8-6!) and need to be able to contact you during those hours, or, at the very least, leave you a message so you need to give them the number.

Secondly, don’t write it as one long sequence of numbers as this makes it hard to read and more likely that they will dial the wrong number. If they call the wrong person they may not even know it as most people don’t personalise their answer phone message, and you won’t even know that you missed that call.

You should present it as 07777 123 456 rather than 07777123456.

This may seem like a very trivial issue but it’s the detail that matters on a CV.

Send us your CV for a free review and we’ll look at these type of details as well as the bigger issues such as layout, spelling, style, key skills etc. Your review is obligation free and is usually turned around in 24 hours.

Click on the link in the sidebar to get started and don’t worry, we won’t call you but just email you the review.


Text Boxes

We see a lot of CVs that make use of Text Boxes in Word – don’t do it!

They are a nightmare when you decide to change anything on your CV as they don’t obey the usual rules of formatting.

Whenever we get a CV in that uses text boxes we cut all the text (ctrl+x) and then use “edit>paste special”. Using this you can then paste the text as unformatted text and this gets rid of the boxes. If you can’t see Paste Special you may need to expand the menu by clicking on the arrow at the bottom of the menu.

Not only will this help when you make changes to your CV but it makes sure there are no problems when you upload it to job boards like Monster or CV Library. Their CV scanning software can sometimes get confused by the boxes and your CV ends up looking a mess!

5 things not to put on your CV

Here’s 5 things that people commonly put on their CV which are a waste of space and simply clutter up the real story you should be telling:

1. Good timekeeper – Seriously, why say this? Every employer works on the assumption that you can get out of bed in the morning!

2. Enthusiastic – Again, why say this? Employers start off assuming that you are enthusiastic about the job since you’re applying for it.

3. Team Player – Unless you are a lighthouse keeper or a hermit the odds are that you have to work or interact with other human beings so of course you’re a team player – we all are.

4. Bubbly – Just don’t put this on your CV. If it’s on there, delete it. NOW.

5. Hard working and reliable – As with the other points, this is taken as a given by any potential employer.

The main thing to always bear in mind with a CV is that it’s only real purpose is to get you an interview and you do that by telling the employer what you have to offer by way of experience and/or potential.