Friday, 14 October 2011

Five Common CV/Resume Mistakes People Make

The biggest mistake people make is not tailoring their CV to the job they are applying for. Many job seekers develop one version of their CV, which they submit for every position. By sending the same version of your CV for each type of role, you risk falling short of the mark when it comes time for the employer to sift through the pile of CVs on their desk. Only those CVs that directly match the role will be considered and if yours doesn't match, you won't be invited for an interview.
Although your qualifications, skills and experience remain the same, the way in which you present the information for different positions will vary. When applying for a senior role, for example, you'll need to highlight your supervisory and management experience. Applying for a lower level position, however, will require you to tone these down.
Including personal information such as marital status, date of birth and religious affiliation is not required in most English-speaking parts of the world. Anti discrimination legislation means employers are not allowed to discriminate on the basis of marital status, age and religion so there is no need to include such information in your CV.
The only exceptions would be in the case of applying for a specialised role such as a pastoral counsellor, for example, where including details of your religious affiliation and training would be beneficial and may even be part of the selection criteria.
The use of keywords in your CV is essential, particularly if you are applying for a role via a recruitment agency or larger company. Many recruitment agencies and large companies use specialised software that can scan CVs looking for keywords that relate to the role they are seeking to fill. If your CV fails to contain the necessary keywords, you won't be considered for the role at all.
Check the job advertisement for the keywords and be sure to include these in your CV. If the job advertisement doesn't contain enough information about the keywords, contact the recruiter and ask them exactly what they're looking for. Keywords should be included throughout your CV including in your CV's job title, objective, skills summary, overview, task descriptions and education/training sections.
If you are preparing your CV on your own, be sure to use spell check to correct errors and then have it checked by at least two other people. Relying solely upon spell check can be disastrous since many words contained in CVs are not recognised or can be misinterpreted by spell check.
If English is your second language, poor grammar is a particular issue you may need to be aware of. Having a native English speaker check the grammar in your CV is vital. An employer will immediately pick up on your less-than-perfect English-language skills even if your spoken English skills are superior.
With the exception of students or teens looking for their first part time job, including a section in your CV about your hobbies and interests is not recommended. Employers don't need to know you enjoy crocheting, archery and travelling in your spare time.
If the position you are applying for calls for someone with knowledge and experience in one of your hobby and interest areas, highlight this in the summary or overview section of your CV rather than under a 'Hobbies and Interests' heading.
For students or teens with limited or no previous work history, it can be useful to include hobbies and interests as these can demonstrate desirable qualities to an employer. Involvement in a sporting team demonstrates team-work skills, an interest in animals can indicate compassion and an interest in cycling can show you are fit and healthy. It is not advisable to include hobbies and interests that could be detrimental such as listing 'going to parties' or 'hanging out with friends' since these add nothing to your application.
There are many resources available online to help guide you through the process of creating a professional resume. If you need help, consult a career counsellor or resume/CV writer. They will be able to develop a professional CV taking into account your qualifications, skills and experience together with the kinds of roles you will be applying for.
Lisa LaRue, MCareerDev, BSocSc(Couns), DipCareerGuid, CDAA, MICG is a Career Development Consultant & Career Counsellor/Coach at CareerWorx and

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