The CV has been around for decades.  We are as surprised as anyone that they are still going strong in the recruitment process. It’s still the most commonly used document when applying for vacancies and one of the most important in your job search. Even though it’s been around for decades there have been some significant changes.  Hiring managers now want to see certain types of information. In this competitive job market avoid these common mistakes when writing a CV.

Lack of Achievements

Rather than a list of tasks and duties, employers are now looking for candidates to demonstrate their ability.  They are looking for information that proves they have actually achieved the main objectives for being hired. You’ll need to include three or four fairly significant achievements for each role, or at least the most recent. Make sure each achievement is written concisely.  

Explain how you achieved the objective and the results or outcomes.

  • Reduced operational costs
  • Saved time (which saves money)
  • Increased revenue or profitability
  • Resolved a problem

Not tailored to the role

If you are posting your CV onto a job board then you’ll have no choice other than to use a generic “one size fits all” CV. However, if you do get the opportunity to tailor your CV to a specific role then grab it with both hands. This will give you the chance to highlight all the relevant pieces of information from the job advert and job description.  Make sure you also delete information that’s irrelevant and increase your chances of being invited to interview.

Listing Competencies

Employers want to see evidence of how candidates have applied their skills and knowledge, not just a list of seemingly random behavioural competencies. Make sure you back up each technical and behavioural competency with evidence of how you have applied. For example, instead of writing ‘Excellent Analytical Skills’, try backing up with how you have applied, “Exceptional analytical skills with experience of presenting complex financial data to enable senior managers to make quality decisions.”

Spelling Mistakes or Grammatical Errors

Don’t make the mistake of relying solely on the spell checker. MS Word is a fairly sophisticated programme.  These days it has the capability to underline spelling mistakes in red and underline any potential grammatical errors in green. However, it is still not a foolproof process to completely eliminate the need to properly proof read. It’s also good practice to ask a friend or colleague to read through your CV.  Ask them to give you some objective feedback.