Your CV. You’ve got the skills, the qualifications, experience and the confidence to back it up in an interview.

You will have read articles about how to set it out and what to include. You checked it, checked it again and had your partner, friends or family read it.

Maybe you’ve even had a professional proofread it and provide feedback. In the end, the only opinion that really matters is the hiring manager.

What do employers really think of your CV?

It’s an unfortunate fact that many CVs that land in an employer’s inbox won’t get much more than a cursory glance. Today I’m going to be sharing some tips on how you can get your CV through the screening process and land you with an interview. Are you guilty of any of these jobseeker sins?

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Making sure your CV stands out from the crowd

It won’t come as a surprise for me to tell you that:

  • Sifting is a lengthy process
  • It requires a high level of concentration
  • Employers sometimes need a nudge to keep them reading!

So yes, engagement is key! How are you going to do it?

I really hope the person that delivered their CV to me in an exploding box filled with glitter, or, the chap that confessed to murder in his personal statement (it was apparently “a joke to keep me engaged”) is reading this…

…You’ll be remembered, but mainly because your CV will be the butt of jokes in the office for years to come.

It’s one thing having the confidence to go in to hand deliver your CV to the hiring manager with an idea of how to break the ice, and another thing entirely to send in a Mariachi band.

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Your application shouldn’t make a hiring manager feel in any way uncomfortable! If it does, then why would they employ you? Or even interview you! So be sure to consider your audience before you do anything too wild!

Poor CV Formatting

I’ve talked about this before, but it’s so super important when a quick glance might put you on the second sift pile or in the bin.

Your CV is probably the oldest living document you own. There’s a good chance that you’ve been editing the same file since you were 16 and applied for your first weekend job!

For this reason alone, it’s easy for formatting mistakes to pop up and the key is only to check and check again that it’s clean and tidy before you send it to a recruiter. Spend a bit of time with the format painter and make sure that everything aligns. You should also give it a complete overhaul every once in a while.

As I mentioned earlier, hiring managers get through a lot of applications and it really jars the flow of reading when there’s disjointed formatting.

If you’re uploading your CV to a job search website – ALWAYS go back into the upload and check it afterwards. Sometimes the formatting can change and make the document illegible.

INDUSTRY SECRET: Some agencies and high volume recruiters will run CVs through software to complete a “first sift” before they even reach human eyes. Poor formatting could make the difference between an actual person reading how great you are or your CV being automatically deleted!

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Is it relevant?

We know that gaps in your employment record will leave your potential employer with questions.

When you’re a marketing professional with 20 years experience, you don’t need to add in your summer job at the local bakery in your teenage years. It’s best to cut to the relevant experience and add a line to the tune of “Various fixed term and seasonal customer service experience from 2005 to 2010”.

You just cut down a page of your CV. You’re welcome.

Tailoring your CV and cover letter is incredibly important. If you’re applying for a job in accounting, work that in, rather than sending it out on mass declaring your excitement over their swimming instructor position. (Yes, I’ve seen this happen too…)

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Embarrassing email addresses

x.X.x.;’~FaIrY’~x~’WiShEs~’;.x.X.x@hotmail.com

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Just delete it.

It might have sounded cute on MSN Messenger, circa 2001 but you’re all grown up now. If you want to be taken seriously then head to your email provider right now and create a new one. Stick with your name, initials and numbers only.

It’s also worth noting that it’s really not wise to use your current work email on your CV. Prospective employers aren’t keen to see that you’re spending your working time or work resources to look for another job, even if it is with them!

Photos

There are mixed opinions on the inclusion of a photo. Many industry professionals recommend you remove it. Why? Because it might be a lovely photo of you on a night out when you’re all dressed up but it doesn’t likely scream “business”.

Even if you have professional headshots, it’s generally best to avoid it altogether. Unconscious bias is sadly alive and well in 2020. Let them wait to meet you at the interview.

If you’ve reached the end of this and are suddenly feeling overwhelmed by the idea of a CV spring clean then maybe it’s time to get a free CV review or to start from the beginning!

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