There are many things to pay attention to when creating a CV, including structure, formatting, and language. Moreover, knowing the most common CV mistakes can also help you increase your chances of landing a job.
Take a look at 11 of the most critical CV dos and don’ts.
1. CV Length
Do – keep the CV as short as possible, preferably less than one page for junior roles (two-sided A4).
Don’t – write a long CV unless you’re applying for a senior position with many years of experience (your limit is three sides).
2. Experience Section
Do – showcase your most recent experience at the top of this section, especially if it’s relevant to the job you’re applying for.
Don’t – list your previous experience in chronological order, as this may cause the recruiter to overlook your CV.
Do – include career gaps with complete honesty and positivity.
Don’t – be vague about the times when you weren’t working, as this can be a major red flag.
3. Achievements Section
Do – save some details for the interview to talk about and impress the panel.
Don’t – give away too much information about your achievements in the CV.
4. Personal Statement
Do – keep the personal statement section short, concise, and to the point without too many details.
Don’t – over share personal information, as this may give the wrong impression about you.
5. CV Language
Do – use simple language that’s easy for everybody in the field to understand.
Don’t – write too specialized terminologies or abbreviations that may be challenging for the person reading your CV to get.
6. CV Formatting
Do – write a skimmable CV that’s clear and simple to read by utilizing bullet points.
Don’t – use large paragraphs and long sentences because recruiters often look for certain keywords.
Do – ask your colleagues for advice when writing a CV, and use a resume outline to know what goes where.
Don’t – just start writing your CV randomly, as recruiters can instantly spot an ill-written one.
7. Font and Colors
Do – make your CV clean and tidy by using a classic, appropriately-sized font, as well as neutral colors.
Don’t – get too creative or colorful with your CV design, as this may make it annoying to skim through.
8. Submitting a CV
Do – tailor your CV for the specific job you’re aiming at by highlighting the achievements and skills that better fit the role.
Don’t – submit the same CV to all the companies and job postings you find, especially when applying for a senior position.
9. Skills Section
Do – list the skills in bullet points starting with powerful verbs, such as: “organized” and “coordinated.”
Don’t – use pronouns like, “I” and “my,” as this makes your CV look unprofessional
10. Cover Letter
Do – include a well-written cover letter with your CV, even if they didn’t specifically ask you to.
Don’t – consider the cover letter an unimportant addition, as it’s incredibly vital in the hiring process, and you should take advantage of every available opportunity to sell yourself.
11. CV Components
Before adding any sections to your CV, you should ask yourself whether it helps you get the role. For example, if your interests and hobbies are irrelevant to the job you’re applying for, don’t add them.
Here’s what to include and what not to include in your CV:
What To Include
- Contact information
- Skills and achievements
- Honors and awards
- Training and certificates
What Not To Include
- Photograph (as many companies prefer to decrease unconscious bias in the hiring process)
- Ethnic identity
- Religious preferences
- Political views
- Place of birth
- Height and weight
A Final Thought
Writing an appealing resume isn’t a haphazard process. In fact, there are many CV dos and don’ts to consider when creating your own. That’s why it helps a lot to seek advice from colleagues as well as research the subject.
During building your CV, the amount of information you should and shouldn’t include may surprise you. So, to avoid getting your resume overlooked by employers, you have to be careful with what you write in your CV.
Lastly, remember to keep it simple and easy on the eyes for better readability.