Love them or hate them they aren’t going anywhere. My honest opinion is that places like LinkedIn will certainly change the way people are found and considered, but for now it’s the good old fashioned CV. So I’ve seen thousands and thousands over the years and I believe that by getting these 5 basic things sorted, you may just be the one that stands out.
Every hiring manager’s pet hate is SPELLING and GRAMMAR mistakes. There is absolutely no excuse with spellcheck on nearly everyone’s PC, laptop or device. I have seen the best in class experience and qualities turned away because of spelling mistakes – sort it or you run the risk of getting deleted.
Style / length / format. Ok controversial one this as I’ve always been told that it should be 2 pages maximum. That is absolute claptrap. Length is up to you if everything in it is relevant. What I would say however is that a 2 page CV will be more concise and a 5 pager will probably induce a coma. Use the rule of 10 years of career per page. Font size no less than 10, no fancy fonts either and always white background and black character (remember some folk still photocopy documents…). Lastly don’t forget your achievements as they make you unique. Sure, a couple of lines about the purpose of the role are acceptable but what you were successful in is more important. Oh and drop the photo unless you’re applying to be the latest face on the cover of a magazine as it doesn’t add anything to your application.
Lies. They catch you out eventually. Even slight enhancement of the facts will catch you out. Remember a CV is likely to be a source of questions you’ll answer in an interview. Think of it this way, how would you feel if the advert lied and said that it will pay £70k basic, when it actually pays £30k?
Kiss and tell. If you give away confidential information about your current or previous employer and it leaks a) the person reading your CV could use that to their advantage b) the person reading it won’t trust you c) you might get yourself in legal hot water.
Who has your CV/resume? Do you really know who has it? Think carefully about who you give it to and what personal information you are giving. Only give it to someone who abides by the Data Protection Act. Consider saving it in PDF format that makes it tricky for it to be changed without your knowledge. If it’s posted randomly all over every job board, you do know that your current employer might see it don’t you…? Finally when you’ve got your dream job – remove it from wherever you posted it.