First impressions count, especially with a great CV. When your CV is in front of a recruiter, it will typically get between 10 and 30 seconds of their time to impress the socks off them.
To be in with a shot of getting an interview for that job, you really need to master the art of writing a great CV and know how to avoid the pitfalls that could scupper your chances.
We’ve compiled our top 20 reasons why your CV might get rejected and how to address these. The first 5 are below and let us know if you spot any of these in your own great CV.
Let’s start with my own particular bugbear…
Great CV: 1. A Ridiculous Email Address
You may be a fan of Alan Partridge, but do you need really need to use this pithy email address – firstname.lastname@example.org? Email addresses like this should be kept for private use. It takes 5 minutes to set up a ‘professional sounding’ email address via Hotmail, Yahoo, Google or any of the other free email providers.
We see some real shocking email addresses and they give us an instant negative perception of a candidate. What a shame it would be to be the perfect fit for a position only to fall at the first hurdle because of your ‘funny’ email address ruining your great CV?
Great CV: 2. Spelling & Grammar
No real excuses for this, but it’s amazing the amount of great CVs that come through littered with spelling mistakes and poor grammar. We have even seen the misspelling of Curriculum Vitae itself (pictured above). Try to remember that this is a document that represents you and mistakes will reflect incredibly badly.
Check and check your great CV once again. And then pass it onto a friend who will able to check it and give you some constructive criticism. One great way to check your CV is to sit down and read it out loud. This will flag up any sections that may be too long or may need more punctuation.
Great CV: 3. A Picture or a URL Link
This may be something that is acceptable on mainland Europe, but including a head-shot on your CV in the UK might cause some amusement to the recruiter, but will probably just get your CV one step closer to the ‘no’ pile.
Unless the line of work requires that you have the right image for the role, i.e. acting or modelling, then there is absolutely no reason to include a lovely photo of yourself. A candidate will be judged on their ability to do the job based on their skill, work history and education not because they have a nice smile, well hopefully not anyway!
You should also stick to a word format for the great CV and not a PDF or a ZIP file, etc. Give the recruiter a valid reason not to open up your CV and they’ll take it! And remember that it will be the Word based CV that gets onto to the recruiters HR systems and posted on to the job boards.
And if you are a graphic designer or multimedia developer, resist the temptation to simply send a link to download your great CV from your homepage. Again, just a simple Word based CV will suffice and you can always direct a recruiter towards some supporting material once you grab their interest.
Great CV: 4. Inaccurate Dates
You must ensure that when you list your jobs that you have accurate start and finish dates; usually stipulating the month and year will be sufficient. A CV without this information will be rejected because the recruiter will simply think you are trying to hide something.
Great CV: 5. Formatting
There is nothing worse than seeing a CV on screen or paper and spending ages trying to decipher where each section starts and ends. Poor formatting won’t just turn off the recruiter it could also put a candidate at a real disadvantage when it comes to job boards. Some job boards will struggle to correctly display a poorly formatted CV at all.
Thanks for reading Part 1 of 4. Click below to read the 2nd part which includes advice on the ideal length of your great CV, what fonts to use and just how much personal information you should be sharing.