I wanted to write long ago about typical mistakes, based on examples from people I helped with their CV. So I reviewed my past work and suddenly I realized that many of the mistakes were repeated and that these mistakes were very basic, let us say, elemental. Most of them were grammar and aesthetical. So how is it possible ? Firstly, Many people create quickly CV’s and do not make a second read afterwards. This together with the fact that, how often one reviews his/her own CV?, makes the conclusion that the mistake has been for long and probably sent to many companies. Secondly, people many times focus extremely hard in the technical aspects on the CV and forgets a basic grammar analysis, by considering things are OK.
So here are some of the mistakes I found:
1) Capital letters.
Yes, many people think by using capital letters they emphasize the position, the company or the university degree. In fact, it is in the contrary, for whatever reason reading a chapter in capital letters makes it more difficult to read. Just simply please do consider that reading a capital letter forces the eye to go through the shape of the letter longer than a small letter. And here my first “must do” comment about CV’s: “Sometimes just a simply slightly bigger size of the letter or separation between lines makes it more remarkable and quickly able to be read”
2) Mistakes in the dates and/or orthographic mistakes.
The most important Gurus I have ever met, they kept telling me the “no grammar mistakes” top rule. But one does not understand this rule until is reviewing a candidate CV and finds a grammar mistake. Preferably, when the CV is on word and after opening it is highlighted in red by word corrector. I cannot explain in written exactly the feeling but downgrades automatically a candidate. The explanation is easy: creates lack of confidence. Hiring someone is all about confidence in candidate or even better the “lack of dis-confidence”, to say, chosing a candidate because there are no fears, no small imperfections or just DOUBTS about him/her. I always say there are two types of interviewers, the friendly supportive trying to get a whole picture of the candidate for a decision or the “starters from zero”, which start from full compliance from candidate and try to find non-conformities during the interview arriving to -5 or -6,… and then chosing the best candidate or “less downgraded”. Make your own conclusions.
3) Do not value oneself.
I will make you a very easy example, mothers. Mothers like their children no matter what imperfection or small problem they have. And they love them unconditionally. Loving oneself unconditionally, is an option, a decision, …, whatever is, it is mandatory. Imagine you are in Got talent, The Voice or any other TV program where they give you a limited time to show yourself off and you have been chosen for next step or for a prize. Imagine the CV is your 10 seconds show, where you must give the best of you. Therefore avoid using expressions like “I am on job search”, “open for working”, “open for position”. Instead sell yourself, tell the world what you want, where do you want to work, show motivation to be chosen but do not ever beg for a job.
Do you like apples or peers? red wine or white one?, you are a teacher or an engineer ? I am talking about people with two main professions that during their life they have developed both of them. If a profession is so important then it makes sense to have to different CV’s. People will buy you for one or for the other but not for both. I like to consider myself as multi-task or polyvalent person with multiple edges of a prism. But In my CV it is really clear my profession and my sector. The more concrete the easier to find a job. The humans we are not so intelligent in the end sometimes and easily classify people in the labour market. If you have two professions (lucky you), create 2 CV’s.
5) Small letters.
The bigger your position you search, the more chances that your interviewer is older and have sightseeing problems. I need to be honest, and I will tell you a secret: the secret of my book “finding a job in six steps” is that I printed it wrong and gave a high letter size. Yes Serendipity, what a small mistake can make a difference. 20 or more persons told me: “This book I like, letters are big size and I can read it easier”. Same to a CV, what would be the final target of a CV, to be read quickly and easily.
6) Bold and Italics.
Yes, you are not an artist, visual concept or creative expert, they really know how to make a CV, really. We think that our CV’s are becoming more readable by making the more baroque. But in fact it is the opposite. The more complements we put the more distraction we are adding to our potential reader. the best CVs I read have always what I call “clean background” where phrases can be remarked or better highlighted just by white background. Nevertheless I still support remarking in bolds/italics key words from the CV. I repeat KEY WORDS not phrases. Like we say in Spain “a little bit of everything is likeable, too much of anything is annoying” (sounds better in spanish).
7) sections and subsections and guidance points.
Same as former point. a little bit of everything is likeable, too much of anything is annoying.
8) The picture.
We are all image in this world and we are all beautiful in some ways. Find the best picture side of you and add it to the CV. In my opinion, the most important thing about the picture is both the attitude and the suitability for your expected position. what suits in a start up not necessary suits in the industry.
9) Too much.
I wrote before about been too shy in selling yourself, there can be also a too much. Too much explanation, too much non value added information. We all want to be professional in making a CV and we write it all. I mean it all. That is why I always suggest to go through a job description before sending a CV, afterwards, we need to re-read our CV and being honest with ourselves, consider the main points remarkable for THAT POSITION we apply. Leave a couple of more points that reinforce you as a candidate and remove all the non interesting information. Remember an average of 10 seconds is the time used for reading a CV.
10) Too cold.
I am a person of facts and figures at work. Show me the data, summarize the info, I need to understand better with more facts. Phrases I use at work. But in a CV we are looking for a person, for YOU. So you need to reflect all your personality. Just by the way you write, just by some adverbs, adjectives, by adding hobbies, by all of these you can be YOU in a CV, respecting a position but adding value added. Personality reflects name.
Just a simple conclusion to all that I wrote before: in the best case scenario any of the former points will be minutes of interview for clarification, time lost on your candidacy. Worst case discarded. Think about that: just by not reviewing before with self-criticism you can miss an interview.
You can find more on how to make a CV in my book now on amazon: Finding a job in 6 Steps