Still not landing any interviews? Perhaps you need to take a second look at how to write a professional CV.
Your CV is the decision maker when it comes to gaining an interview, so you need to make sure it's on point for every job application you submit. With that in mind, here are the CV-writing mistakes that could be sabotaging your job search and reducing your chances of landing an interview.
1. Your opening lines are weak
The average recruiter in the UK spends 8.8 seconds looking at your professional CV. Therefore, if you don't hook them in from the start, chances are they'll never make it to the end.
Rather than boring the recruiter with a paragraph littered with buzzwords, you should craft a personal statement that highlights your impressive skills and qualities.
Keep it short and sweet – aim for around four sentences. Make sure the content explains who you are, what you can offer the company and your career goals. Ensure you provide evidence where possible to really prove to the recruiter you'd be a valuable addition to the company.
Reel in that recruiter hook, line and sinker, and they'll be sure to continue reading your CV.
2. Your structure and CV format are poor
In order to convey your skills and experience effectively, you need to make sure your CV format is easy to navigate and read.
Turns out 98.5 per cent of recruiters believe that traditional CVs still hold an important place in today's recruitment process, in comparison to their quirky counterparts. Therefore, unless you're applying for a role in a creative industry, it's best to keep your CV format plain.
So, make sure the headings for your personal statement, key skills, experience, education and hobbies are clear. Your professional CV should be no longer than two pages — recruiters really don't have the time to trawl through much more. If you have a lot of empty space on your CV, try and format it so it neatly fills the pages — it'll make you look more complete and professional.
Also, bullet points will be your saviour when writing your CV skills section and experiences. Lengthy chunks of text are difficult to read, whereas bullets make your skills easier to digest.
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3. You've kept it generic
It's essential to tailor your CV to every job application. While a generic CV will highlight your abilities and experience, tailoring your CV to the job description ensures the recruiter will read information relevant to the role.
For example, it's great that you've got experience working as a lifeguard, but it's probably not so relevant if you're applying for a sales role. However, if the job description states a successful candidate needs to be able to work well under pressure, you can tailor your lifeguarding job to highlight this quality.
By tailoring your CV with skills required for the role, you will show the recruiter why you're a perfect fit and increase your chances of securing an interview.
4. There are spelling and grammatical errors
Having spelling and grammatical errors sprinkled through your CV is extremely unprofessional. It's also an absolute disaster if a recruiter is looking for someone with 'an eye for detail,' as you've just proved you don't have one.
Did you know 71 per cent of recruiters rank spelling errors as the most heinous CV crime? Therefore, proofreading is essential when completing a job application, even if you're really keen to submit it immediately.
Take some time once you feel you've finished your professional CV to read over it carefully. Try reading it to yourself aloud, or getting someone else to proof it for you — especially if you've been looking at it for a long time.
5. You haven't proven your value
Unless you back your professional skills with evidence of their development, you're unlikely to truly prove your value to a recruiter.
Take this example: 'I am an ambitious and motivated individual.' That's good, but you really need to show the recruiter your value, not just a list of adjectives. Try this instead: “I have consistently exceeded my sales target by over 10 per cent month-on-month due to my ambitious and motivated nature.”
Therefore, backing up skills with concrete evidence shows exactly how your work impacts your employer and gives a greater indication of the value you can add in this new role.
Hopefully, these CV-writing tips will prevent you from sabotaging your job search. Just remember to make sure your CV format is correct, proofread with a magnifying glass, and back your professional skills and achievements, and you'll be landing interviews in no time.
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