You’ve been applying to jobs every day, but it seems as though all of your applications have disappeared into a black hole. Could it be your resume that isn’t getting you any interviews? With only a mere six seconds to “wow” a recruiter, having any kind of mistake on your resume is not a risk even the most daring of job seekers should take.
Your CV should be:
A sales brochure – to sell yourself to your target market
A name card – a brief summary of what you have done in the past and implies what you can do in the future. It should be short (no more than two pages) and easy to read
A reminder – an impression of you remains after an interview
Here are the common mistakes you need to avoid:
- Highlighting duties instead of accomplishments
It’s important to show the work you carry out, but it’s even more powerful to show the impact your work has on your employers. Don’t miss a big opportunity to prove the value you can offer an employer!
You can use bullet points to let us know what you accomplished — not what you did over and over again every day or week:
For example, a sales candidate may list skills such “relationship building, cold calling and networking” but without results, those actions are pointless. The results of their work should be listed instead, say“have led to growth in clients, sales and profits” for their employer, as this should be the reason why they hire you! Don’t list out every task you ever undertook, employers do not need to know the detailed job descriptions.
- Generic cliches
“Hard-working team player.” “Go-getting people person.” These types of cliched terms may sound impressive, but they are damaging to your CV. The employers have probably seen these phrases a million time and they don’t tell readers anything about you.
If you want recruiters to know that you are a hard-working team player, then prove it by using examples of the results you have achieved in team settings. This method will add more context to your message and give readers a much better understanding of your work.
- Unexplained gaps
If you’ve taken some time out between roles, be transparent and explain why. Lots of candidates have periods of unemployment, it’s not necessarily a negative. However, if you don’t explain the reasons for a gap in employment, it will leave recruiters with the impression that you simply haven’t been doing anything. Maybe you’ve done some travelling, maybe you’ve been studying or even working on a personal project. Show employers that you are pro-active and haven’t been wasting your time. If you’ve had any long periods of time out because of sickness, don’t be embarrassed to include it; a good employer will not discriminate against you.
A third of job seekers lie on their CV – but embellishing your achievements, such as fictitious work experience or improved exam results, is not advised. Diligent recruiters will investigate facts that don’t add up, and if you get caught telling fibs you will be out of contention for that role, and probably all future roles in that person’s remit. Even if you do manage to trick your way into a role on the back of an exaggerated CV, you will probably struggle to perform to the expectations you have set once you start.
We can use a human voice in our resumes and sound like living, breathing people, not just a report card.