How to ruin a perfect CV

So before you attempt to write a perfect CV lets define what that actually means. What is perfection? The Encarta world English dictionary tells us it is;

* - without faults: without errors, flaws, or faults

What perfection isn’t; the common faults with CVs’

So perfection is defined by what it isn’t. This makes sense in that there are probabaly many ways a perfect CV may be written, depending on the person reading it, and what they are looking for. At the same time there are certain specific things that would put an end to your chances no matter who the reader is. Why is this?

Well imagine you are the employer in the hot seat, with an inbox of 200 applications to go through and not enough time to do it. You need to whittle the numbers down to a manageable few to consider for interview. Wouldn’t it be easier if you could have a quick way of ruling people out? Well, of course they do. Just as in the interview there are some mistakes that can sink you, the same applies to your CV.

Here are some of the most common CV faults, the five not so fabulous faults of CV writing

1)Poor spelling and grammar

So maybe we’ve all been there, but the truth is there are really no excuses for this one. This type of error just projects the image to the reader of someone who doesn’t care enough about the position to bother to get the details right. I’m pretty sure that isn’t the impression you’re going for here. On the flipside, more people than you might think submit CVs’ with poor spelling and grammar, so if yours is up to standard, you may be ahead already!

2)Wacky CV designs

Your CV design can say a lot, when it really shouldn’t be saying anything at all. Its your job to capture the readers attention with what it says, and “funky” designs may detract from your message. Keep it plain and simple. Think of a good CV design as no design at all.

3)Layout difficult to read

Trying to cram too much into a tight space is off-putting (and daunting) for the reader. Will they bother to struggle through and find the relevant detail?

3)Overly long

Unfortunately lots of CV’s read like life stories. Or rather they would, if the employer actually bothered to read them. The longer it is, the less likely they will bother. You must choose and use your words carefully if you want to get their attention.

4)Ineffective writing structure

Continuous prose can be problematic in that it takes longer to read. Few things are dreaded more than the CV that appears to be one endless paragraph after another………And few Cvs’ are read less. You need to help the reader get to the point. Of course to do that, you need to know what the point is, and therein lies the problem. The more you write that is surplus to requirements the less it seems you are in tune with what the employer needs. Short, clear bullet points are easier to read, and better show you understand what is required of you.

5)Over emphasis on education

A wise man once said, “Education, education, education“. He may have been right, but not when it comes to your CV. The first page must get the readers attention. The most important thing to the employer is figuring out how your skills and experience qualify you for their job. Is this really best represented by some exams you sat years ago? That is a rhetorical question, because the answer is of course, probably not. So education should be placed after your experience/ achievements on your CV. However, they do say the exception proves the rule, and if you are a fresh graduate your education is a lot more relevant. The trick is to know how to write about it in a way that draws attention to those skills and experiences that prepared you for the position.

To learn more about writing the graduate CV read this

OK, so now we’ve explored what a perfect CV is not, its time to learn how to write the perfect CV.

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