Recruitment can be a pretty serious business and we are often very busy speaking to clients or responding to candidates but every now and then we have a little humour seep into the office when we encounter CV writing errors – intentional and unintentional. Now admittedly it’s not good to have a bit of a giggle over a product that a candidate has provided us but sometimes, just sometimes we can’t help it, sorry!
For example, my favourite memory was opening up a CV and seeing a full front page of a photo. Photos are already not recommended on CVs unless of course, it’s a professional headshot (if you are unsure rather leave it out). But this picture took the trophy of ridiculous pictures. It was a full A4 photo of an individual relaxing on their bed – their UNMADE bed! Let’s just say that I didn’t make it past that first front page – I remember the photo clearly but not what the individuals’ CV actually said.
The front page is definitely the first impression and it should remain professional, clean and impressive. Leave out the graphs that show hard work vs determination and made-up tables that show you have 100% ambition and dedication every month of the year. I recently came across a CV with such a table. People actually do it!
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Other CV writing mistakes are often unintentional and the candidates don’t even realize it so it is very important to proofread your CVs and get someone else to go through it before sending it. I have had a candidate use his wife’s CV as a template but he didn’t change all the contact details so his poor wife was receiving call after call for her husband. Contact details are extremely important in this process and it’s a poor reflection on your attention to detail if these are incorrect.
Email addresses are also an aspect that we have had numerous laughs over. If you still have your high school Gmail account and back then you lived in a fantasy world resulting in a ridiculous email address, we would highly advise you get a new one. Keep both if you want but during your professional career, you don’t want people reaching out to you with possible job offers on email addresses such as firstname.lastname@example.org. Your name.surname@ will certainly suffice.
While talking about high school, another little bit of advice. If you are 20 years into your working career you can take off those little high school achievements such as rugby captain or primary school prefect. I am sure employers will be more interested in the achievements you have garnered from your 20-year work experience.
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Other glaring CV writing problems that we have encountered are spelling mistakes. Maturity Leave etc. and here is why proofreading is vital once again! Also, duplication. I find this example everywhere so it must happen more often than we think but I have definitely come across a CV that has said strengths: attention to detail, diligence, problem-solving, attention to detail. Now, are you really sure you have such great attention to detail?
Pages and pages of CV is also not a very good sign of a strong candidate. Leave out that contents page and paragraphs of unnecessary detail. Keep the vital information on there and please ensure it is neat. Different fonts and sizes all over the place create a very unstructured visual that makes it more distracting than inviting.
You want the person reviewing your CV to be drawn in and impressed, not distracted and humoured. If they remember your CV for the laugh that they got out of it they probably won’t remember the experience and skills you could bring to the table.
If you want any advice on your CV writing definitely reach out to myself or any of our other consultants. We are very happy to help out where we can!
Written by Shelley Barker – Contact her at email@example.com for your Commercial Finance recruitment and placement needs.