If you decide you want to change firms (or move out of practice), you will almost definitely be asked to provide a copy of your CV. The purpose of your CV is very simple. It is there to help you get asked to interview. It is not there to detail your life and employment history, it’s there to evidence why you deserve to be invited to interview. However, many professionals make mistakes with their CV…. read on…. 1. Too generic Many professionals have one version of their CV, which they send out to every job application. You need to target and amend your CV, so that it meets the criteria of the role that you are applying for. Make sure you save a copy of each CV that you send out, so you know what has gone where. For example, have one version suitable for in-house roles and one suitable for roles still in practice. 2. Too long If your CV goes beyond two pages it is too long. Two pages is more than adequate to succinctly get all the points, that will help you get invited to interview, you want across on paper. Many recruiters will form a decision on what is written in the top third of the first page of your CV. You can use LinkedIn to be more verbose if you want to add in more detail to your CV. 3. Not enough keywords Many CVs are electronically searched for keywords. You need to make sure these keywords feature in your CV a couple of times – and preferably on the 1st page of your CV. To find out what keywords are typically important for your profession, ask a recruitment consultant for the keywords that they would search under to identify someone like you. Having the right keywords, which recruiters will search for when looking for someone like you, in your professional headline, summary and specialities on your LinkedIn profile are essential. 4. Mentioning potential problems The sole purpose of your CV is to make sure you get an interview. Never lie on your CV, but don’t write anything on your CV which could be a turn-off for recruiters. For example, if you have a large gap in your work history, think about using a functional rather than chronological CV. 5. Irrelevant content When recruiters are looking for people to shortlist for interview, they are looking for people who they can believe are technically competent to do the role. The check for cultural ‘fit’ comes later in the recruitment process. Ditch any information about interests or hobbies – unless of course it makes you more marketable for the role you are going for. Unless you have recently entered the job market, after leaving education, most recruiters are uninterested in what O-levels or A-Levels you achieved. 30 years experience is far more relevant than whether you got English O-level or CSE at school! Don’t include your date of birth on your CV! It can potentially lead to you not being selected for interview because of your age 6. Supplying reference names You need to stay in control of your job hunt. The last thing you want is your references being checked out before you are asked for interview! 7. Wrong order of content On the 1st page of your CV, you want your key selling points to shine out at recruiters. For example, if you have been working for over ten years, your education and qualifications need to go on the back page and near to the end of your CV. 8. Thinking a CV will get them a job The purpose of a CV is to get you an interview, nothing more, nothing less. Every statement that you put on your CV needs to be evaluated with the thought – ‘will this help me get an interview?’ 9. Using a chronological CV when a functional CV would work better A functional CV highlights your transferable skills rather than your employment history. A functional CV is a must for anyone who is returning to the workplace after a long career break, who has changed jobs frequently, or who has been at one firm for a long period of time. 10. Supplying too much employment history Your last ten years of employment history are what most recruiters will be looking at. You should focus your achievements on your last two or three roles. 11. Typos and spelling mistakes Your CV needs to be perfect… run the spell check and get someone else to proof-read your CV, to help you spot any errors. Someone reviewing your CV will also help you ‘sell’ yourself better – as generally other people are much better at selling you than you personally are. 12. Font is too small In an effort to get your CV to two pages, don’t cram the text in by making it smaller and widening all the margins. Use bullet points & aim to use a font of 11 with a line spacing of a minimum of 1.15. 13. Focusing on tasks Everyone wants to hire a winner. It goes without saying… Your CV should highlight your achievements and successes in your role, rather than your skill set or the tasks you routinely completed. 14. Lying Never ever run the risk of lying on your CV. If you are found out it could lead to you facing instant dismissal from your new employers.
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