Can’t even get an interview? How your CV could be letting you down

For many mums, the end of maternity leave comes with anxiety about how to explain the ‘gap’ in your resume, as well as how to get an interview in the first place. Claire Maple from Maple Communications explains the most common CV mistakes out there- and how to avoid making them- to give yourself the best chance at getting your dream job.

If you’re on the hunt for a new job, make sure you don’t fall into these traps when you update your CV.

1. Poor spelling, bad grammar and typos

There’s no faster way to cast a shadow over your professionalism than sloppy language in your own résumé. Check and double check the document and then give it to the most fastidious person you know and ask him or her to check it again.

2. tl;dr

You don’t want the person standing between you and an interview for your dream job to stamp your CV “tl;dr”. Too long; didn’t read. Ouch! A CV has maximum impact at two or three pages. Jobs you held more than ten years ago can be omitted.

3. Dense, waffly, vague

You’re not dense or waffly or vague, so make sure your CV reflects that. Strip out all unnecessary details, such as the technical intricacies of roles you held several years ago. Also refrain from clichés like “self-starter”, “results driven” and “references available on request”. Instead, report your career history in reverse chronological order and summarise the purpose of the role you held in one sentence. Under that, bullet point 3 to 5 achievements. Make sure they’re achievements, not simply a list of tasks or responsibilities.

4. Missing the target

Step into the recruiter or hiring manager’s shoes and really think about their ideal candidate. It sounds time consuming, but customising your CV for every role you apply for will help your CV stand out. If the position has been advertised, it’s a good idea to read the ad and reflect its language and criteria in your résumé.

5. Forgetting yourself

Unless you’re highly specialised there are likely to be many CVs like yours out there, so find out what separates you from the rest. Make sure these assets come through in your résumé. The beginning of your CV is a great place for an executive summary of what you offer; including your qualifications, your unique strengths for the role and a couple of achievements that will impress the hirer.

6. Awful to look at

Multiple fonts, borders, colours and other flourishes make a CV harder and more annoying to read. Keep it simple and clean by using a single, easy to read font like Arial. Make sure margins and bullet points line up and the text is all the same size, with reasonable spacing.

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