Don’t make these CV mistakes: Part 1

by | May 20, 2022

Our CEO, Barry Whelan, featured in this month’s edition of ShelfLife magazine discussing the most common CV mistakes that candidates need to avoid. See what he had to say below:

In the first part of a new three-piece series, Excel Recruitment’s Barry Whelan outlines the CV mistakes to avoid if you don’t want to scupper your chances of securing a great new job before you’ve even set foot in the building. 

Excel Recruitment is 20 years old this month, so we have been recruiting for quite some time and over those years, we must have seen every CV mistake there could be! When it comes to CV’s, first impressions last and whether it is a candidate or employer’s market, a large part of a recruiter’s job is to filter through the large volume of applications received. On average, each recruiter spends seven seconds scanning a CV to make the decision on whether to delve deeper or not. It is therefore vital to avoid the mistakes that could mean the difference between CV acceptance and rejection.

In this three-part series, I will outline the top 25 common errors we find regularly on the CVs we receive.

It’s too long!

Given the short amount of time that a recruiter has to look over your CV, it’s a good idea to keep it to the point. Most HR professionals suggest keeping it under two pages to ensure it gets a proper scan. If you have enjoyed a long career this might sound challenging, however, it’s helpful as it allows you to make sure that every sentence counts, helping to sell you to potential employers.

It’s not long enough

Similarly, having a CV that is too short and doesn’t contain enough information isn’t a good idea either. While a one-page resume is often seen as being ideal, we opt for CVs in Ireland as opposed to the one-page resume. You don’t want to start trimming off important bits of information to squeeze everything onto one page. This could mean missing out on the chance to tell your prospective employer about relevant achievements. While you might be able to impress them with this information in an interview, you have to make it to that stage first.

Picking the wrong design

We often see this with candidates going for creative jobs such as graphic designers, marketing candidates or fashion candidates. It’s a good idea to make sure that your CV is designed in a way that reflects the type of job you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a position in graphic design or the creative arts, it could work against you if your CV is dull and uninspiring. However, the difficulty is that Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) used by all large recruitment companies, cannot import your CV into their system or work with it easily. Creative design is good, but only within the traditional CV format.

Strange font choices

The font you choose for your CV can also have an impact on your chances of scoring a job interview. Extravagant font options look unprofessional and make it difficult for recruiters to scan through your writing. There are some fonts that resonate particularly well. A recent study found that people associate Times New Roman and Arial with stability, while Courier New and Georgia represented maturity and Segou UI was the most persuasive font!

Poor formatting

You want recruiters to be able to read through your CV with ease, so using the right formatting is essential. A CV with large blocks of text is very visually unappealing and to be honest, time stealing. This may result in busy employers not being willing to look through it all. Make sure your CV is tidy, with short paragraphs and enough spacing between them. Bullet points can also be helpful when listing things like qualifications or results.

Poor use of colour

Adding a splash of colour to your CV won’t hurt if you’re applying to jobs in the creative sector or less conventional companies. However, you should be controlled in your use of colour. Only use colours in headings and avoid garish or hard-to-read colours such as yellow. If you’re looking for jobs in more traditional firms or industries such as banking and finance, it’s a good idea to stick to black and white.

Grammatical or spelling errors and typos

If I had a euro for every time I read a store manger CV as opposed to manager… Well, I would have a spare 10 grand! While this is an obvious one, it’s so important. A CV that’s littered with typos and spelling mistakes essentially tells a recruiter that you haven’t taken the time to proofread your writing and therefore you don’t really care about the job. Always go over your text and check for errors and use spell check or free tools such as Grammarly to look for grammatical mistakes. It may also be a good idea to get someone else to read over your writing to make sure you haven’t missed anything.

If you wish to read the full ShelfLife Magazine May 2022 Issue, you can do so by clicking here.

 

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