very employer asks for CVs these days. It’s their smart and polite way of firing some applicants even before they get to meet them. This is why you must avoid the following CV mistakes at all cost.
MISTAKE # 1: The Old School Formats
Most of us learned how to write CVs from our parents, other older family members, and our lecturers. Most of these ‘consultants’ haven’t applied for any job in a very long time and are therefore clueless of the enormous transformation that has occurred in the job market since their last job hunt. They usually suggest a format like this:
- Personal and contact information
- Education and qualifications
- Work history and /or experience
- Relevant skills for the job in question
- Interests and hobbies
- References/ Referee
I’m not saying this format is entirely bad. In fact, it’s actually good, but only if you have a lot of educational qualifications and work experience. For a fresh graduate with very little or no work experience, this format most definitely sets you up for failure. Job Hunting is sales and you are the product; your potential employer is the customer and your CV is your sales pitch. Now your job as your own salesperson is to craft a sales pitch (CV) that will make the customer (EMPLOYER) fall in love with your product (YOU) and actually want to buy it. You have to say all the great stuff first and sparingly touch on the weak points, or ignore them altogether. Your CV should look more like this:
- Personal and Contact Information
- Profile: This should be a brief description of yourself in relation to the job you want to apply for. It could be something like this – “I am an enthusiastic, adoptive and fast-learning person with considerable experience in Marketing, Sales and Inventory Management.”
- Skills and Competences: List a few of the skills you have that will prove very useful in the position you are applying for. For example: Outstanding written and verbal communication skills, Admirable inter-personal relations, considerable knowledge in computer software, etc.
- Achievements or Accomplishments: List some of the achievements you’ve had, that could guarantee your success in the position you are applying for.
- Work history/ experience: Training and attachments also count as work experience, so please NEVER LEAVE THIS PORTION BLANK, even if you’ve never had a real job.
- Education and qualifications: Most employers don’t really care what primary school or J.H.S. you attended, so don’t add those; unless they are your only educational qualification.
- References (three at most)
A CV crafted in this format will make the employer fall in love with you before they see your work experience or educational qualification; which might not be your very strong selling points.
MISTAKE # 2: Attaching Pictures
Insane as this may sound, some applicants actually do it. I guess they forget that it’s a job they are applying for and not an audition for a beauty pageant. It might look cool and very tempting, but don’t do it. You never know, you might have the face of the HR manager’s ex-husband, and she definitely would not want you around.
MISTAKE # 3: Saying Your Age
All employers know that it is illegal to reject an applicant because of their age, but they do it anyway. So, outsmart them… don’t put it on your CV.
MISTAKE # 4: Stating Marital Status
Some employers like applicants who are single and ready to mingle, others like the married ones, but you, my friend will never know which kind your next employer is. So, take my advice, never state it on your CV. Let them get to meet you first, then they can decide if your marital status is that important.
“Job Hunting is sales and you are the product; your potential employer is the customer and your CV is your sales pitch.” Don’t screw it up.