I’m sure many job seekers have heard some of these things below. They, however, bear repeating as I’ve recently had to do some hiring again and I still see too many people do these.
So please don’t:
1. Forward CV’s from previously forwarded emails – Shows you’re too lazy and unobservant. How can your email contain forwarded info of previous applications? Be wise, delete it. While you’re at it, make sure to write an accompanying email and not just forward a blank email.
2. Forget to include a cover letter – Research the company and be as specific as possible in your letter. It shows you’re not lazy like the average person out there is. It also helps you highlight how your unique skills and experience will help the employer. Again, make sure the email containing your CV is not empty or says something dumb like, ‘see attached’. If you’re too busy to write something to a potential employer, then the employer will be too busy to look at your CV.
3. Use comic sans – We’re not in kindergarten, use a serious font. This doesn’t apply of course if you’re applying to become a clown or to work in a comic shop or kids related company.
4. Scan and email CV as an attachment – I thought everyone had learned this but I still receive CVs like this. I don’t even read, just click delete straight. The standard is PDF format created from a word document. Document should be easily identified. Document title should include your name and job position applied for. e.g ‘john.bull.cv.account.officer.pdf’
5. Ignore LinkedIn – We’re in the technology age so I check all my applicants’ linked in profile automatically using a plugin in my inbox. If you have a killer profile with shared connections with me, you’re getting an interview. If you don’t, well you’d have to impress me somewhere else. Linked in is such a low hanging fruit, use it. Google how to create a killer linked in profile, it’s not that hard! First thing is a good picture.
6. List generic skills – Everyone is a team player, fast learner, has good interpersonal skills etc. What did you do to demonstrate a trait? That’s what employers are interested in.
‘I have good planning skills’ – poor.
‘I planned an event for 1000 people with a tight budget that achieved a 90% satisfaction rate in a post-event survey’ – better.
Always try to put figures on your achievements. Tell me, ‘I led a new marketing initiative that raised sales by 100%’, I want to talk to you yesterday!
7. Use a photo – Unless you’re working in the media this is generally a bad idea. If you must use a photo, ensure it’s professionally taken against a plain background.
8. Include Interests and hobbies – Take this section out. Leave it in only if it’s spectacular. That is something like you were a champion dancer or a published author, otherwise, nobody cares about it. Everyone likes to read, dance and meet new people. Why should that make anyone want to hire you?
9. Demonstrate inexperience – Is your CV too sparse? go and find something to do to fill it up. If you’re approaching 30 and only have a few lines in your CV, sorry it will end up in the trash. 20-year-olds now are becoming billionaires so go out and get some experience somehow and somewhere. Being unproductive in your own time signals to the employer that you will be unproductive on his time. Even if it’s farming you have to go do, do it and put it on your CV, there is dignity in every kind of labor.
The trick to a killer CV when you’re inexperienced is to create a model CV with all the experiences and skills employees want. It would be a lie at first, but make it a goal to convert every single lie to a truth. You will look back in a few years time and realize you have become an amazing person. You don’t need a job to do this. Just initiative and a hard-working mentality.
Hiring is risky. reduce the risk by letting the potential employer know that the job he’s about to give you will be easy for you to do because you’ve demonstrated it in the past.
This article was written by Olayiwola Sule, (Bsc, AAT, ACA, ACTI)