DON’T spell anything wrong. This will immediately give the employer an impression of how carefully (or carelessly as the case may be) you have thought about your CV and your working attitude in general. Misspelling the employer or company’s name is beyond inexcusable.
CHECK, check and check again for errors in spelling and grammar and don’t rely on computer spell check programmes. This includes checking everything from your own name to the name of the person you are sending the CV to. If you can, ask someone else to have a look through, as fresh eyes see clearer.
DON’T lie. Not telling the truth on a CV is almost self-destructive and can have humiliating consequences. You may think it makes you look better but if you are found out, either during an interview or at a later stage, you will find yourself in serious trouble and are likely to be heavily reprimanded.
BE CONFIDENT in your honesty. You are trying to present yourself in the very best possible light, so think hard about what makes you good and, more importantly, what makes you employable. If you didn’t think you were good enough you wouldn’t be applying in the first place, would you? Also, if possible, try to explain or justify any time gaps in your CV.
DON’T overcomplicate things. Think of what your CV says about you. If it is messy and the language is stifling it will not give a good impression. In most cases an employer will not read every word and ponder each application over a cup of tea. With potentially hundreds to read they will scan their eyes over it thinking either ‘yes pile’ or ‘no pile’. Try to give the impression that you want the job and you have the skills to cope and succeed. Also, don’t send your CV in a complex and time-consuming zip folder or difficult format or clutter the page using a tiny font, as creating more work for the employer will start your CV off on the wrong foot.
BE CLEAR and concise with your language. With only two sides of A4 paper to fill there is no room for waffling or irrelevant information. Less is more, if what you have on the page is praiseworthy and well-suited to the job in question. You can highlight areas of outstanding achievement, such as by putting good grades in bold. Similarly, if your grades are not so good but you still want to include them don’t make them stand out on the page so that they are the first thing seen by the employer.
DON’T go off the point. In your interests and skills section, try to keep things relevant to the CV and the job in question. You may be an excellent skier but this is hardly important for those wishing to work in a salon or hospital. The interest section is there to tell the employer a little more about yourself as an individual; but keep it brief and try to include only the things you really are extremely keen on and do on a regular basis. If you have interests that are relevant to the job – even better!
USE what is significant and discard what is not. Your recent employment should be relevant to the job you are applying for and emphasise all the positive things you did in your previous roles. Listing an assortment of 10 to 15 jobs is not as good as giving details of five where you played a major part in the business and made lasting contributions. Think about the types of skills an employer will be looking for in a candidate. If you really are a team player then say so and give an example of how you performed under pressure.
DO ensure it is well presented. Formatting is incredible important, ensure the way the information is set out is in a clear and aesthetically pleasing manner. It is crucial that if the employer only scans your CV that the essential points stand out.
Lastly, MAINTAIN your CV regularly making sure your contact details are correct and up-to-date. How infuriating would that be if you missed out on a job or interview opportunity because the person who saw your CV had your old mobile number or an email address you no longer use?