Debunking Five Myths for Successful CV WritingApr 19, 2023
When applying for a dream new job, one of the critical areas you need to address is updating your curriculum vitae. However, while CV writing can be time-consuming and challenging, it is essential to help you take steps forward in your career. People face many difficulties when CV writing, such as:
- What should I include?
- What shouldn’t I include?
- How long should it be?
- How can I make it stand out above the other candidates?
To clarify things, here are the top five CV myths debunked that we have come across in conversations with our candidates recently.
1. Myth: CVs are not that Important Anymore
Reality: A CV is your First Chance to make an Impact
While a CV may not decide between getting a job or not, it is the difference between getting an interview and not. An interview is a gateway to a job offer. A common mistake is that it is more about ‘who you know’. This will only get you so far; ultimately, you must still demonstrate ‘what you know’.
Your CV is often your first opportunity to make a good impression on potential future employers. Therefore, you should see it as a personal marketing tool highlighting your education, work experience, and skill set to a hiring manager.
You should provide a clear, well-written, and tailored CV relevant to the job and industry you are applying for. Your CV aims to portray your strengths and suitability for the vacancy and help you land an interview.
While there are now various other tools that candidates can use to catch the eye of a hiring manager, such as Linkedin and Behance for portfolios, the CV is still vitally important to a job application, and great care and attention must be given when writing it.
2. Myth: A few Grammar Mistakes won’t make a Difference
Reality: Grammar and Spelling Mistakes Indicate a Lack of Care and Attention
You’ve spent considerable time and effort ensuring you have your education, skills, and past work experience all included on your CV, ready to catch the attention of the hiring manager. Then, you send your CV off to your potential future employer and confidently wait for the call for an interview. However, due to a lack of attention to detail, you’ve mistaken ‘your’ instead of ‘you’re’, ‘there’ instead of ‘their’, and ‘collegue’ instead of ‘colleague’. As a result, the chances of landing that dream job have been heavily reduced.
A significant 59% of recruiters will reject an application due to poor grammar and spelling on a CV. So once you’ve taken the time to write your tailored CV, don’t ruin your hard work by not proofreading it to make sure it is up to scratch.
Spelling mistakes and grammar errors have to be avoided on a CV. These mistakes indicate that you lack care, and given that most jobs require attention to detail, you’re not getting off to a good start. It also suggests that you rushed your CV and didn’t put great importance on the role you are applying for.
Everyone is guilty of typos and spelling and grammar errors, but don’t leave these mistakes in for the hiring manager to find. Instead, ensure you proofread your work to ensure the writing meets the required standard. Getting someone else to proofread it is also a good idea, as it is easy to miss mistakes in your writing.
3. Myth: A Hiring Manager won’t Read Anything Longer than two pages
Reality: What’s key is that your CV is Relevant and Concise and not the Length
It is commonly thought that a CV should be at most two pages; however, there is no strict rule about how long a CV should be, and it usually depends on your experience.
If you are an experienced candidate, trying to cram everything on two pages will be disadvantageous. At the same time, if you are a graduate or someone with limited work experience, it will be challenging to go beyond one page without adding unnecessary filler.
What is important to remember is that a hiring manager doesn’t want to read a CV filled with irrelevant information. Only include relevant information that applies to the role you are applying for. For example, whilst your two-week work experience 15 years ago may have been appropriate 15 years ago, it probably isn’t now. Put down recent and relevant work experience that you believe will help you get an interview.
If you are highly experienced and need to go over two pages, this is acceptable if the information provided is suitable for the application. However, if you are worried about the length, remember you can put the key points down and expand on them in the interview.
4. Myth: I need to Include Graphics to make my CV Stand Out
Reality: Focus on the Information Being Clear and Readable
When writing a tailored CV, you want to make it unique and highlight your credentials to encourage the hiring manager to give you an interview opportunity. People sometimes do this by adding graphics such as professional pictures, colour schemes, and borders. However, this isn’t necessary unless design and creativity are mentioned in the job listing and/or you are applying for roles such as a graphic designer or web designer, where graphics may be looked on favourably.
However, more often than not, if a hiring manager wants to see your design skills, they’ll ask for a portfolio. Furthermore, graphics can sometimes be a hindrance if done incorrectly, as it distracts the reader from the relevant information. Therefore, most hiring managers prefer the traditional CV design, which makes the information clear and readable.
5. Myth: CVs need to Include Everything on the Job Specification
Reality: Focus on your Achievements Rather than a Generic Skills List
This applies to both technical and soft skills. While highlighting skills relevant to the role is important, you should only include them if you can give examples from your work experience. It wouldn’t be looked on favourably by a hiring manager if you are asked about these in an interview and then can’t back up with specific details.
Furthermore, just listing skills with no evidence will make your CV look quite generic and unlikely to help you stand out. What will get you noticed is your achievements. So, focus on covering achievement areas, such as:
- Targets hit
- Projects completed
- Awards won
- Successfully leading teams
- Customer experiences
- Client feedback
First impressions count, and your CV is often your first interaction with a potential employer. It advertises how much of a beneficial employee you would be, and including your achievements will help back this up. However, a CV is only a door opener, so ensure you are prepared to discuss your skills and experience with passion and detail at an interview.
We hope this guide has inspired you and debunked some of the common myths that come with CV writing. Remember, a CV should be clear, well written, and give a picture of who you are and why you should be hired. Good luck with your creation of an effective, tailored CV.
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For more information, visit our dedicated candidates’ page and start your journey today.