<ul><li>Thinking that once it’s done, it’s done. </li></ul><ul><li>The biggest mistake that you will make with your CV is to finish it. </li></ul><ul><li>A great CV is never a static document. It doesn’t sit on your desktop once it’s “done”. It doesn’t get routinely sent out to anyone and everyone who might be interested. It doesn’t get “updated” every few years when you need your next job. </li></ul><ul><li>A great CV is one that is prepared exclusively , from scratch, either in response to a specific advert or job description, or with a specific audience or purpose in mind. </li></ul><ul><li>If you’re sending out the same “CV” to multiple jobs then it is already working against you. </li></ul>
2. Not answering the question The overwhelming majority of CVs we see focus on describing an individual’s work experience and key skills. Whilst in some cases this is just about acceptable, most CVs miss the point because they fail to answer the question . Every job is different, and every time someone is hired they are hired for a different reason. The hirer has a problem to solve or a task to do. When they look at your CV they are asking a question: can this person solve my problem or help me fulfil my task? A great CV is prepared exclusively and specifically to answer that question .
3. Forgetting the audience Technical people are interested in and excited by technical proficiency and achievements. Commercial people are interested in and excited by business efficiency and profitability. Recruiters/HR are rarely industry experts or technical gurus but will be excited by experience that is well-framed and relevant to the position in hand. Whoever it is who reviews your CV will have their own question . If a number of different people will read the CV, each is likely to have a different question . A great CV is prepared exclusively, to answer the question(s) of the person or people who are likely to review it . When crafting your CV, always think about who your audience is.
4. Being totally irrelevant A great CV presents the right information to the right people in the right way. Great CVs rarely contain irrelevant information. Your audience probably won’t be interested in the names of your three dogs unless their question relates to your ability to name dogs. Irrelevant information is simply a by-product of having a static, occasionally updated, generic CV. When you’re reviewing your uniquely-crafted document, consider whether each aspect you’ve included is relevant to the question that your audience is trying to answer. A great CV is prepared exclusively with relevant information and is aimed at answering the question of the person reviewing it.
5. Focussing on what you did rather than what you’ve done More often than not, the question your audience is asking is ‘Will this person be able to achieve X?’ The only way you can successfully answer this question is by providing examples of times from your past (or your present) when you have successfully managed to do that. To achieve this, a great CV focuses on achievements and not on experience . A great CV is prepared exclusively with relevant information and is aimed at answering the question of the person reviewing it by providing evidence of suitable achievements .
Want more? This wasn’t much of a how-to guide. We know. You’ll find a range of tutorials, videos and examples of how to avoid the mistakes we’ve outlined here on our website at www.mployability.net That’s where you’ll also find details of some of our exclusive CV writing webinars and training sessions.
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