As we all know, applying for a new job and building a CV can be very time consuming. It requires dedication and concentration so that you leave no room for error. Checking for spelling mistakes, grammatical errors, formatting and consistency are all a vital part of the process.
Although these seem like minor details, this is a crucial stage of your application. A CV containing mistakes could prevent you from being invited to an interview, no matter how well your qualifications fit the role.
The good news is that this can be completely avoided with a few simple steps to ensure this doesn’t happen to you.
Here are the most common errors when writing a CV and how you can overcome them:
1. Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes
This is something that is now inexcusable, especially with all the technology and software available today! So, before submitting your CV and cover letter, you should always:
- Always spell check your work on your computer
- Print off your CV and/or cover letter to make it easier to spot any errors
- Read your CV out loud and backwards – this may sound unusual, but is a proven method to pick up mistakes
- Get another pair of eyes to read your documents for you
- Apply free online software tools to help you fix any grammatical errors (such as Grammarly, Slick Write or Paper Rater). This can also change the existing font or colour used, as seeing your application in an unfamiliar light will make it easier for you to spot mistakes (remember to change it back before you send it).
2. Lack of consistency
Make sure all parts of your application are consistent. As a rule this should involve:
- Checking for inconsistencies in job applications. These often crop up due to poorly worded proper nouns (such as job titles, company names and qualifications). Ensure you are consistent in your use of abbreviations and capitalisations. For example, sometimes you might capitalise your job title in the wrong context, or use an abbreviation to refer to a company in one instance, but not the other
- Always use the same simple font and size throughout your application, this also applies to using bold and italics
- Write in the first person throughout. Never switch to the third person as it will read incorrectly
- Maintain a professional tone and avoid using a casual or conversational time anywhere.
3. Poor formatting
- Recruiters and hiring managers will often notice this first. Here’s how to make a good first impression:
- Think like your reader; your application needs to be as easy to read/follow as possible
- Use bullet points to avoid large paragraphs
- Logos and pictures on your CV are not necessary - it may also be the case that they do not show on other systems, so your recruiter will not be able to see it on their software
- Keep it simple - avoid using backgrounds, borders or clipart
- Review the format of your application by zooming out if you’re using Word or print it out to see if something doesn’t look right instantly
- If your CV is longer than one page, make sure your page transitions are smooth
- Convert your final application into a PDF to ensure that your formatting stays in place.
4. Poor flow in the application
It is essential that your CV flows especially if email/ or cover letter is part of your job application. Make sure you check the following: -
- Do your paragraphs make sense and can you speak them out loud?
- Would the reader know what you’re trying to say?
- Read it to another person to see if they understand what the key messages are.
Overall, it is important to give yourself enough time to go through each and every one of the points above before you submit your next job application. By following each step, your recruiter will be able to see that you are thorough and attentive, making it more likely for them to ask you to attend the interview.
To find out more, or to discuss your recruitment needs, please contact your local consultant.