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Your CV can seem overwhelming, but with a few techniques it can be easily improved
6th October 2022

Watch out for these CV ‘red flags’

Finito World

If you’re on the hunt for a new job, you’ve probably thought a lot about your CV. According to the online platform CV Maker, the average hiring manager only spends six to eight seconds looking over that much agonised over piece of paper before deciding if it goes in the ‘yes’ or ‘no’ pile. Therefore, it is vital to make sure that there is nothing in your CV which could give a recruiter reason to disregard your application.

The biggest mistake you can make on a CV is also, thankfully, the easiest to correct. Typos and spelling/grammar errors can show a potential employer that you do not pay attention to detail (and even if you do normally pay attention to detail, a spelling error sends a bad first impression). A minor error shouldn’t get your CV thrown out by any fair recruiter, but if there are many mistakes then you should probably consider re-sending your CV with a brief message explaining the mistake. The best way to prevent this uncomfortable scenario in the first place is to use a spellchecker and have a few trusted friends or family members read your CV before sending it out.

Another easy correction which can save you all manner of embarrassment has to do with your email address. It is always best to make a new dedicated email address for your job search, rather than relying on an old address. If your email is a bit unprofessional, or at worst outright vulgar, then your chances of landing the job are very low. The standard formats of ‘firstname.lastname@…” or “firstinitial.lastname@…” tend to work well for this purpose.

A large gap in your employment is more difficult to correct. After all, if you have an employment gap then there’s not much you can do about it now, and it is certainly never a good idea to lie! However, there is a solution; just be honest. Particularly now after the pandemic, employment gaps are not rare and no fair employer should disqualify an applicant solely based on their employment history. If you can effectively explain your employment gap in a cover letter, that will help massively, and you should be prepared to offer a good explanation in an interview setting.

If you have a number of relatively short, sub-one-year-long roles on your CV, this may raise some red flags with a potential employer. As with employment gaps, if you have a number of short-lived jobs then you can’t change the past, but a good explanation can go a long way. Try to stick to concrete reasons for your departures from previous roles, such as a lack of career advancement or recruitment by another company, rather than vague statements such as ‘needing a change’ which could cause some employers to believe you are unreliable.

Including too much personal information on a CV can stray into the unprofessional realm, so keep things brief. Showing a bit of personality through your hobbies and interests can be good, but make sure they pertain to the job role in a positive way. Your personality will come through automatically through your accomplishments and the more detailed accounts of your skills, so there’s no need to overdo it.

There’s a lot to think about when constructing a CV, and it can be overwhelming. However, a bit of proofreading and careful consideration of content can make all the difference when going for that dream role.

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