Ahhh, the CV.
Employers and recruitment agencies alike have seen many horrors of the CV malfunction. Whether you are ready to move on or there have been signs that you may be losing your job, keeping your CV up to date and ready to rock and roll when you see a fabulous job is all part of the process.
We all want to be adored and employed for our talents and skills, don’t we? So avoid these 14 dumb job application mistakes, and you’re golden.
1. It’s out of date and irrelevant
Make sure you have updated your skills and experience to be relevant to the current working world. If the last time you updated your CV was a few years ago, it may appear to be a relic of an age gone by, with no relevance to current technologies, working habits, or culture. Make sure you update all areas to be current, relevant, and brilliant.
2. Getting the name of your future employer wrong
Getting the name of your prospective employer wrong is an instant black mark. Although you may well be copying and pasting some covering letters as you apply for jobs, at least make sure you double check to make sure you have the right name. The consequence of getting a name wrong means you might miss out on your dream job.
3. Using a template & leaving the wrong information in
Using a templates as a guide to a great C.V can be a handy starting point, but beware; leaving in information that’s not yours? Not good, my friend. Check, check and double check.
4. Sending the wrong covering letter
Sending the wrong covering letter can be as embarrassingly awful as addressing the letter to the wrong guy. Creating a bespoke covering letter for each application does take a little more time, but reaps rewards in the long term; just don’t send the wrong one.
5. GIving too much personal information
Share enough information on your C.V to give an impression of your well-rounded personality, and leave the detailed descriptions of your bizarre personal pastimes on the cutting room floor. Aim to convey a flavour of your social life, hobbies and interests; don’t labour on your shrine to Elvis or the finer points of your medieval re-enactments at weekends.
6. Spelling and grammar mistakes
This is the most common error of them all. Read your C.V after you have written it, then read it again, again and again. Take a break from it, come back to it, get someone else to check it, get another person to check it after that, then re-check it yourself. In short, just make sure you have caught any errors before you send off your application; glaring bloopers don’t do you any favours at all.
7. Talking badly of your current employers
Although your current boss may not be the world’s best, no prospective employer is going to feel too enamoured about taking you on if you speak badly of people you have worked for in the past. Talk up your skills and experience, and leave it there.
8. Forgetting to attach the attachment
It’s a classic error, yet it’s made time and time again. Write a email/covering letter and send your C.V as attachment but check, check and check again that you have attached it. Those first impressions don’t come around too often.
9. Sending a file in the wrong format
Once you have remembered the attachment, send it as a PDF or Word doc, never in Publisher, Pages, or an obscure format that will render all your hard work to be jumbled text or an unreadable file.
10. Using a ridiculous email address
Think very carefully before including an email address you have had since uni on your C.V. Having your alias as firstname.lastname@example.org may not give the first impression you require.
11. Writing far, far too much
You don’t need to write a life story or novel; War and Peace this isn’t. Keep it simple, informative, easy to read and, at the very most, on two pages of A4. Look for examples of great C.V’s, but remember to check if you copy and paste your format, lest you come a cropper.
12. Not being yourself
Trying to masquerade your personality and qualifications as someone else on your CV will get you unstuck at some point. Talking up your experience and skill set too much will only pave the way for short shift in the new job should you get it, leaving a short employment tenure that you will need to explain on that C.V next time around…
13. Check your referees are happy to refer you
This can be a killer point, but so important. Take is as read that your new employer will want to seek opinions about you from previous bosses, so make sure they know about that in advance and are happy to do so. Consider carefully who you ask, and make sure it’s someone who will give a glowing report, not a disgruntled boss with an axe to grind.
14. Don’t try too hard
Printing your CV on fluorescent paper, sprayed with perfume or sent as apiece of performance art may make you stand out from the crowd in the wrong way. Unless you are 100% sure that the company you are applying to welcomes and appreciates creative gestures, keep the conceptual buffoonery away from your CV. Please.