- Spelling and grammar - Even in jobs where writing is not necessarily a key skill, poor writing shows a lack of care. Never trust a computer’s spell checker and always get someone else to read through your CV to spot any errors that you may have overlooked. Grammar can be tweaked by reading a piece out loud – if it doesn’t sound correct, then it probably won’t read very well.
- Writing lots, but saying nothing - Why use 20 words when 5 would do? Employers aren’t looking for you to explain everything you’ve ever done, just a few of the key elements that will persuade them you can do the job. Grab their attention with bullet points rather than long sprawling sentences.
- No tailoring – Whenever you try to develop a one-size-fits-all CV to apply for lots of vacancies, you almost always end up with something employers will ignore. Each employer is looking for a CV and cover letter that applies to their role and as all roles are different, you should make small adaptations so that it matches their specific requirements. Show that you understand what it is they want you to do.
- Highlighting duties instead of achievements – Rather than copying the responsibilities from your old job descriptions, try and find ways to show what you actually achieved whilst you were there. Not all roles have KPIs that are quantifiable, but no company would have employed you to just sit there – you must have had some impact in the business. Think of time-saving activities, new procedures, successful campaigns and increased sales, giving percentage increases wherever possible.