Disclaimer: The content written below is not personal, unintended to offend anyone whatsoever. It’s by all means just me ranting and sharing with you my frustration in the form of advice…very critical advice.
Wrapping up a project, we, WUZZUF Coaches team, reviewed nearly 300 CVs. What a ride! While we thought you’ve seen it all, a CV after the other has a way of surprising us. The amount of irrelevant, unnecessary, completely misplaced and/or misused information we’ve collectively found in those was unimaginable!!
There is a number of extremely obvious mistakes that you just can’t overlook. Those mistakes can efficiently, also expectedly, jeopardize a candidate’s claim on any position they’re applying for no matter how qualified they actually are. Here are some of the mistakes that have completely baffled me as a recruiter and as a career coach/resume expert.
Spelling mistakes are turn-offs
Imagine reading a professional’s summary and you’re all excited because it seems promising and you’re greeted with the gruesome mistake of “keep eye for details”. Ironic, isn’t it?
It’s also fatal. It indicates that whoever wrote this CV was not attentive and didn’t put much effort into reviewing what they’ve written. Even more ironic!
The right thing to do here is to freakin’ spell check! They’re, like, everywhere and in every document management system, there is, so you have no excuse. I know my tone here seems a bit harsh, but you can’t imagine how many CVs we reviewed and found such silly mistakes that could automatically disqualify you as a candidate just because you forgot to spell check your CV, it makes me angry. If you are looking for good spell checkers online -other than the usual choices of Microsoft word automatic spell check and Google Docs- use Grammarly!
Career Objective in an entry-level candidate
“Seeking a challenging position that will utilize my skills and experience in a company for growth and advancement.” I find this specific sentence, that nearly 70% of the CVs reviewed had, incredibly irritating, ugh!. I mean, who doesn’t want? If you find someone who doesn’t want a challenging job in a good company, I’ll take you out for a cup of coffee. I mean it!
Bottom line, a template career objective must be killed! I’d much rather go straight to the information I’m reviewing the CV for, like the professional background, job details, extra-curricular activities, internships or the educational and academic background, you know! The juicy stuff.
Photo in the CV!
Once and for all, just don’t put a photo on your CV unless you were explicitly asked to, OK?!
Some jobs, especially customer-facing jobs, would sort of need a photo in the CV, so then, and only then, it’s acceptable. Even though I personally disagree with this notion, as it provides a chance for discrimination based on looks but whatever.
So what would a photo do with the qualifications of a site engineer? Nothing more than making the file much larger. Probably, with our internet in Egypt, taking a long time to open or download. So unless I absolutely ask a candidate to include a personal photo in their CV, I would rather not be greeted with someone’s face when I open it.
Fancy template or no template, that is the question!
So you saw a template online that has many shapes, colors, fonts and, sometimes, circles that you’d think will make your CV look more “sophisticated”? WRONG! Going for the overly decorative CV templates is not a thing for an accountant or a quality assurance specialist or us non-movie-making-non-graphic-designing people, OK?! All those colors and circles and tables, that give me a headache just looking at them, can actually make it difficult for me to navigate and review the CV. I get distracted by all the colors, no shame in that!
So instead of overly accessorizing the CV, I’d much rather go through a simple, well-spaced, clean and organized CV that will help me get my job done quickly! Looking for another non-overly-decorative CV templates to use, maybe visit this link or check this website.
Job description breakdown, or none at all!
Again, all I want to get from the CV is a summary of the professional experience. Why do I have to scroll through pages after pages of mundane and boring bullet points describing literally every single aspect of the job? And believe me when I say it. Every. Single. Thing. I don’t want to know that you “attended your team’s weekly meeting”. If you believe that this is worth mentioning then we need to have a serious discussion about how to describe your main responsibilities. I’d prefer if you’d make it easier for me to get an overall understanding of the job and role description as clearly and as swiftly as possible, do I have to say it this often??
So I, sadly unlike many people, would go for starting with the main aspects of the job, using descriptive and powerful verbs. Focusing on my main responsibilities that no one else will do other than me. So here’s an example of what I humbly have in my own CV as a Career Coach at WUZZUF,
- Conducts one-on-one career coaching to professionals of all ages and career levels
- Guides coachees through assessments and create individualized career plans
I do more than just these two points, mind you! But some are shared with the team that I also mention in my Cv, but you don’t need to see that too!
Instead of writing down every single point, maybe try to refer back to your job description and your core job responsibilities. They should have everything you’ll need. I recommend adding your own spin and/or words onto it, since we end up getting more and more involved in numerous things during our employment other than the core job. Which is amazing, definitely recommended!
Good at a skill? Prove it!
If I see “excellent communicator and team player” in another CV, so help me god! I’ve literally seen it in 90% of the CV we’ve reviewed. I know that companies always look for the “good team player” and the “communicator” but after seeing it mentioned that many times, I’m starting to question the legitimacy of this claim.
So don’t start foolishly googling “personal skills to add in the CV” and pick random ones to add to your CV. Try to integrate it into your job description points as mentioned above. Don’t write “excellent communicator” in a separate personal skills section, I don’t want that!. Instead, go for “responsible for all communication and alignment for ongoing campaigns with the concerned teams” as part of your job description. This will make it easier for whoever is reading the CV to understand your skill AND your involvement in your job. A win-win situation for the both of us. That’ll save you a ton of time in writing, and me in reading. We both need that, desperately!
References will be furnished upon request
Just don’t put that ok? If we need references, we promise we’ll ask.
Here’s a number of points that I just could not overlook! And if I saw it again, I’ll probably hurt someone.
- Detailed home address in the CV? No. Just no. I don’t need to know the flat number and/or the street name. I don’t think I’ll come and visit you anytime soon. Just the neighborhood and the city are more than enough, thank you very much!
- Speaking of home, I really don’t need your home phone number. I wouldn’t call you there either way since I might get to speak with your mom or little brother by accident. I don’t want that to happen for the sake of either of us. Your mobile number is the one I need.
- “email@example.com” (fake email) should not by any means an email I use to communicate with a candidate. I don’t think I have the heart to send any form of professional communication to that email address. Just an email address with the person’s name is the way to go. No other way is acceptable.
All of the above should give you an idea of how a recruiter’s mind works and sometimes suffer through. However, if you’re looking for a more personalized feedback and a complete overhaul of your CV, we can help with that.
What you should take out of all this? That you should always put yourself in the recruiter’s shoes. If you take a look at your CV using this perspective, maybe, just maybe, you’ll understand why all I’ve mentioned above is irritating. And by steering away from the above mistakes, you can end up having a killer CV because you’ll know how to showcase how awesome you really are (And probably also help maintain the recruiter’s mental health)! Just sayin’.