Don’t make these CV mistakes: Part 2

Our CEO, Barry Whelan, featured in the June edition of ShelfLife Magazine to continue his segment on the top CV mistakes that candidates must avoid. Check out what he had to say below:

In the second instalment of a new three-part series, Excel Recruitment’s Barry Whelan outlines more CV mistakes to avoid if you don’t want your CV headed straight to a recruiter’s ‘no pile’.

Excel Recruitment was 20 years old last month, so we have been recruiting for quite some time and over those years, we must have seen every CV mistake there could be! When it comes to CV’s, first impressions last and whether it is a candidate or employer’s market, a large part of a recruiter’s job is to filter through the large volume of applications received. On average, each recruiter spends seven seconds scanning a CV to make the decision on whether to delve deeper or not. Here is another batch of CV mistakes to avoid!

No personal profile

While you want to keep your CV under two pages and avoid any rambling, you should always include a personal summary. This paragraph gives you the chance to really sell your skills and achievements, as well as tailoring your application to the specific job you are applying for. It can also help to give your potential new employers a little taste of your personality and gives you the opportunity to stand out from other candidates.

Including a generic personal profile

We have already advised that including a personal summary is essential, but it’s also important to think carefully about what to put in it. Of course, you want to sell yourself and make sure you show that you’re a fit for the role, but don’t make it unoriginal. Try to avoid clichéd phrases that every other candidate will use such as ‘self-motivated’ and ‘results-driven’, and instead focus on being genuine and talking about what you can offer and what you’re looking for. Use this space wisely to give a personal touch!

Writing in the third person

Writing in the third person may seem like a creative way to make your CV stand out, but it’s not a good idea. To be honest, it comes across as either weird or egotistical. Your CV is your opportunity to communicate with potential employers, so writing in the third person makes it hard to really connect with them. It can also give them the wrong impression of who you are as a person.

Outdated information

Having stale information is a good way to ensure you leave recruiters unimpressed. You should read through your CV every time you apply for a job, just to check that everything is up-to-date. This is particularly important when it comes to things like your most recent job or work experience and any qualifications you have recently achieved. Contact details are another vital thing to keep up-to-date, especially to make it as easy as possible for recruiters to get in touch.

Not customising for each position

If you are applying for several jobs, it might be tempting to just send off the same CV to all of them. However, it’ll give you a much better chance of securing an interview if you customise your CV each time. 83% of our recruiters said this is something they definitely want from job candidates in an internal survey. Today, many companies perform an initial electronic CV review, through their ATS (applicant tracking system), so it’s important to go through the job description and ensure you have included any keywords mentioned.

Not telling the truth

All our recruiters have found a lie on a CV. Missing position, exaggerated job titles, incorrect dates of employment, unqualified qualifications; the list goes on. However, while it may be common, it’s a mistake to avoid. Not only is it unethical, but if you get caught out it will undoubtedly hinder your chances of making it to interview. And if you were to get the position and the company finds out you weren’t being truthful it could ultimately cost you your new job.

Exaggerated skills

Describing yourself as the ‘best store manager in Mayo’ or something similar is never a good addition to your CV. These sorts of statements not only make you seem rather arrogant or lack integrity, they’re also just a bit embarrassing and a sure way to convince recruiters to add you to the ‘no’ pile. Instead, use real examples, that can be backed up, to impress your potential employer.

Not mentioning specific results

When you are writing about your previous experience, the more specific you are the better. Employers want to see exactly what you have achieved in order to assess you potential. Instead of simply listing off your job responsibilities, aim to provide quantifiable results that you were solely or partly responsible for. This might include things like percentage sales increase or number of new customers, efficiency savings or any awards or accolades.

Including the wrong interests/hobbies

If you have hobbies and interests listed in your CV, you should ensure that they’re not likely to offend or alienate potential employers. Avoid including generic interests that are plain or almost everyone has. This section is a good chance to show your personality, don’t waste it! Less common, quirky interests not only show that you’re a well-rounded and interesting person, but they can also endear you to the recruiter if you have something in common.

If you would like to read the full ShelfLife Magazine June 2022 Issue, you can do so by clicking here.