5 Mistakes To Avoid When Compiling Your CV

With high unemployment on the African
continent, competition for every job
opening is fierce. The first step towards
securing your dream job is putting
together a professional curriculum vitae
(CV) that gets the recruiter excited about
the skills, experience and qualifications
you have to offer.
But many great candidates fail at this first
hurdle in the job search process by
making some basic errors when compiling
their CVs. Here are a few of the common
mistakes we see in the CVs that come
across our desks when we’re recruiting –
if you manage to avoid them, you’ll
already given yourself an edge in the job
market.
1. Irrelevant personal information
In today’s competitive job market,
recruiters may get hundreds of CVs for
every job they advertise. Do them a favour
by focusing your CV on the experience
and qualifications that make you stand
out. Avoid anything that could bias the
recruiter against your application, be
controversial in his or her mind, or simply
pad your CV with unnecessary
information.
Although it is good to give an overall
picture of who you are, don’t go
overboard listing your hobbies, interests,
or beliefs, unless they’re particularly
relevant to the job you’re applying for.
Also, be wary of detailing your sexual
orientation, religious beliefs or political
convictions in your CV. They’re simply
not relevant.
Recruiters sometimes access social media
platforms to gain insight into job
applicants. Make sure that the image
projected by your social media accounts
is one that you’d like to portray to
prospective employers.
2. Falsehoods and half-truths
It’s important to cast your achievements
and qualifications in the best possible
light in your CV, but you should also be
truthful about the facts of your career and
personal history. Don’t claim to have
qualifications you don’t have, don’t inflate
your job titles or salary in the hopes of
advancing your career, and don’t lie about
your previous achievements.
Recruiters will check on your background,
and they will usually find out if you’ve
embellished the truth to try and get a
higher salary or to secure a job for which
you’re not qualified. With so many high-
profile people under scrutiny in the press
for lying about their qualifications,
recruiters are being extra careful in their
screening of candidates at the moment.
3. Spelling mistakes and grammatical
errors
Few things get a CV thrown in the dustbin
faster than glaring spelling or grammar
errors. Recruiters will assume that you’re
lazy or incompetent if your CV is full of
typos. Read your CV and read it again a
bit later to make sure you catch all of the
errors before you send it off. Check
headings, subject lines and cover letters
carefully. If you’re not good at spelling
and grammar, ask a family member or
friend to proofread your CV.
4. Employment history
An unexplained gap in your work history
makes recruiters nervous. Rather be
upfront and explain that you took some
time out to travel or raise children or that
you were ill for a long spell than leave a
mysterious hole in your CV – don’t let a
recruiter imagine you spent that time in a
maximum security prison as he or she
deletes your application.
To help the recruiter assess your
application quickly, start your CV with
summarised career chronology. Begin
with your most recently held position and
provide an overview of your experience
and expertise that are relevant to the job
you’re applying for. For your less relevant
or recent experience, you can offer less
information.
5. Current salary or salary expectations
You have little to gain from highlighting
your salary expectations in a CV. If
they’re too modest, the employer may
wonder if you’re qualified for the job, or
you might weaken your chances of
negotiating the best possible package. If
they’re too high, your CV will be
dismissed out of hand. That might be
unfortunate if you’re desperate for the job
or if you have a good enough story to tell
to justify your cost to the company.
Rather let the recruiter raise the issue of
remuneration during the interview
process.
By Anja van Beek, HR Director for Sage
VIP and Chief People Officer for Sage
AAMEA (Africa, Australia, Middle East and
Asia)

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