We read numerous CVs at Glen Callum and speak with many, many people in the automotive and industrial sectors and along the way we see the same set of common mistakes which transform a good professional background and good fit for the job into someone who looks only marginally suitable.
Here are a few tips to maximise your chances:
Tailor to each application. The golden rule. Look at the job description/advert, pick out key requirements, then emphasise these in your CV. If you struggle to highlight your relevance then maybe this isn’t the right job for you.
Writing War & Peace. At a push, the maximum number of pages your CV should comprise of is 4, but the ideal number is 2 or 3. If it’s too long you run the risk of losing the attention of your audience.
Job descriptions. Don’t just list your job functions, try and focus on how, rather than what. For example, selling to sector xyz is what, but demonstrating, doing workouts or delivering presentations is how. This is what a potential employer will scan for.
Omitting dates. If you don’t have a clearly marked start and end date for each position, the reader may make negative assumptions.
Mis-representing dates. If your format is misleading you can give the impression of being a job-hopper. Maybe you’ve been with the same company for 10 years and been promoted every year. Make it clear this is one employment by using sub-headings for job title under the same clear main heading.
Negativity. This is another golden rule. Whether or not you feel it is appropriate to state your reason for moving on, avoid writing anything negative about a former employer or colleagues on your CV.
Too impersonal/personal. Don’t extract your personality from your CV or it may seem very sterile and cold. Likewise avoid large hobby sections which make it clear your focus and enthusiasm is firmly away from your work.
Times New Roman. It’s dull, conservative, unimaginative and the default choice of font. It may lead the reader to assume that you aren’t very dynamic, don’t stand out and aren’t very pc literate. Worse than this is the CV full of different fonts, which will give the impression of poor attention to detail.
Spell check. Almost too obvious to state but it is amazing how many people forget this one. Beyond this it is also a good idea to make sure your spell checker is set to English (UK) to avoid Americanisms.
Education at the top. There are times when this is relevant. Like when the job’s primary requirement is based on formal training or qualifications. At all other times, put this under your career history, as experience will likely be more important than formal education.
I hope you will find these tips useful. Remember that before you get the chance to speak for yourself and impress, your CV will be doing that for you and is the key to your on-going career aspirations. Best of luck!