Many candidates miss jobs today not because they lack sufficient expertise, skill or work specific experience but because their curriculum vitae lacks contentment. Remember a CV is the first impression you give an employer; the fewer the mistakes the higher the chance of impressing the recruiter. Let’s look at some of the most common mistakes that job seekers make on CVs?

Poor formatting

Formatting covers three aspects; layout, typeface, font size. A well formatted CV is much more likely to be read fully compared to one which looks shabby or is laid out in a way that makes it hard to digest. In the matter of typeface for example, avoid informal fonts like Comic Sans. Unless you are going for a graphic design job, never consider funky typefaces. Also, you should never go smaller than a font size of 11 or larger than 13.5.

Presenting a VERY LONG CV.

Our recruitment department receives hundreds (at times thousands) of applications on each job we publish on our job board. This is why we developed a system where we can scan & categorize applicants faster based on key information as presented in their CV. If yours is packed with long sentences and too much detail, chances are you may miss out. Explain your achievements precisely without too much detail. Present just enough to prove your worth and entice the recruiter to invite you for an interview.

You may ask, “what if I have a lot of experience that makes my CV too long?”

It is highly unlikely that all the experience you have gained overtime will be relevant to the particular job you are applying for. Imagine you have a masters’ degree with 8 years’ experience in human resource & administration but are applying for a job as a human resource manager for an oil and gas company in East Africa. Would your experience as a waitress at a fast food restaurant during your senior 6 vacation be relevant?

Adding too much detail to your resume would simply lengthen your CV without necessarily boosting your chance of getting the job

Generalized CV presentation

Sometimes the CVs we receive from job applicants present information that isn’t tailored to the job offer. Keep in mind that directly applying for a job from a specific listing is not the same as banking your CV for future consideration. When directly applying, you do not need to go through all of you previous experience. Choose aspects that match the job offer only or at least prominently.

Similarly, avoid using meaningless clichés in your CV. The most common phrases we see thrown around include “Can work excellently with a team”, “l have a can do attitude” and so on. These phrases are unnecessary because recruiters see them thousands of times over and you are better off explaining how the work you have been doing for your previous employer has been of benefit to them and how you will transfer this same efficiency to the new job.

Grammar! Grammar! Grammar!

A good number of CVs received by our recruitment team contain spelling or grammatical errors, and sadly these are often made by younger job seekers i.e. those aged between 21 and 27. You would expect that by the time students reach universities they would have good basic written skills, but the results show that this isn’t the case if their CVs were anything to go by.

For some it is a real problem of poor written communication skills but for the largest part, it is more to do with lack of concentration on the CV writing task. Even worse for the rest, it is a job of copy & paste gone wrong. Whatever the case may be, impression is everything and because the recruiter hasn’t met you yet, your written word is what will sell you; fail to sell yourself and you will miss the job

Have you been making some of these mistakes on your CV? They are probably why the job hunt hasn’t been going too well for you. Do share this article with your friends, they may benefit from these tips.

Good luck on your job hunt