CV writing can be confusing at times – we know this because we set up this site to help people like you. However, if you know the basic rules you can avoid the big mistakes. Here, we give you 10 Commandments of CV writing…
1. Thou shalt not make spelling or grammar mistakes
The first on our 10 commandments of CV writing: spelling and grammar mistakes! So why is it so bad to make spelling and grammar mistakes? Because to some they make look you illiterate, to others, someone who has poor attention to detail. The best way to avoid language mistakes, whether English or another language, is to proofread and edit your documents before sending them off!
2. Thou shalt not write a long CV
Long CVs are difficult to read. Not many people have the time for them. So, make your CV as concise and as clear as possible. Use short sentences and bullet points to highlight your skills, achievements and expertise. If you have many years of experience that make it impossible to reduce your CV to two or three pages, then only write about the last 10 or 15 years. For the last roles, you can just list the titles and companies.
3. Thou shalt not use a generic CV
Generic CVs are hated by recruitment agencies and hiring managers. To them, it gives the signal that you are not interested in this particular job, but rather that you are applying for a lot of jobs and this is just one of them.
Also, by using a generic CV you lose the chance to tailor your CV to the job specification and description. This means, you could quite possibly send a CV that’s irrelevant to the role you applied for because you haven’t tailored your CV using keywords.
4. Thou shalt not use hard to read font or size
Don’t use “fancy” or “different” fonts and sizes. You may think they will make your CV standout, but they don’t! They make it difficult to read and your CV will be discredited. Common front sizes to use are Calibri, Arial and Times New Roman. As for size, it’s best to go with size 11 or 12.
5. Thou shalt not exaggerate my experience or skills
By exaggerating your experience or skills, you place yourself in a situation where you have a knowledge gap, and as a result you will not be able to answer certain questions when interviewed.
If you do actually manage to get the job after you exaggerated or lied, you can still find yourself in situations where you are asked to perform certain tasks but aren’t able to. Avoid awkward moments by telling the truth!
6. Thou shalt not include a picture
Pictures are so outdated for so many reasons. For one, many recruiters now use an applicant tracking system (ATS) which screen CVs before they are sent to the recruiter. The ATS does not read pictures or graphics, so the CV is forwarded to the recruiter. Secondly, they can sometimes cause age and race discrimination.
7. Thou shalt not include personal details
By this we mean certain personal details. You should include your name, first and last, your email address, telephone number and location. However, you shouldn’t include other personal details such as your date of birth, your marital status and full home address. Once you are employed you can give these details to the company.
8. Thou shalt not use long sentences and paragraphs
Long sentences and paragraphs are difficult to read. Recruiters don’t have the time to read them. To avoid having your CV rejected, we such you use shorter sentences and bullet points. Use bullet points to list your achievements, experience and skills.
9. Thou shalt not use too many colours
If you use a lot of colours your CV can come across unprofessional. Stick to one or two colours. Avoid bright colours like yellow, orange and pink.
10. Thou shalt not use Curriculum Vitae as title
Do not write CV as your title, or anywhere on your CV. It is not necessary as recruiters and hiring managers already know what the document is called.
Use your name as the title and your professional title as your subheading.