CV mistakes you’re making and how to fix them

April 24, 2017
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Resumes and cover letters are the most important elements that can make or break your chances for getting a job. Anyone can have a resume, but it takes time to produce a bomb-ass resume that will highlight your glowing attributes in the best, most professional way. To help you out, I’ve compiled a list of cover letter and resume mistakes I’m sure many of you are probably making, and how to fix them.

Mistake 1: Making your resume more than one page

Employers look at hundreds of resumes each week, so aim to keep your resume on one page so they have the important and relevant information right away to help them assess your qualifications. Your resume should be a short, clear summary of your professional experience and skills.

How to fix it

Believe it or not, you can fit a lot of information on one page with the right formatting and spacing. Use clear headings to make it easy to read.  Include only your most relevant experiences and skills, don’t list every single thing you’ve done!

Mistake 2: Bullet points are too vague

The bullet points under each experience are your chance to show employers what you’ve accomplished in previous roles and a chance to prove how different and great you are from the rest. Vague bullet points such as “performed great customer service” will be over looked.

How to fix it

Include strong action verbs in your resume that make you sound like a smart cookie such as “coordinated”, “developed”, “implemented” and “managed”. It’s also great to include specific results and numbers to demonstrate your successes. What I’m trying to say is don’t be afraid to toot your own horn!

Mistake 3: Using the same resume/cover letter for everything

Most of us have generic resumes that we use to apply for every job or internship. But to really stand out from the rest, it’s important to tailor your resume for each position you apply for.

How to fix it

Take the time to delete from your resume some of the accomplishments that are not really relevant for this job and personalise your cover letter by addressing the specific skills outlined in the job description. Employers will know it’s specifically for them and not another generic cover letter.

Mistake 4: Wrong formatting

This may seem like an insignificant thing, but if your resume is not formatted correctly, you can basically count on your employer saying, “Oh forget it!”

When digitally sending a resume (and let’s be honest everyone applies online these days) don’t save it as a word document. It could result in formatting changes when the recruiter opens the file on their own computer.

How to fix it

When sending your resume to an employer, save it as a PDF using a very specific file name like: LastNameFirstNameResume. This appears more professional, and makes life easier for recruiters who sift through and save hundreds of resume per day.

Mistake #5: Typos (duh)

Obviously your resume and cover letter needs to be grammatically perfect. If it isn’t, employers are going to think you’re lazy, don’t care enough to proof read or you’re just plain stupid.

How to fix it

After you’ve proof read it yourself, get someone else (preferably someone with excellent grammar skills) to edit it for you. Sometimes other people will pick up the smallest of errors that you overlooked. It also helps to read what you wrote out loud to make sure it makes sense.

Sophie Nicolas

Sophie is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts and is an aspiring writer, dog enthusiast and thrift shop fashion icon.

Image: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt official Facebook page