Writing a strong CV that will make you stand out from the crowd is a bit challenging.
Let me give you my personal experience about writing my own CV; I struggled. I had numerous drafts, passed it around to friends and colleagues for proof-reading and reviewing, attended CV writing workshops, and researched professional CV writers to ask for tips and advice just like what Bayt.com offers. One of the lessons I learned was that everything varies in the job worked and you’ll never have one CV that fits all job posts.
Looking back at my first attempts of creating a CV, I would say it was an absolute disaster and no wonder why I wasn’t chosen then when I applied for jobs. In fact, rejection emails were bombarding me. Now, I know my CV was filled with unnecessary information that didn’t give the employer any positive impression about how I could’ve been an asset to them. A CV can truly make or break the job search.
While you are job haunting, you will always need to pick and choose what information to include and play around with how they are presented so that they become more specific to the job post. You also need to find out what are some of the keywords that an applicant tracking system or a recruiter will look for. In brief, an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) is an electronic system that handles recruitment needs. If an ATS can’t interpret through your CV well, then your chances of being chosen are low, even if you’re qualified. ATS finds, screens and ranks candidates automatically using keywords from the job description or the employer’s search query.
Think about what you can do to attract the initial attention of the recruiter and to avoid the “not qualified” CV pile.
If you want to keep the recruiter who’s reading your CV interested for more than two seconds, then you need show them what you are actually capable of. This means every section of your CV should be thoughtfully constructed, and every word chosen cautiously.
However, there are a few things that should actually never be on any CV. So, let’s grab that red pen and start scratching things out of your CV.
1. A Vague Objective
The fact that you have applied for that particular job makes it obvious which position you’re looking for. Objectives usually take up valuable CV space that could be used to add more important and relevant information. A generic objective like “my objective is to expand my skills” or “to support a growing company” is often pointless and won’t distinguish you. Instead, I would recommend adding a short summary that will tell the readers what is your current position and exactly how or why you intend to be an added asset to the position you are applying for.
2. A Silly E-mail Address
What I mean by a silly e-mail address may not be what you are currently thinking of. Using an e-mail address that is simple and professional will be on your side. Forget those e-mail addresses from high school or college days were you had the coolest nickname or secret codes. Also, if you are currently employed and searching for a new job, never use your current work email address. Always use your own personal e-mail address.
3. Irrelevant Work Experience
Keep your CV focused to the job you are applying for. Managers are looking for proofs that you can do the job through your CV. Impress the person who is assessing you by only including relevant experiences in your CV. Having work experience in other fields or jobs have probably helped you gain more skills in a way. But, unless these skills are clearly related to the job you are applying for, then you are just wasting some space. Include all experiences that will reflect on the position you are applying for and truly showcase your potential.
4. The third-person voice
The easiest way to sound like arrogant or out-of-touch is to write your CV in the third person. It’s just weird when you say “Ahmed raised $60,000 for the organization”. Don’t do it. Your CV has your name and contact information at the top of the page, so the person reading through your CV will know that you are the person who did all the things written in there. Don’t use first person either. Instead, you can say “Raised $60,000” or “Managed a team of research assistants to do x and y”.
5. Extra pages
Keep an eye on the page numbers. CV’s should be no longer than one page for fresh graduates, two if you are in a managerial role with several years of experience. Senior candidates have a bit more leeway in this.
The page count will automatically limit you from adding any unnecessary information and will encourage you to be straight to the point in your language. No matter what experience you have, employers and recruiters don’t normally have the time to go over three pages of the tiny-teeny details of your accomplishments. Managers won’t be excited to read your history of jobs all the way from college until today.
You have other important things and accomplishments that are related to the job and you are worried that there isn’t enough space? Remember, you can get more detailed in your cover letter, through an interview, or if the manager really wants to know more, they’ll find out.
6. Poor Formatting
This is one thing I will tell you to keep watching for no matter how many CVs you’ve written. Format your CV professionally. The fancy, cursive font types won’t necessarily land you your dream job, and neither will the charts, figures and tables. In fact, they might even lower your chances.
Keep some white space and make your CV comfortable to the reader’s eye. Never use colors in the text body, stick to black.
Proof-reading your CV for grammatical mistakes sounds like a given, but you’d be surprised by how many errors and typos we still find today.
Tips on how to avoid typos: First, read your CV backwards, starting with your last sentence till you reach your name at the top. Second, read it out loud; it’ll help you see the words and sentences clearly. Third; give it to others to go over it. Run it by your friends or family as they might find some mistakes that you overlooked.
Building a CV isn’t an easy thing, especially for fresh graduates and young job seekers. I know it feels impossible to write down your entire life story in one page and give the reader a “hire me” tone. Hiring managers and recruiters spend less than 30 seconds to screen your CV, so make sure you take their perspective into consideration when writing your CV. Did you know that Bayt.com offers CV writing services?! They can help you right away!
By Haneen Kawar
This article originally appeared in Bayt.com. This article and all other intellectual property on Bayt.com is the property of Bayt.com. Reproduction of this article in any form is only permissible with written permission from Bayt.com.
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