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CV preparation

CV myths versus realities

We’ve never come across anyone who enjoyed writing a CV but writing one will be a necessity at some point in your career. One of the difficulties people find is knowing what to include and what not to include. Added to this is trying to understand what the person reading your CV really wants to see in it.

To make things a little clearer, here are the top five CV myths debunked that we’ve have come across with candidates recently:

Myth: CVs aren’t even that important anymore.

Whilst it is true that a CV may not be the deciding factor between getting a job or not, it is the difference between getting an interview or not, and an interview is a gateway to a job offer. A common mistake is also that it is more about ‘who you know’. This will only get you so far, ultimately you still need to demonstrate ‘what you know’.

Reality: A CV is your first chance to make an impact.

Myth: A few grammar mistakes won’t make a difference.

Proofread, proofread and proofread again and then get someone else to proofread your CV. Spelling mistakes and grammar errors are never okay. These mistakes indicate that you lack attention to detail and given that most jobs require attention to detail, you’re not getting off to a good start. It also suggests that you rushed your CV and didn’t put a great deal of importance on the role that you are applying for.

Reality: Grammar counts.

Myth: A hiring manager won’t read anything longer than two pages.

If you are an experienced candidate, trying to cram everything on two pages will end up disadvantaging you. What a hiring manager doesn’t want is to read a CV filled with irrelevant information. Only include relevant information that is applicable to the role you are applying for. Whilst your two-week work experience 15 years ago may have been relevant 15 years ago, it probably isn’t now.

Reality: What’s key is that your CV is relevant and concise.

Myth: I need to make sure my CV stands out graphically.

If a hiring manager wants to see your design skills, they’ll ask for a portfolio. Other than that, they generally won’t care for graphics and borders and whether you can put your CV onto the back of a sweet packet.

Reality: Make it legible and unfussy.

Myth: If it’s on the job spec, it needs to be on my CV.

This goes for both technical and soft skills. Whilst listing your relevant skills, only note them if you can give real-life examples. It’s going to be a problem if you are asked about these in an interview and then can’t back them up with specific detail. This will also make your CV look quite generic. What will get you noticed more is your achievements.

Reality: Your achievements will be more impressive than a generic skill list copied from the job spec.

First impressions count, and your CV is often the first interaction you will have with a potential employer. A CV is only a door opener though, so make sure you are prepared to talk through your skills and experience in detail at an interview.