Easily avoidable errors are common among CVs according to the results of a recent survey by specialist technical and engineering recruitment firm, NES Overseas.
The company, which places engineering personnel across the worldwide oil & gas, power and infrastructure sectors, has issued five top tips for maximising the impact of a CV:
1. Pay attention to the layout of your CV: Perhaps the most surprising finding from the survey was that 100% of respondents cited a poor layout as one of the most commonly occurring errors made by candidates make when composing their CVs. “Uniformity, clarity and flow of information are pertinent when you bear in mind that an employer only needs to look at a CV for a few second before deciding whether or not to continue reading it,” says Michael Wallace, recruitment manager NES Overseas. “Candidates should present information under clearly labelled sections, with education and employment history documented in reverse chronological order. Contact details should always be clearly visible at the top of the CV,” he adds.
2. Explain gaps in work history: Frequently encountered among CVs were gaps in work history, particularly due to international travel. Over three quarters of NES Overseas recruitment consultants said that this acted as a deterrent to clients and employers. Michael says: “People who leave gaps in their work history leave employers with no alternative but to question why they have done so. By explaining that you spent time traveling or had a career break, you will eliminate the need for this.
3. Check (and double-check!) for spelling and grammatical errors: In spite of wide agreement that spelling, punctuation and grammar must be perfect when writing a CV, over 60% of the recruitment consultants surveyed regularly encountered this type of error. “This leads us to conclude that applicants are either over-familiar with their own CVs having spent a lot of time compiling them, or are over-reliant on spell-checkers,” says Michael. “The simplest way to avoid submitting a CV containing these types of mistakes is to ask someone else to read over it – a fresh look from someone else is usually all it takes,” Michael concludes.
4. Extend the length of your CV if necessary: Being too concise was an error cited by more than half of all respondents to the survey.
5. Tailor your CV to a specific role: “Tailored CVs generate a much more positive response from employers than those which are mass-mailed in a standard format to a large volume of recipients,” says Michael. “It might appear to be more time-consuming to adapt your CV every time you apply for a job, but you will increase your chances of success if you can illustrate precisely how your skills and experience match the requirements of the role,” he concludes.