Top 10 CV Mistakes

One of my favourite slides in the CV workshop presentation I deliver on a regular basis to postgraduates and postdoctoral researchers (but which applies to all CVs) is what NOT to do. This negative, cautionary information can sometimes be more effective than the postive CV ‘Do’s’. Here are my Top 10 ‘Don’ts‘ for writing an effective CV:

1.       Too Long
Unless you have reached a very senior level, two pages are normally adequate for your CV (you can add extra information such as publications in an appendix).
2.       Disorganised
The information should be laid out logically and consistently.
3.       Untargeted/generic
You always need to match your CV to the job description.
4.       Misspellings, typing Errors, poor Grammar
There is no excuse for these errors and may be the reason why your CV is deselected by an employer.
5.       Too many irrelevancies
Don’t include irrelevant information – it gives the impression you are not informed about the job and haven’t taken the time to target your application.
6.       Too Sparse  
Don’t undersell yourself. Make sure you include all relevant information and avoid gaps in your experience.

7.       Misdirected 
This gives the impression you are using a CV which you have already used for another job.
8.       Not Oriented for Results 
The aim of a CV is to get you to interview – make sure it conveys enthusiasm and commitment.
9.       Overwritten
Too much information in a small font with thin page margins can be overwhelming and difficult to read.
10.   No covering letter
As a rule, all CVs should be accompanied by a one-page covering letter setting out why you are interested in this job and the key skills and experience you possess which match the job requirements.

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