Don’t Hit Send: CV Mistakes that are Secretly Working Against You

Most tech pros understand that submitting a CV laced with typos is likely to turn off reviewers. In fact, recruiters cited spelling and grammatical errors as the top reason for rejecting an application in the latest Dice Job Market Report.

But could you be making other mistakes that are hurting your chances? If you’ve been busy with work, you may not have kept up with the latest trends or what employers are looking for when they review technical CVs.
To make it easier to create your next update, we asked several professional CV writers to share some of the most common mistakes they see tech pros make —and their advice for avoiding such blunders.

Disregarding Non-Technical Reviewers

Most people write their CV for just one audience, but tech pros need to please two very distinct groups: reviewers who understand technology and reviewers who don’t. Addressing the needs of both audiences increases your chances of landing an interview.

“Translate technical terms and jargon into language that non-technical reviewers can understand,” advised Andrew Fennell, owner and founder of StandOut CV. Then, emphasize the impact of your work, especially achievements that benefit end users and the company itself, because that’s something that everyone can understand.

“Ask a friend or non-technical colleague to review your CV,” Fennell added. “Do they understand the key points you are trying to make?” That’s the real litmus test.

Mentioning Everything You’ve Ever Done

You may be very proud of your accomplishments and a stickler for detail and completeness, but a five to 12 page CV simply won’t get read.

“Some tech pros mention every job responsibility they’ve ever had, every micro task,” explained Darren Manning, managing director of DJMRO. Since the sole purpose of a CV is to get you an interview – not a job – focus on high impact projects that are germane to the position you’re seeking and only the last 10 years of work experience.

If you’re worried that eliminating the names of older tools and programs could prevent your CV from getting through a company’s applicant tracking system, list them in a separate category within your technical skills word cloud.

Obscuring Vital Information

According to research by New College of the Humanities (NCH), recruiters spend an average of three minutes and 14 seconds reviewing a CV and 20 percent of employers have discarded a CV before they’ve finished reading it.

Despite this fact, some tech pros make reviewers hunt for significant skills and experience by placing it near the end of their CV. Listing in-demand technical skills near the top dramatically increases the chances of a recruiter noticing the information and requesting an interview.

 Using an Overly Complex Design

While inserting one or two charts or graphs into your CV can be an effective way to illustrate major achievements, overly cluttered designs utilizing multiple colors and fonts can draw attention away from the message you are trying to convey.

Clean, simplistic styles are more appropriate for professionals in scientific and technical fields. In fact, 13 percent of recruiters cited CV presentation as an important element in the Dice Job Market Report.

Not Quantifying the Impact of Your Work

As a rule, beginning CV writers tend to do too much telling when they should be showing. Using data to illustrate the size and scope of the projects you’ve worked on helps hiring managers picture the impact you’ve delivered.

After all, it’s not enough to have technical skills, it’s what you do with them that matters. Quantify your bullet points to show how your work has improved workplace efficiency, customer satisfaction, revenue growth and so forth.

Using Unsupported Adjectives

Presenting yourself as “hard working,” “bright,” “innovative” or a “team player” no longer works.

“These types of buzzwords have been so overused that they’ve become meaningless and won’t help you stand out,” Fennel said. “You’re better off using real life examples to make your point.”

Authenticate intangible traits by ensuring that your task, responsibility and accomplishment bullet points demonstrate the application of hard and soft skills. Better still, include quotes and recommendations from clients, colleagues and vendors.

Failing to Showcase Your Potential

Traditionally, a CV focuses on a tech pro’s prior accomplishments, but recent graduates or professionals with limited practical experience need to highlight their potential.

“Junior-level professionals need to showcase their aptitude and well roundedness,” explained Fennell. “Mention side projects and provide links to the websites or blogs you’ve created in your spare time as well as extracurricular activities that develop business and leadership skills.”

 Using Corporate Jargon

Corporate lingo, acronyms, names for proprietary programs or in-house software, after you’ve worked for a company for a while, these words seep into your own vocabulary and your CV.

“Use proper technical terms to describe your company’s core technical competencies,” Manning said. “If you don’t use recognizable terms, your CV will be overlooked by electronic scanning systems and reviewers.”

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published.