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Ten CV/resume mistakes that will cost you a Job

By Annie Macias Subscribe to RSS | January 13th 2012 | Views:

Your CV: Ten Things They'll hate about you

1. Too long: unless you're told otherwise, never exceed 1-2 pages. The reader's life is just too short, and you'll sound cumbersome even if your lengthy material is relevant. At OneLeap, we limit people to 400 words - and they get much better replies as a result.

2. Too geeky: Unless you're after an academic or research position, and you've won an obscene number of awards, don't make more than 1/3 of page 1 about your academics. Degree and any distinctions, yes. Key papers if they're directly relevant, maybe. But you don't summarise every paper you've ever done unless they ask.

3. Too buzz-word: Yes businesses do use buzzwords like "passionate about" but they usually do it because they're tired. Beginning your CV with a mission statement that uses them suggests you're belong in an Episode of The Office.

4. Too generic: Ask one of your friends to read your CV, minus your name, and say it's a friend's who has asked you too look over it for them (you should be so lucky). If they don't twig that it's you neither will the recruiter. People often use their OneLeap profile as their CV. And the less generic, the better the searches - on OneLeap or via Google.

5. Too poetic: Imagine the Daleks said "substantiate" instead of "exterminate." If you did something say what the result was. Don't just claim magnificent abilities to communicate. Instead try "designed Facebook campaign that attracted 10,000 likes." Better.

6. Too stupid: Wrong name in cover letter, wrong company when you're writing masses of applications, worng spelling. If it looks sloppy it is. Control+F is your friend. Think of what you could have said by mistake (e.g. wrong gender pronoun or company name) and do a quick final check.

7. Too boring: if you're asked to describe yourself in 100 words make it interesting. Treat adjectives with tongs. Best, strongest, etc isn't credible anyway. Use plenty of specific nouns to describe what you did and why it made a difference.

8. Too full: CVs get skimmed in seconds. Keep to an 11 point minimum. Leave lots of white space. Without it people will give up.

9. Too weak: Be bold - not too bold - but use bold (and if the industry you're applying for is creative enough, other visual devices) to make your super-star points stand out. That way if your reader is skimming (which s/he will be) they won't miss you.

10. Too Accounting OR Too Ad Agency: It should be self evident but different industries have very different CV expectations. If you're applying across multiple industries you will need to do more than tweak your CV. Find out what's right by getting hold of the CV of someone successful in that industry. If you don't have a contact to ask, google for a CV - someone will have the ego to post it online.

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Annie Macias - About Author:
Hamish Forsyth is co-founder of OneLeap allows users to send messages guaranteed to get attention and has helped countless job-seekers, entrepreneurs and business development professionals get the contacts they need.

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