Your CV: Getting it right:
Do no harm: Doctors take a vow to “Do no harm” when treating patients. Whatever investigations or tests they perform and, no matter what medicines they prescribe, they are always informed by the need to, at the very least, do no harm. And that’s one of the reasons patients trust them: doctors may not always cure you, but they will rarely harm you.
You should take the same approach with your CV: at a minimum your document should do no harm to your prospects of getting a job interview offer. It may not be the best CV in the world but as long as it does not actively harm your prospects, it will not cause you to crash and burn. So just how can your CV do you harm?
- By having grammatical errors and/or spelling mistakes. Don’t trust spell check (or your own re-reading) to find and correct errors. Get someone else to read your work carefully. Then check it again. Recruiters think of lazy, error-ridden language as a clear indication that your behavior as an employee will be similarly careless.
- By not keeping your CV up to date. CVs (as written documents) go out of date quickly. Keep yours up to date regarding your professional experience as well as industry trends. Re-writing your CV from time to time will keep it fresh in your mind and ensure that you “own it” when questioned on it at interview.
- Keep your CV focused on the job you are targeting. A shotgun approach just will not do. The phrase “I sent out my CV to a few (or a lot) of companies in my area” is very unlikely to do you any good and indeed may well do some you some harm. Recruiters want to see clearly how your particular skills and experience will match the job on offer – and that you have targeted. A CV with “here’s one I baked earlier” written all over it will not do.
- Lastly, if you are not getting any replies from employers, check that your contact information is included on your CV. Obviously, if it is not there (that happens from time to time) it will do you a great deal of harm.