Tag Archive: CV


Adapted and taken from:  The Daily Muse Editor.  You can follow them on:  Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn

You put so much thought into what should go on your resume—from your best, most impressive accomplishments down to the perfect, classy-but-modern font.  But to make sure all that effort is put to good use, it’s just as important to pay attention to what shouldn’t be on there. From overused buzzwords that make you look just like everyone else to “creative” touches that do more harm than good, there are plenty of resume elements that annoy—and even turn off—recruiters. And because we want your resume at the top of the pile, we’ve pulled them all together in one complete guide.

For the best chances of landing that interview, grab your resume and make sure it’s free and clear of these 45 things.

Formatting
1. A Career Objective: That boring boilerplate “I am a hard working professional who wants to work in [blank] industry” is a bit obvious—why else would you be submitting your resume?—and takes up valuable space. Instead? Make it crystal clear why you’re so interested in each specific position you’re applying to in your cover letter.

2. A Skills-Based Format: Current recruiter wisdom says to stick with the good old reverse chronological (where your most recent experience is listed first) in almost every occasion. If your most recent experience isn’t what you want to highlight or you’re re-entering the workforce after a long hiatus, top your resume with an “Executive Summary” section that outlines your best skills and accomplishments, or create two experience sections: One specific one, such as “Business Development Experience” or “Editorial Experience,” followed by a more general one.

3. Photos or Other Visuals: A recent study showed that “such visual elements reduced recruiters’ analytical capability and hampered decision-making” and kept them from “locating the most relevant information, like skills and experience.”

4. Mega Blocks of Text: Studies show that recruiters look at resumes pretty quickly—a minute at best, the blink of an eye at worst—so your goal is to make yours as easy to skim as possible. That means keeping your text short and sweet, and in bullet points, not block text.

5. A Second Page: If you have less than 10 years of experience, having more than one page can be a deal-breaker for some recruiters. So why risk it? And with a little formatting prowess, we promise you can get it down to one page.

6. All Those Fonts: Stick with one—maybe two, if you have some design skills. Any more than that and you risk the hiring manager getting distracted.

7. Orphan Words: (They’re those single words left on a line by themselves.) Instead, see how you can edit the previous line so they can fit—making your resume look cleaner and opening up extra lines for you to fill with other things.

8. “References Available Upon Request:” At worst, it makes you look presumptuous, and even at best, you can use the extra space to add a detail about your abilities or accomplishments.

Personal Details
9. Your Address: If you’re not local, recruiters might not look any further. And if you are? Recruiters may take your commute time into account and turn you down if they think it would be too long, explains AvidCareerist.

10. Your Work Email Address: (And, yes, we see it happen all the time.) Do you really want your future employer to know that you’re job searching on your employer boss’ time and email server?

11. Your “Creative” Email Address: (And yes, we see this happen, too.) “I can’t actually share any here without giving away someone’s personal contact info,” says Ryan Galloway of The Hired Guns. “I will say, however, that if you’re a grown person applying for a Director of Marketing gig, the word “Belieber” has no place in your email address.”

12. Your “Creative” Hobbies: As recruiter Jenny Foss of JobJenny puts it, “Unless you are applying for jobs that will specifically value these interests (or they’re flat-out amazing conversation starters), leave them off. Decision makers will judge the heck out of you if they spot hobbies that fly in the face of their own personal beliefs or seem odd.”

13. Your Birthdate, Marital Status, or Religion: Since it’s illegal for employers to consider this when looking at your application (at least in the U.S.), they can’t request it (and offering it makes you look a little clueless).

Work Experience and Education
14. A Regurgitation of Your Job Description: In most cases, recruiters care less about what you did day to day (like answer phones and email) and more about what you accomplished over time (like increased customer satisfaction 20%). Here are a few tips for turning your duties into accomplishments.

15. Bullet #8: As a rule, stick to just 6-7 bullets for each section—even if each accomplishment is seriously killer, the recruiter’s probably not going to get through them all.

16. Positions Irrelevant to Your Current Job Goals: Unless you need it to fill a gap on your resume or showcase your skills, there’s no law that says you have to include your six months at Burger Shack on your resume.

17. “Unpaid:” Who needs to know whether your internship was paid or not? If you got great experience, let that stand on its own.

18. Your Parenting Experience: If you took time out of the workforce to raise kids, don’t list your parenting experience on your resume, à la “adeptly managed the growing pile of laundry” (we’ve seen it). “While parenting is as demanding and intense a job as any out there, most corporate decision makers aren’t going to take this section of your resume seriously,” says Foss.

19. Your GPA: Unless you’re applying to a management consulting job, or you’re coming straight out of college (and it’s amazing). Even then, it might be better to simply include any academic accolades (like graduating summa cum laude) than the actual number.

20. Your Graduation Year: Recruiters only really want to know that you got a degree, and you don’t want them to inadvertently discriminate based on your age.

21. Anything High School-Related: Unless you’re a year out of college, really need to bulk up your resume, and did something highly relevant (and awesome) during your high school years, no need to include it on your resume.

22. Skills That Everyone Has (or Should): Think Microsoft Word and “the internet.”

Specific Words
23. Unnecessarily Big Words: Why “utilize” when you can “use?” especially when the former takes up more precious space on your resume. “Run the ‘would I ever say this in real life?’ test on every phrase and sentence in your resume,” says Foss. “If you find words or statements that don’t read like something you’d say? Change ’em up.”

24. Industry Jargon or Buzzwords: You might know what GIA requests are, but the executive, assistant, or even recruiter first reading your resume might not. Make sure everything you include is understandable to the average person.

25. Words With a Negative Connotation: Even if you mean them in a positive way, like “met aggressive sales goals,” research has shown that words like problem, mistake, and fault can have a negative impact on a recruiter’s perception of you.

26. Vague Terms: (Think professional, experienced, and people person.) They’re chronically overused, and we bet there’s a better way to describe how awesome you are. (Need help? Here are a few great cliché-free ways to show off your soft skills.)

27. Any of the Words in CareerBuilder’s Survey of Resume Words Recruiters Hate: Seriously, why annoy them right out of the gate? The list is topped with “Best of breed,” and followed by:

28. Go-getter

29. Think Outside of the Box

30. Synergy

31. Go-to Person

32. Thought Leadership

33. Value Add

34. Results Driven

35. Team Player

36. Bottom Line

37. Hard Worker

38. Strategic Thinker

39. Dynamic

40. Self Motivated

41. Detail-oriented

42. Proactively

43. Track Record

And OK, Because We Had To
44. Typos: But don’t rely on spell check and grammar check alone—ask family or friends to take a look at it for you (or get some tips on how to edit your own work).

45. Anything That’s Not True: Just, don’t. If you’re not sure you have the experience to qualify for your dream gig, don’t manufacture it—go look for ways to get it.

Some Basic Interview Advice

When it comes to hiring staff, there are a number of signs that are incredibly important to pay attention to but are often missed. Here are some interview tips to help you as a hiring manager learn more about the person you are interviewing than meets the “CV”.

Make them comfortable.
It’s a person’s job to sell themselves to you when interviewing for a position. It’s your job to understand though who they really are and to cut through the sales pitch as quickly as possible. One of the best ways to do that is to make them as comfortable as possible by creating a very casual environment and acting like the interview is no big deal.
You might be interested in a candidate based solely on their previous experience, but that doesn’t mean they are a fit for your team. Keep the questions coming, they should be able to talk at length about nearly anything and keep you engaged. If getting them to freely answer questions is like pulling teeth, the interview is over. Don’t waste your time or theirs. You can learn a lot about motivation and work ethic from their backgrounds and past experience.

Find out if they need to work and be successful to live? You don’t want to hire a person who doesn’t have to work, as their ‘need’ is non-existent. You do want to hire people who have the drive and passion for success, particularly when their failure means that they can’t pay rent.

Don’t go through their CV in front of them.
Sit back in your chair and casually chat for at least ten minutes about their non-working background. Ask simple follow-up questions to their responses and you will be amazed what people will openly divulge when they get comfortable. One can go through work related past experience after you have gotten them comfortable.

Now make them Uncomfortable.
Ask them direct and pointed questions about the wealth of information you just gathered from their rambling. Do not be abusive, but don’t hesitate to be abrupt and even interrupt them to throw them off track.

There are two reasons for this: The first is to put them on the spot and get honest answers about their past and abilities, the second is to see how they operate when they’re under pressure and flustered.

by Tom Byrne

An Interview is the best opportunity you will have to gather information and market yourself to a prospective employer. Invest a few minutes in reviewing these tips for a successful interview outcome.

1. You’re on stage from the moment you get in the parking lot. From this point on, anyone whom you run into, smile, look them in the eye, and be pleasant. Be nice to the receptionist/secretary and be courteous to everyone, even if you’re in a rush. Don’t be short …you’d be surprised how much influence they can have in the hiring process.

2. You are interviewing them too. Not only do you want to identify 2 or 3 three qualifications in your background to bring forward, but you also need 2 or 3 things that are important to you about the potential working environment. Spend 15-20 minutes prior to the interview to plan your questions.

3. Don’t assume they have done a thorough review of your resume/background. Be sure to bring a copy of your resume with you. It’s your job to convey your strengths. Choose 3 things that match up well with their environment and convey those on the interview. If things turn out to be different that you expected, you need to be flexible.

4. You may be asked about your short and long term goals. Keep your goals realistic and along the lines of the things they’re looking for. For example, if you want to own your own company, you might not want to mention that on the interview. Make your goals pertinent to the interview and the work environment.

5. Try to draw comparisons to previous work experiences. A good way to answer questions is with real world experiences. For example, take a project you’ve recently completed and apply the experience to the company’s current challenges.

6. Think before you answer. Always be sure you understand the question before you begin to answer. If you’re unsure about what they’re trying to ask you – which happens a lot in technology because it’s so complex – check for understanding by asking them to explain what they’re looking for.

7. Rating questions are tricky. When you are asked to rate yourself, don’t give yourself the highest rating. Say “I feel good about my skills but there is always something new to learn – I’m sure I could learn something from you.” Always qualify your example with real world experiences.

8. Body language is vital to the interview and accounts for over 50% of the message. A firm handshake, positive body alignment, and good eye contact are vital for a successful interview. You’ve probably talked to someone who will not look you in the eye; they make you uncomfortable and you wonder what they are hiding. Make sure to maintain eye contact with everyone in the room – it also shows active interest.

9. Personal questions – don’t ask any!  If they ask you (where you live, etc)…it is professional business etiquette to answer the question, as you will be building rapport, but always let the interviewer open the door first.

10. In closing, before you leave, ask them “Based upon our interview, is there anything lacking in my background that would prevent me from getting this position?” This gives you one last chance to overcome any issues – no one can explain it better than you. Plus, it gives you a chance to turn a negative into a positive. Lastly, do not bring up salary! If they ask you what you are currently earning then tell them. If they ask you what you are looking in salary tell them that you are negotiable. Let your recruiter handle the salary negotiations for you. Thank them for their time and if interested in the position…. make sure to let them know it before you leave.

The Truth about Covering Letters

Should you submit a covering letter with each application to an advertised job?  The answer is – that it depends.  If the job specifically requests a cover letter, then the answer is obvious.  However, if there is no request, rather spend your time and effort tailoring your CV for the position you are applying for.

The truth is that most recruiters or hiring managers don’t read the cover letter.  They focus the bulk of their time reviewing your CV.  Although, on the other hand, there are some instances when cover letters are useful.  Cover letters can be a good litmus test of a candidate’s writing abilities if the position calls for strong written communication skills.

If you wish to submit a covering letter, you should keep it brief and to the point. This is what you should focus on:

The position you’re applying for.

Make sure you mention the position title and where you saw the posting.

The top two or three qualifications you bring to the position.

Again, you don’t need to summarize your entire resume in the cover letter. Succinctly talk about a few skill sets or accomplishments that would be an asset to the job in a few bullet points.

Why your skills are a fit for the position.

This is your opportunity to say in a few short sentences what you bring to the table and show you understand something about the role.

Your interest in speaking with someone further about the position.

Let the reader know you’d appreciate the opportunity to speak with them personally about the role and your qualifications. Make certain to include your phone number so the reader knows where to reach you.

An offering of thanks to the reader for his/her time and consideration.

Manners go a long way in the consideration process. So follow your mother’s advice and always say thank you.

Article adapted from Yolanda Owens blog post, dated 10 September 2012

First impressions are important when it comes to job seeking, and an email address can make quite a first impression. Often times, the email address is the first thing a hiring manager sees – before even seeing your name! Before you send out your next resume, consider what your email address alone might say about you. Do you “appear” professional?

As most job applications are sent via email these days, your email address alone can play a huge role into whether or not your resume is opened. I have heard numerous stories from hiring managers about applications getting tossed simply because of someone’s email address. Often times, email addresses at face value appear to be spam and are never even opened. Email addresses like “sexykitten0007” or “bigmuscles”, for example, might be automatically filtered into a spam folder by an email server because of word content.

The good news is that hiring managers are quite straightforward in what they believe makes up an “unprofessional” or unappealing email address. While it may sound harsh that most hiring managers critique email addresses, it does happen because they do create a first impression. Below are 7 deadly email sins to make sure to stay away from so you don’t end up in the “unprofessional” pile.

Wrong Name: John_smith@….com (when your real name is David Jones)

Don’t confuse the reader from the start! Is your name John Smith or David Jones? There is no reason to have the hiring manager ask this type of question at the start of your resume.

Fantasy Name: Invisibleman@….com

Are you applying for a job or are you auditioning for a video game?

Creepy Name: collegestrangler@….com

Given the fact that over 80% of companies now run background checks on potential employees, there is no reason to give an employer the impression that you may have a criminal record.

Sportsperson: tigerwoods50@….com

This might have been ok when you were in high school, but not in the workplace.

The numbers: 998877665544@….com

Confusing! You are just asking for someone to send an email to the wrong place.

The Crude Name: hairychest@….com

Not a good first impression. Also, many of these email addresses contain words that will usually get filtered into the spam folder

Confess love email address: bonjovilover@….com

Again, you are applying for a job, not a role as a groupie.

So…what should you do? Stick to the basics. The best email addresses will contain your full or partial name, followed by either characters or numbers. Think about how most workplace email addresses are set up – most of them contain a combination of an employee’s first and last name. Try to mimic this – a professional email address represents a professional job candidate. Don’t give your reader the wrong impression!

Resources: CV preparation

CV Preparation Advice

“You might be surprised to know that you only have between 5-10 seconds at the most to impress and be shortlisted. In those 5-10 seconds, it is not necessarily the most qualified person who will be put in the shortlist pile, but it is the one who is the best at being able to get noticed by his or her CV. This requires a combination of good content and attractive appearance.”

“Employers do not have the time to spare working out what your CV is trying to tell them. You must communicate clearly and concisely the information that you wish to convey about yourself that will be of relevance to them. As a potential employee you are far more attractive if you can convince the employer that you have the qualities they require. Think about what particular employers want, and how you fit the bill.”   http://www.europa-pages.com/jobs/cv.html

Points which I thought were exceptionally important to consider:  Convince the employer that you will be an asset to their company. Prepare lists of your skills and achievements . They will normally cover the following areas:

  • Education and qualifications – mention name of institution, qualification and year achieved.
  • Work experience – list skills gained. Mention any accomplishments. Show evidence of any leadership skills.
  • Extra-curricular activities – positions of responsibility, membership of a sports team. Use your interests to say something of interest about yourself.
  • General skills – for example; driving licence, languages spoken, computer skills.

PLANNING AND DRAFTING

Now you’ve worked out what you’ve got to offer, it’s time to think about how to present it. This is crucial to the impact and success of your CV. Bare in mind the following:

  • Avoid wordy CVs – use bullet points, keep your sentences short.
  • Make sure your grammar and spelling are correct.
  • Don’t use small or creative  fonts that make it difficult to read your CV.
  • Don’t write in capitals.

WRITING A COVERING LETTER

The covering letter must be tailored to each job opportunity and individual company.

As with your CV a letter should be brief, relevant, easy to read, with the spelling and grammar carefully checked.

Lastly: Visit www.mycvbuilder.com to “Figure out why your CV gets trashed”.  The site provides a very honest review from a recruiter’s perspective.

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