Tuesday, 25 May 2010

CVs - 10 basic mistakes to avoid

There is plenty of good advice around about the do’s and don’ts of creating first-rate CVs and resumes. The task is easier if you are applying for a specific job and can tailor your standard backgrounder accordingly. It’s not so straightforward if you are chasing employment on spec (speculation). As a department head for a British national newspaper, I was the target for many CVs and resumes from job hunters hoping to find a vacancy on my team. I was continually surprised by some of the basic mistakes I encountered. The following 10 things to avoid are relevant for all job applications whether for actual vacancies but particularly those on spec.

1. Before pressing ‘send’ make certain you are addressing your email to the right person. Do some detective work first. Phone your target company and try and establish just whom the right person is to send your email.

2. They are unlikely to read it if they are on holiday or off sick. If you can ascertain whether they are in the office.

3. Try and send your email around lunchtime. At the start and the end of the day hardworking executives are looking for any excuse to delete emails. You might be lucky and catch them when they are having a sandwich at their desk and are less pressured.

4. Do a trial run with a friend or relative to make sure your email system is functioning properly. There is nothing more irritating than being sent an attachment that hasn’t attached.

5. A silly email address isn’t cute. What might have once amused your college friends is going to turn off your prospective boss.

6. Read a good number of the excellent EzineArticles on how to create effective CVs and resumes – and the accompanying letter. My advice is keep it short and sweet. Try and stand out from crowd. If you went round South America on a donkey then say so.

7. Use your spellcheck. Incorrect spelling is sloppy and will sink your boat before it sets sail.

8. The same is true for bad grammar. Look out for those regular trip-ups - its and it’s; your and you’re.

9. Companies are fussy about titles. If you were an intern at The Acme Company, say so and not call it the Acme company.

10. Finally take rejection gracefully. Ask for career advice if you can in your reply. You might be told to try later in the year or even be given an inside tip as to who is hiring. Good luck.

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