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8 CV mistakes that could ruin your career

Last updated on: March 04, 2014 21:25 IST
Aim for an error-free CV

Even a single spelling error could make you look bad before your employer.

In the digital age, while a lot has changed about the job search process, the one thing that hasn't changed is the need for a strong CV.

With a major part of the job search process taking place online today, you'll realise that a lot of the advice you may have received 10 years back may not be relevant now.

In today's competitive job market, you should be spending more time revising your CV rather than updating your Facebook profile picture.

Here are eight mistakes that might be ruining your CV and your chances of getting that job.

1. Spelling errors

You might think, 'Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has accidentally typed 'to' instead of 'two'.'

That is true, but sometimes you need to rise to the occasion and be better than everyone.

Employers want you to put your best foot forward.

If your best effort is filled with spelling errors, then that means your average effort is even worse.

A recent CareerBuilder survey found 28 per cent of employers would dismiss a CV with spelling mistakes.

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2. Ugly presentation

Last updated on: March 04, 2014 21:25 IST
Avoid chunks of text in your CV

Even the most skilled worker with an eloquent CV won't get called for an interview if the hiring manager does not want to actually read the CV.

Small font, blocks of text crammed together with no white space, no bold headings, fonts of different colours, etc can be a big put-off.

Make your CV easy on the eyes so people actually want to read it.

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3. Generic content

Last updated on: March 04, 2014 21:25 IST
Do not mass produce CV content; personalisation is the key

You're probably applying for several jobs, which is smart.

Just don't submit identical CVs to every employer unless the job description is identical.

The problem is that employers are looking for workers who match their specific needs and can bring experience and skills to the position on Day One.

If your CV is so generic to be applicable for a dozen different postings, then you are not grabbing anyone's attention.

That's probably why, according to a recent survey by CareerBuilder, 45 per cent of employers in India will ignore a CV with generic content.

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4. Lies

Last updated on: March 04, 2014 21:25 IST
Do not take your employer for granted.

Don't give yourself a fancier job title.

Don't claim you managed a team of 200 when it was really a team of three.

Don't list companies you never worked for.

Don't take credit for projects you never worked on.

Employers aren't dumb; they can spot lies.

Even if they don't catch your fibs, they will figure it out when they call your references or ask you interview questions that you cannot answer.

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5. No cover letter

Last updated on: March 04, 2014 21:25 IST
Don't forget to attach a cover letter

Technically, the cover letter is not part of the CV, but the two are inextricably connected.

Your CV paints a good portrait of you as a worker.

It lists your previous job titles, employers, and education background, but it does not give any insight into your personality.

It also doesn't answer any questions your CV might raise, such as gaps in employment or unclear job titles.

Almost a quarter (20 per cent) of employers in India won't even consider an application that doesn't have a cover letter attached to it.

Your cover letter is one way you can let your personality show and address any points of confusion on your CV.

You can go into more details and make clear connections between your CV and the job posting thus improving your chances of getting called in for an interview.

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6. Outdated information

Last updated on: March 04, 2014 21:25 IST
An outdated CV has a better chance of being rejected.

Yes, updating your CV is boring and sometimes hard, especially if you only update it when you're looking for a job.

Don't assume the CV you wrote two years ago -- or even two months ago -- will work.

Technology, industry terminology, and your skills have all changed and need to be reflected accurately.

Even the most basic information, such as your contact information might be outdated.

Handing over a CV with an expired telephone number is not going to make a great impression -- though you probably won't find out since your current phone will never ring.

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7. Too many pages

Last updated on: March 04, 2014 21:25 IST
Keep the information brief and under a page.

There is no firm rule on how long a CV should be, but a good rule of thumb is that one page is best, two is acceptable in some cases.

Beyond that, your work history and experience level should be really impressive if you're asking someone to scroll through more than two pages.

Give only the most pertinent information and leave out stuff that does not relate to the job.

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8. Meaningless words

Last updated on: March 04, 2014 21:25 IST
Demonstrate your skills with examples

You probably consider yourself one of the following: Motivated, a hard worker, detail-oriented, a team player, intelligent and experienced.

Great -- but what do those words mean?

Almost every other applicant describes himself or herself that way.

Don't waste the precious space on your CV with these words that don't tell the hiring manager anything.

Instead, include examples of accomplishment or projects that demonstrate these qualities.