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Jamie Lawrence


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New research highlights most common CV ‘mistakes’


Common CV mistakes and a lack of attention to detail are holding job hunters back, according to new research.

Close to 80% of advisers from the National Careers Service said that the most common mistake (more of a strategy really) was sending generic CVs to employers.

A further two-thirds (66%) said this mistake was most likely to prevent an applicant reaching the interview stage.

The research also found that 24% of job seekers questioned admitted to not tailoring their CVs for previous jobs, while 40% of unemployed people say failing to tailor their CV was a common error they made.

Other common CV mistakes highlighted by the careers advisers were a failure to highlight strengths (76%), CV length (65%) and spelling errors (61%).

A third of job seeking respondents were not aware of having made errors on their CVs.

Well over half (60%) of advisers suggest people spend an hour a week working on their CVs, while just 30% of job seekers actually do.

Joe Billington, Director of the National Careers Service, said: “Our advisers report a real careers void when it comes to writing CVs. People know that they are making mistakes, but not spending enough time on making sure their CV is fit for purpose.

“A CV is an applicant’s shop window and it’s vital that people spend at least an hour a week keeping their CV up-to-date and tailoring it for each application. With the right advice and support anyone can turn their CV from a careers void into a careers victory.”

The National Careers Service provides free impartial advice on career-related matters to anyone aged 13 and over in England.

The NCS survey questioned 196 advisers via SurveyMonkey, while the survey of jobseekers was conducted online in two waves, and sampled a random group of adults aged 18+ in England.

3 Responses

  1. How to write a good CV

    Article by Job Vacancies Sri Lanka

    Your CV is the single most important document when looking for a new job. It doesn’t matter how long it has taken for you to write. The person reading it will form an opinion within 5 seconds.

    Nowadays, job market has become extremely competitive over the years and it is this reason why you should focus extra attention on your CV.

    As well as grabbing the attention of your potential employer your CV has to impress him too. Youhave to show you have the necessary skills and competencies to do the job. It’s a lot to ask but all it takes is a few simple rules to make sure you produce a well presented accurate and concise CV that will give you every opportunity to secure an interview.

    Rule 1: Write it yourself

    It needs to represent you and the language you use. You will be expected to discuss the CV at an interview and a recruiter will definitely know when a CV is not your own.

    Best way to lay out a CV is to start with your name and contact details. Your date of birth is not necessary, neither are you nationality or your marital status.

    The big question now is what comes next? This is the critical part of the CV. Some people think a personal profile is the best way to make that positive impression. Sometimes it is but 9 times out of 10 personal profiles have the opposite effect so we think its best avoided all together.

    The most dynamic section of your CV is the section that charts your key achievements. Put it first; backup your achievements with compelling facts. Don’t just tell the reader you wrote and implemented an absence policy; tell them that you reduced sickness absence levels from 11% to 2.5% over a 1 year period

    Once you captured your reader’s interests they will want to know where you worked so your employment history comes next. Include job title and dates and put the most recent first. Also include a description of your duties and your responsibilities. Include precise details these will make your skills tangible.

    Then come’s your educational qualifications, again most recent first. Start with your most relevant professional qualification first then give the full title of your degree and then the summary of subjects and grades. These are followed by relevant training which comes in a separate section.

    The interest and hobbies section should not be under estimated keep away from boring clichés and show hobbies that can demonstrate a range of skills relevant to the job or transferable to a work place setting. If possible pick hobbies that will look out of the ordinary so you can stand out from the crowd.

    Rule 2: Keep it brief

    a good CV should not be longer than 2-3 pages. It should be informative but concise. Cut out any fancy complicated sentences, a good CV will highlight all your skills that are relevant to the job. Dispense those that are irrelevant and don’t over describe those that are left out. Something else that shouldn’t be mentioned at this stage is your current salary. We don’t need to mention referees yet either.

    Rule 3: Be truthful and accurate

    For example: declare breaks in service. If a break was due to redundancy, state this clearly. Also there is nothing wrong with giving your self-credit where credit is due but never exaggerate

    Rule 4: get the language right

    Keep your CV in the 3rd person where possible. As this helps to avoid beginning sentences repeatedly with “I”. Be aware of using the relevant tense throughout and always try to use the positive words that describe your skills confidently.

    Sri Lanka’s recruitment and employment experts says, it’s about half of all CV’s received by recruitment consultants contain spelling or grammatical errors spell checking is one way to look for errors but there are many words that slip through the net. The best type of spell check is to get a friend or a colleague to read it through.

    Rule 5: Add the finishing touches

    Your CV should be easy to ready and not cramped, to achieve this – the chosen font should be uniform throughout,all though the headings can be emphasized with size changes, bold lettering, underlining and italics. Font’s such as “Times New Roman” or “Ariel” with size 12 gives the CV a professional air. For a more interesting font consider “Georgia” or a more classy choice might be “Verdana”. Bullet point style should not be mixed and indenting should be consistent throughout.

    Like the “fourth bridge” the CV is never finished, it should always be kept up to date and of course tailored to every individual job opportunity that you applied for.

    By following these 5 simple cv writing rules

    1. Write it yourself
    2. Keeping it brief
    3. Being truthful and accurate
    4. Getting the language right
    5. Applying the finishing touches

    You will give yourself every opportunity to progress to the interview stage


  2. The empirical data?

    This wouldn't be yet another opinion piece, or is there evidence that different types of CV have been trialed and their success recorded? There is no perfect format, I'd advise that this holy grail is an echo of my naval officer travails in writing the perfect Minute. Each successive draft reviewed by Heads of Dept came back red-inked, until I would run out of time and submit whatever. The CO would give it up to 1 minutes thought before approving or thumbs-down (usually due to other factors of which I wasn't cognizant).

    If this is how we market ourselves, then why the dull format? Shouldn't it be full-colour, mixed fonts, columns emblazoned with balloons of pithy thoughts ? Read what eminent captains of industry are saying about the all NEWLY TRAINED candidate!!!!!

    1. With ever expanding digital

      With ever expanding digital world, Social media channels can be regarded as one of the massive influential communication platforms. It allows whole communities, businesses and individuals to engage with each other. In the year 2017, the incredible growth of the internet users in Sri Lanka has grown greater than 6 Million. Out of which, over 4 million are hunting the jobs through social media network.

      Finding the jobs through social media has made the millennial lives easier as majorities are actively searching jobs through internet. The fastest growing online recruitment platform like is massively advertising latest job openings on social media channels. use social networking channels like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Google + to attract more prospective candidates and directing those for the potential employers to get their job openings filled. As a leading recruitment platform in Sri Lanka, has identified the current trend of attracting the potential candidates. Therefore, as a fast-growing online recruiter, maintains an extensive social media network with thousands of employers and employees around in Sri Lanka. Using social networking channels are more important for job seekers as it helps them to get improved the collaboration and communication with the recruiters and professional employers.

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Jamie Lawrence

Insights Director

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