People make quick judgments about who you are within the first few moments of meeting you. They do the same thing with your CV. It’s important to think about whether this potential door opener is making the best possible first impression. Apart from the obvious things - like spelling or grammatical errors - you need to be aware of more subtle resume turnoffs. Here are four common mistakes:
- There’s not enough “white space.” Your CV is a visual interpretation of you and your professional background. You want it to look clean-cut and professional. A resume that’s crowded with text doesn’t look attractive. If you’re not adept at graphic design, ask a creative friend for help with format, style, and layout.
- Your resume is too long. You have to sell your experience quickly. The standard resume format is around three pages. Confidently articulating your latest job experience means not detailing the minutiae of past jobs that do not further your career aspirations. Particularly for those who have spent years in the work force, it’s important not to be hung up on what you did as ‘shop assistant May – June 1996’. In a few sentences, they want to know what you are doing now.
- You didn’t include positive financial language. Hiring managers want to know what you can contribute to the firm. Your resume should be clear about the results you’ve achieved. Let’s say you introduced a new client resulting in a 10% increase in fees for the year. Instead of writing “Created an excellent marketing campaign for new business”, include the words “resulting in.” Highlight the positive financial results of your employment.
- You don’t sound confident enough. Your CV is a time for you to showcase your positives. If you have received a glowing reference from an employer or a client, include it on the resume. If you or your team is mentioned in the Legal 500 or Chambers, highlight it. Have someone you respect read your resume, and tell you candidly whether you sound confident. Try to avoid sounding arrogant.