Avoid these common CV and resume mistakes!

Man commenting as another man writes resume (© AP Images)
A training specialist offers advice to a job seeker at a resume-building seminar in Arizona. (© AP Images)

Pity the poor job recruiter who has to sort through an inbox that is usually overflowing with applications from would-be employees. If you are one of the hundreds or even thousands of people competing for the same position, you will need your resume or curriculum vitae (CV) to stand out from the others. In most cases it is a recruiter’s first impression of you, so a well-written and well-coordinated document is your only chance to get your foot in the door.

Tom LeaMond is a career consultant at Devex, a business and recruiting organization that focuses on global development. In a webinar, he offered some helpful tips that many job candidates overlook in their efforts to impress future employers.

  • Remember that the top of the page where you list your summary and key qualifications is the most important section, since it will determine if the reviewer wants to read more. Be sure to include job-specific keywords and phrases that match the position description.
  • Use bullet points in the sections where you describe your job experience, in a manner that LeaMond called the CAR (context + action + results) approach. For example, “Led team of five direct reports in a previously underperforming office. After six months, our office achieved the fastest growth rate in the organization.”
  • Give a professional-sounding email address as your means of contact (for example, [email protected] instead of [email protected]), but don’t use the address at your current job.
  • CVs can vary from country to country, so search online for sample resumes from a specific country if you are unfamiliar with what is normally included or not included there.

LeaMond said the most common mistake people make is not having a well-written CV that shows their experience and is tailored to the job description.

For more information on how to present yourself to a prospective employer, be sure to read the articles on writing a personal biography and an admissions essay. You can also take a free YALI Network Online Course. Be sure to check back with the YALI Network blog for additional advice on writing and other tips for your professional development.

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