Four CV traits that make Recruiters say “No”

Here’s a fact for you: Up to 1,000 CVs are received at The Works every single week – That’s a lot of reading to do!

With the vast amount of CVs that are coming through the door in every business, estimates suggest that your CV only has a measly 30 seconds to make an impact with the person reading it. In the case of a Recruitment Consultant, with the amount of CVs they have to read through there are five traits that will guarantee that your CV will get rejected for a job application, regardless of how great you are!

Spelling – The obvious one that so many still seem to get wrong! Recruiters don’t expect you to have memorised a dictionary, but please make sure you proof-read a million times over before you send a CV through to a Recruiter (better yet, get someone else to proof read it for you). With the vast quantity of CVs they have to sift through, the easiest way to get put in the rejection pile are clumsy spelling and grammar mistakes. Check that all your “I’s” are capitalised and that you’ve used the right “There, Their or They’re” when you do your proof read. You might be the right person for the job, but a recruiter won’t think that if you have three spelling mistakes in the first two sentences. A hastily put together CV says to a Recruiter, “if this person doesn’t take care with their CV, they might not take care in the job I will place them in” – An impression you don’t want to give off.

Confusing/Poor Layouts – With so little time to make an impression, your CV needs to have clearly defined headings and a structure where Recruiters can easily identify the information they want to see first. A quick recce around the office says that a great CV for a Consultant goes in this order: Intro, Professional Experience, Education, Interests.

Structure your CV to reflect this order and make sure it is obvious to the person reading your CV what they’re looking at. Naturally, our brains read from left-to-right, so make sure the key things you want to show off to a Recruiter (past work positions, key qualifications) are left-aligned on the page and in bold. Obviously, there are always circumstances where this will have to differ, but if you are in any doubt this format is probably the best one to stick to.

A poor opening statement/introduction – If you put this at the top of your CV, you need to make sure that what you write makes maximum impact in the quickest time possible. This is the thing that a recruiter will read first and you must make sure it sums up everything that they need to know about you and why you’re perfect from the job. Briefly describe your experience, education and interests in as fewer words as you possibly can. A good opening statement can be the decider in whether your CV will be put forward for a job, or won’t.

Weird file formats – This seems like a strange one to mention, but it still is a point that needs to be made. Make sure that your CV is in a file format that every computer can read. The ideal format is a Word document (.doc), second to that a PDF (.pdf) is acceptable followed by using the Real Text Format (.rtf). We’ve seen some funny ones in our times including someone who thought they could write their CV in a Notepad document.

There are many free word processors out there that do a more than adequate job of replicating the basic functionality of Microsoft Office, the best of the bunch being either Google Docs, which has the added benefit of storing and backing up all of your documents online. For a more conventional approach, Open Office is the software package for you. Bottom line, if a consultant can’t open up your CV to read, you won’t have a chance of getting that new job role.

If you’ve been struggling to get shortlisted for jobs, take another look at your CV and make sure it doesn’t fall foul of these four issues. There is no magic formula to creating the perfect CV, but removing these turn-offs will hopefully make a Recruiter say “yes” next time you apply for a job.