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Posted by annie on February 17, 2016

Ten things that good recruiters hate about your CV.

1.    A badly formatted CV / visually unattractive CV.

 It says a lot about you when we can clearly see you don’t know much about using MS Word.   When you’re using the space bar instead of using a tab, for example – it’s 2016 and you should have at least intermediate MS Word skills by now. 

Make sure your CV is simple, easy to read and attractive.  Don’t, under any circumstances, insert graphics that came out with the first version of MS Word.  You remember those old ClipArt pictures?  We’ll think you haven’t updated your Word skills since 1986.

Also remember that when a recruiter submits your CV to a client, he or she needs to reformat your CV.  Even though we’re pretty tech savvy, if you have a thousand tables in one document, or too many graphics, borders, columns, it just becomes a nightmare.

Yes, we know you are trying to stand out with something a little different, but in most occasions when it comes to a CV and it’s formatting the “less is more”.

Your recruiter will hopefully convert your CV into a really expert version in order to present to the client, and you are free to ask your recruiter for this version of your CV.   I usually tell my candidates to take out my logos and contact details and add their own contact details.  A company that offers CV writing services can charge quite a bit for doing exactly what an agent should be doing for you (provided you are selected for one of their roles).

2.    Scanned in CV’s / CV’s in Adobe format

No one wants to look at a poorly scanned in CV.  Send us your CV in Word format please!  And whilst PDF format can look more attractive, and not impossible for us to convert to a Word format, it just takes more of our time. 

3.    Poorly named CV’s.

 Save your CV as your First Name Surname CV – for example Joe Smith, CV.  It makes our life much simpler.   Remember we receive hundreds of CV’s a day.

4.    CV’s don’t include exact dates of employment

Very often we’ll received a CV that includes the year of your employment and not the months. 

Here’s an example

Personal Assistant, Joe Smith Consultants, 2013.

We hate it because it’s so vague.  It could mean that you worked there for 12 months, or 12 minutes.  So rather include the months as well.   It also helps us establish gaps in CV.

Here’s what we’d like to see:

Personal Assistant, Joe Smith Consultants, February 2013 to November 2013.

5.    Gaps in employment history.

Please include a reason for leaving each employer.  Please also ensure that when there are gaps in your CV (perhaps you saved up and went surfing in Bali for 3 months) that you elaborate on the gap in your CV.  Otherwise we’ll think you were in jail, or fired.  It’s a red flag for us.

6.    CV’s that are 15 pages long

No. Please. Don’t bore us.  Keep it short and simple.  Your job description at one employer should never be 2 pages long.  Ideally, by South African standards at least, your CV should be no longer than 5 pages. 

7.    Photographs of yourself that make us jump out of chair from fright

Yes.  This happens, I kid you not.  Just this morning I almost fell off my chair and spilt my coffee all over my new MAC.  And do you think I called him in then for an interview?  No I did not.

Here’s the thing.  Sometimes your photo will be so scary, and then when we actually meet you in person we breathe a sigh of relief that we took the chance to meet you, cause you’re actually a real winner and we’re excited about placing you.   But sometimes when your photo is super scary we’ll choose not to meet you.  Because we’re human and get frightened too.

There is nothing wrong with putting a photo in your CV, but if you’re not photogenic, then why not ask a friend for his or her opinion on your picture, and find out if that picture does you justice.

And to those girls who include the sultry, seductive, pouting pics – we’re not an escort agency.  Keep it professional.

8.    CV’s that don’t include contact details

 Yeah, I know.  You can’t believe it either, can you?  So just remember to include your cell number, landline number AND email address in your CV.  The best way to do this would probably be to put it in your footer. Please don’t put your cell phone number in your CV, with your Mommy and Great Auntie’s cell phone numbers as back ups.  If you’re responsible and really serious about finding work you’ll make sure your phone is accessible and you answer it when we call.  We don’t want to speak to your Mamma.

9.    Personal profiles / cover letters that are too long

Put yourself in our shoes.  Recruiters can open up to 200 CV’s a day.   We are bored to death with hearing how most of our candidates are reliable, hard working, punctual.  If you’re going to write personal profile, look at the criteria of the position and base the cover letter on that.   On that note, and a little off topic – don’t ever (ever) just email your CV to an agent without introducing yourself and tell them what it is you do and what type of work you are looking for.  200 emails sent to us in a day with no introduction, gets very frustrating.  You wouldn’t just barge up to me in the Street, throw your CV at me and run away, would you? That’s how it feels for us.  So take some time to tell us which role you are applying for you, and how you meet with the required criteria for the role. 

10. Education / certifications that you never really completed

So you didn’t complete a high school diploma, and you thought if you left it out of your CV we wouldn’t notice?  We do, it’s a red flag.  Rather be open and honest and upfront with your recruiter.  Also, if you studied for a certification, but never actually completed external exams, you should mention this.  Same goes with higher education.  If it’s incomplete, it’s better we know upfront than find out when we’re doing your background checks.  Most recruiters will pick this up in the interview,.

Happy job hunting folks!  If you’d like an up to date CV template, please feel free to email annie@anniemercer.co.za with CV template in the subject line. 



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