Welcome to Part Seven of the Candidate Super Series. At Market Talent, we spend a lot of our time reading CVs – so we’re pretty sure we know what makes a good one. Check out these CV myths!
If you want some help with yours after this – try our candidate coaching services.
Creating a standout CV is something we all need to be capable of. Yet, there’s a mountain of myths and misconceptions about the various aspects of CV writing.
So, what’s the difference between CV fiction and CV fact? Check out our seven misconceptions you should steer clear of when creating your CV.
Myth #1: I can send the same CV every time
Fact: Your CV isn’t an all-purpose document for each position. Sending an identical CV each time is a big no-no.
Hiring managers are pretty quick on the mark to identify which candidates are enthusiastic about a job and which candidates simply hurl out CVs left, right, and centre to see who’s interested. A recruiter will likely think you’ve thrown your CV to loads of other companies with no genuine enthusiasm or interest. In their eyes, even if you received a reply, you probably won’t understand what their firm is.
Do your homework on the position before applying and personalise your CV to make sure it covers the job’s requirements. In doing so, you’ll up your odds of being interviewed dramatically.
Top tip: we recommend spending more time applying for two to three positions than sending your CV out to 10 without even taking the time to read the job advert properly.
Myth #2: I should include every single job on my CV
Fact: Don’t include all the jobs you did since you left primary school otherwise you’ll make a mess of it.
Sure, you could mention you spent two weeks in a reception class. But it doesn’t apply to a role in finance unless you’re seeking a career change in the childcare industry.
Don’t forget, your CV shouldn’t be any more than two pages in length. So, include your most recent, job-specific experiences that demonstrate what transportable capabilities you’ve picked up and can transfer to the upcoming position.
Top tip: Just include a couple of related jobs and work experiences, and skip the rest – you don’t want your CV reading like a very mundane book, packed with pointless material.
Myth #3: A CV doesn’t ever get opened by a real person
Fact: A hiring manager or recruiter will always read your CV, even if they choose to scan it over.
Avoid stuffing in an excessive amount of unnecessary keywords – it just makes your CV look clichéd and monotonous.
When you upload your CV online, it doesn’t get read by a computer system that scans for keywords. That said, the company may use an online database to find your CV, which is where the misconception originates.
Myth #4: I need to give a detailed explanation about my work gaps
Fact: You’re allowed to live a private existence that goes beyond your job, so you shouldn’t publicise every part of it just for an employer’s benefit.
Perhaps you took time out for a couple of years because of a family crisis in another country, meaning you lived, jobless, in Australia for two years. Or maybe you were busy raising children for several years.
Whatever the case, CV gaps happen. We suggest concentrating on all your professional experiences and achievements rather than the personal aspects of your life.
Hiring managers want to know about your skills and work experiences and won’t worry much about a gap of under one year. It won’t prevent you from landing a new job.
Myth #5: It doesn’t matter about grammar
Fact: Grammatical errors scream you lack attention to detail and imply you’ve hurried to write it.
We advise proofreading your CV for typos and text presentation. While the occasional spelling error isn’t life-threatening, it does indicate that you don’t have an eye for detail and that you rushed to write it.
You don’t want to lose out to the competition because they ran theirs through the spell check, and you didn’t – particularly if a company specifies they require a candidate who is ‘detailed-orientated’.
Myth #6: Education is a top concern
Fact: If you’re further on in your career and your school years and university seem like a lifetime ago, then an employer won’t likely deem your grades an essential deciding factor.
If you’ve recently completed your exams in school, emphasising your qualifications is okay. However, we advise recording them as 11 GCSEs, A-C, to save space rather than talking in-depth about every single subject.
What you studied at GCSE level won’t be as critical if you’re further along your career path. So, concentrate on your topmost certification (such as your Ph.D.), or post-graduate accreditations.
Myth #7: I must include my hobbies and sports in my CV
Fact: You don’t have to mention any hobbies, sports, or interests whatsoever unless they’re relatable to the job.
Are you a pro rock climber or a regular marathon runner? Or perhaps you’re an avid skier who heads to the Alps each month. In which case, any of these are worthy of mentioning in your CV. Or, if you’ve gained your qualification or been part of charity fundraisers, you can allude to these, too, if you like.
We’ve seen a lot of CVs declaring things like ‘I love going to the cinema’ and ‘I enjoy socialising with friends’. But who doesn’t? We can’t think of many people who don’t enjoy hanging out with their loved ones. If you do, then it’s clear you need to make some new friends. Or, perhaps get yourself a dog of some kind.
A final thought
While writing an impressive CV is paramount, you need to do a little more work before you score your dream finance role.
If your CV caught the attention of a hiring manager, it’s time to celebrate as (yippee) you’ve made the grade and landed yourself an interview. Well done! From here onwards, it’s time to prove you’re as worthy as the words on your CV.