Getting your CV to the top of a recruiters reading list is a challenge in itself at times, especially within the security industry today, but some may argue that getting your CV the top of the pile is the easy part. Getting a recruiter to look at your CV, and more importantly, stay interested long enough to actually read it, however, is where most CV’s fail. Inconsistencies, in font, bright colours, spelling mistakes and just a poor presentation style can all mean that your CV ends up in that little round filing cabinet under the desk. So here are 10 common mistakes to avoid when writing your CV.
1. Your CV is not tailored to the job.
This may seem like a moot point to some but it can mean the difference between getting your CV looked at, and getting it binned immediately. Consider what skills the recruiter is looking for, and make sure they are more prominent than your other talents. To put this into perspective, lets say you have a multitude of qualifications relating to the security industry, and also have some recreational qualifications such as being a qualified skiing instructor. If you’re applying for a security guarding job within the UK and have your skiing qualification at the top of the list, you’re not likely to have your CV looked at. Change that job to a close protection position for a family visiting the Alps, and having a skiing instructor qualification at the top of your list would certainly work in your favour.
2. Your CV is TOO Long.
An ideal length for your CV should be about 2 pages, but sometimes it can be difficult to achieve this if you have a lot of relevant experience. The goal here should be to prioritise all that information into parts that will truly be beneficial to helping you gain employment so you can keep your CV at 2 pages long. If you have set yourself up a portfolio with all your certificates and qualifications to take to interviews, then this is the place to include your full length, multi page CV. That way you can discuss the information within it at interview as it is presented. Going back to point 1, tailor the information to suit your needs. Does the recruiter for the security guard position you’re applying to really need to know about the summer job you had at McDonalds between school and college?! Ensure that only relevant experience and qualifications are listed, and use bullet points, to keep your information short and to the point. This will help to keep your CV under two pages.
3. Poor Spelling and Grammar.
In today’s technology driven world, poor spelling and grammar really isn’t acceptable on a professional CV. Basic word processing packages have spell checkers built in to them as well as web browsers so their really isn’t any excuse. Don’t solely rely on these though. Get someone else to check it over for you just to make sure because sometimes, even computers can get things a little wrong. Grammar is a different matter, but still, with the likes of YouTube and the millions of websites out there today, it isn’t hard to learn basic grammatical skills from the comfort of your home. We receive a large amount of CV’s through this website and through our sister website the UK Security Directory from people at the top of their field within the security industry. People who have spent thousands and thousands of pounds on training and have invested some serious hours into their career, but they fail to take a few hours to learn the basics of grammar which then, in some cases, undermines all of their other achievements.
4. Using Inappropriate Email Addresses.
This is a simple one that so many get wrong when listing their contact details on their CV. When starting out on the career ladder of the security industry, or any industry for that matter, you would do well to create yourself a professional looking email: email@example.com, for example. Having an email address of firstname.lastname@example.org does not look very professional and is likely to get your email deleted straight away. It is also a good indicator of your commitment to your career. Often employers are looking for someone they can rely on, someone who will work hard and potentially make a career out of their position. If you can’t put 5 minutes of effort into creating yourself a free, professional looking email address, then why would you put the effort into your daily job?!
5. Do NOT Lie.
Keep your CV honest. The security industry, although very large, is in fact quite a close knit community that is built on reputation. Mis-truths are inevitably always discovered. Yes you can sell yourself by dressing up your work history with intelligent language, but there is a big difference between putting effort into selling yourself and outright lying. Keep your CV honest, because if you don’t, you’ll be found out eventually, and then the hard work you have put into building your reputation will be destroyed.
6. Too Many Words, Not Enough Information.
This is quite a common mistake in many forms of written communication. People tend to drift off on a tangent when trying to put information into written context and in the confined space of a CV this is bad. Keep your words relevant and short. Using industry keywords to help explain your points quickly, for example SIA, instead of Security Industry Authority. If you don’t keep your information relevant and to the point, you may find that your two page CV actually only contains a quarter page of information that your potential employer will find useful.
7. Incorrect Contact and Personal Details.
This is a big one, especially as most people have their CV saved as a template. If you don’t amend your details, as and when they are required, you could find that you send your CV out to many employers, all with the wrong contact details on. If a potential employer rings your mobile and it’s the wrong number, they won’t waste any more time on your CV. They are busy people who do not have time to try and locate people because they couldn’t be bothered to check their own contact information.
8. Putting CV as the Title.
There is no need to title the top of your first page with JOE BLOGGS CV. The recruiter knows it is your CV because they have chosen to open it. All you are doing is wasting valuable space. Instead just use your own name, in slightly larger format than the rest of your CV so that it stands out, as this is what you want your employer to remember.
9. Including Your References.
If the recruiter want’s to see your references they will ask for them. Do not waste valuable space within your CV by listing referees. Have them in a separate file so that when requested, you can simply email it off immediately.
Yes you want your CV to stand out, but making the pages bright yellow with red text does more harm than good. Format your text to look professional and sharp. Don’t use fancy fonts as some computers or email clients may not be able to read them, and stick to basic colours and a professional, clean and crisp look.
11. Poor Spelling and Grammar.
Yes, it was only supposed to be 10 mistakes, but this one warrants another shout. Check your CV multiple times and get someone else to check it again.
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