The Interview… Where First Impressions Are Everything

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33% of bosses know within the first 90 seconds of an interview whether a candidate will get the job[1].  With this limited time frame to make a lasting impression it is essential that you get it right! Most of the key ingredients are obvious however there are some essential “Dos” and “Don’ts” that are often forgotten by candidates:-

 

Physical Appearance

Albeit obvious, candidates should present themselves as neat, tidy, and well-groomed to give a positive image to the employer. It is always better to overdress than under dress as candidates risk showing they are not taking the interview seriously. Cleavage, short skirts and untucked shirts do not give the professional impression that should be conveyed. Moreover, well-fitted clothes are a must because if a candidate is constantly readjusting their outfit they may seem fidgety.

Small ear piercings are acceptable as long as each ear is not too overcrowded and nose piercings can occasionally look smart on the right person. Any large piercings or other facial piercings should be avoided. All visible tattoos should be covered by clothing, hair or jewellery.

Personal hygiene is fundamental and a trait that a good candidate never lacks. Avoid having greasy hair or any dandruff before the interview. Hair should be tidy and away from the face to appear more open.  Smells such as ‘BO’ or cigarettes will immediately put off any employer as a malodorous employee will be unpleasant to work with. It is crucial to wear clean clothes and avoid smoking before an interview. Perfume and aftershave are always a good idea; just be careful it is not too overpowering.

This also applies to breath. The interviewer does not want to know what you had for lunch. Avoid garlic, onions and strong spices. Brush your teeth beforehand and have a strong breath mint of necessary. That said; do not chew gum in the interview as it looks completely unprofessional.

 

Body Language

Wearing a nice smile is crucial for a good first impression. It tells people that you’re an outgoing and intelligent person worth getting to know and conveys confidence and professionalism. Moreover, maintain eye contact with the interviewer when in conversation. A blank stare is a look people naturally adapt when they are trying to distance themselves, which is what a candidate should avoid.

The all-important handshake is a skill that not everyone has mastered. Make sure the handshake is firm and lasts no more than two shakes and should be accompanied by an introduction or expression of gratitude. If seated, always stand up to shake hands and if prone to sweaty hands, keep a handkerchief in a pocket or bag in order to discreetly wipe them beforehand.

 

Communication

Verbally greeting anyone at an interview is important to show respect and politeness. “Bonjour, Madame” or “Good morning” is sufficient and avoid less formal greetings like “ça va?” or “hi”. The most common way to address someone in France is by saying ‘Madame’ or ‘Monsieur’ and never use ‘Mademoiselle’ in the business world.

Most importantly, in France, it is essential to vousvoyer everyone you speak to at an interview. For English speakers this does not come naturally however it is ingrained into French language and culture and is considered extremely rude if the two are confused. Therefore, avoid at all costs referring to anyone as “tu” to maintain the boundaries between personal and professional and avoid offending anyone. 

A candidate’s tone of voice determines 38% of first impressions[2]. Some try to appear confident but overstep the mark with a loud tone of arrogance. On the other hand, a candidate trying to seem respectful and quiet may appear monotone and boring. Talking with a smile changes the tone of voice from monotone to cheery and will always be perceived well.

 

Conclusion

By paying attention to these small details to ensure good presentation, body language and communication skills, you can be sure to put yourself in the best possible light. The key is to play it safe and prepare beforehand, be polite and respectful with a smile to show confidence and gratitude for the opportunity. Remember, you have to make a good first impression to deserve a second.

 

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The Value of The French Language

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English is the most widespread language in the world and is more widely spoken and written than any other language. As English is now considered the “universal language”, does bilingualism in French have any value in the recruitment process?  The answer is yes.

Being bilingual in French leads to more benefits than just raw human dialogue. It opens a new world of communication skills that are essential in the work place. As the world becomes a seemingly smaller place, the influence of the French language is becoming wider in tandem with the internet and new markets. For candidates in the job market, a grasp of the French language might be what it takes to shine out from the rest as its value is ever increasing.

As the world becomes more socially, economically and technologically connected, competence in languages such as French is increasingly important.  There are a total of around 355 million French speakers worldwide including new markets that are considered economically important in the near future. The French speaking market is eminent and drives up the demand for French speakers in the job market.

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The French language is also opening new doors for international companies that were not considered valuable in the past. Half of the top-10 fastest growing countries in Africa have French as an official language and we can thus expect Africa to be an increasing focus of global trade and international relations.

Moreover, French is the third most used language on the internet ahead of Spanish. The internet has enabled entirely new forms of communication, research and business in recent years and is now considered a ‘basic need’. Bilingual candidates have goldmines of information at their fingertips that would otherwise be inaccessible to those relying on English.

Good communication skills are valued by many employers as “the most important of all life skills” and the candidate who can deal with a customer in their own language will without doubt have an edge. With the graduate job market crowded and a poor economic climate, bilingual communication skills are bordering on essential.  The recipe for successful communication skills is to understand the culture of the country you are doing business with which comes from being bilingual.

A grasp of the culture gives an understanding of acceptable behaviour and ethical differences that should be recognised for any real communication to take place. Miscommunications may have a serious impact on the success of the negotiation process. Whether it is following instructions or perceiving the motives of a client, it is essential in a working environment.

No one can deny the importance of the English language on an international scale however this does not reduce the value of French.  With the expanding Francophone sphere of influence combined with the necessary communication skills that accompany fluency, bilingual candidates shine out ahead of the rest.  The French language is therefore invaluable during the recruitment process and is becoming even more important with global development. Set yourself apart from the rest and learn French.

How to make sure you don’t lose your language skills

If you are a multilingual job seeker in the UK, pay attention!

In today’s job market, things are getting more and more competitive. With new records of students graduating with degrees every year in Britain, there simply aren’t enough jobs to satisfy everyone’s needs. As a multilingual job seeker, your best assets are of course your languages. The question is; how do you keep them up to scratch.

There are many different ways in which you can keep your languages going and although many of them may seem simple and obvious, they are very important. For someone like myself who is bilingual in English and French, it is easy just to coast along in English (as it is my mother tongue) and living in Paris, most of my friends and family are English speaking. I find it is crucial to speak as much French as possible with native speakers. Be aware that foreigners do always like to practise their English so be insistent.

Reading is so important to keep your languages ticking over. If you can’t find an interesting piece of French literature, then just get a translated version of your favourite English book. Although this isn’t as good as reading French books, this is still very beneficial. Not a book person? Read a French paper once a day or subscribe to a French magazine eg. le Point. If you are not comfortable with that level of language or simply not sufficiently interested in current affairs, you could try a more informal magazine via Bayard Jeunesse eg. Okapi. It may be targeted at teenagers but is informative, easy to read and equally well-suited to adults with short attention spans!

Everyone likes a good film so there is no excuse not to watch them in French. It is such an easy way to consolidate your French and you are pretty spoilt for choice when it comes to French cinema. In fact watching French television is very good for your languages. Just watching the 8 o’clock news every day is worth doing. You can also listen to the French radio and listen to French music (although it is not everyone’s cup of tea!)

If you have visited France or are planning to visit France in the future, make sure you keep in touch with the people you meet. This is the most important part of keeping your language at a solid level. There is no substitute for actually having a conversation in French with a French person. It is even worth finding a pen pal you can write to in French and they they can write to you in English. That way you are both winners.

Grammar. I have kept this to last. Unfortunately this is equally as important as your oral skills. Prospective employers will be keen to test your written French so accuracy is vital. The only way to do it is to practise, like anything else. There are plenty of websites available to test your grammar. You just have to grin and bear it and you will reap the benefits.

What to do while you are unemployed.

We are all aware of increased levels of unemployment thanks to the current economic climate. A further issue that those currently unemployed have to deal with is the fact that periods of unemployment currently tend to last longer than before. Job seekers often worry therefore that large gaps between jobs will look unimpressive on their CV and that employers will be consequently less likely to hire them. Is this really something that could hinder your progress in the job search? What should you be doing while you are unemployed to increase your marketability?

According to a recent survey, 40% of current job seekers have been out of work for more than six months. Many of us worry that such long gaps will hinder our chances of landing a job. The same survey suggests that this is not an issue however, stating that most employers are sympathetic to gaps on candidate CVs. This is the case particularly in the current climate, with 85% of employers stating that they are now more understanding of job gaps post-recession. This is not an excuse to sit back and rest on your laurels, however. Agreed, you can’t job hunt constantly – being on the hunt eight hours a day, seven days a week would drive you mad – but this time is valuable and can be used to benefit you and your job search in a broader sense. Filling these gaps with activities and experience that broaden and develop your skill set will encourage employers to look past your gap in employment and to focus on your increased suitability for the role.

So the general consensus is; don’t sit around waiting for the perfect job to fall into your lap, as the chances are it won’t! Skills can be lost if they are not utilised, so find temporary or volunteer work through which you can develop them. This shows employers that you enjoy using your skills, are raring to go and have made the most of your time. Similarly, taking a class is useful to broaden your skills. This could be your perfect opportunity to develop a relevant new skill, learn a new language or try something out that you have never had time for before. Taking a class shows employers that you are serious about what you do. Not only that, but it is good mental stimulation and gives focus, while helping to keep spirits up.

A period of unemployment is understandably a great time to network. Taking a class or doing temporary or voluntary work relevant to your field is a perfect way to do just that. As well as making new connections, you will be showing others what you can do and getting yourself known; far better than falling off the radar and sitting at home refreshing Monster! Another way to network is writing a blog. As well as helping you to network without seeming desperate, a blog will give you motivation to stay up to date with current issues relevant to your sector.

The overall goal for anybody looking for a job is to be marketable. Developing relevant skills and increasing your experience ensures just that, so a period of unemployment is the ideal time to come closer to this goal. Use your time wisely and it may well lead you to just the job you’ve been looking for.

Good Luck!

Does it pay to be bilingual?

We have all heard that having a good grasp of a foreign language is a great skill to add to your CV. Despite this, the study of modern foreign languages in Anglophone countries is decreasing rapidly. This fact has been highlighted in the media recently by the huge lack of qualified language teachers in the UK. So what exactly are the benefits to being bilingual? And what languages best equip you for a successful job search?

Companies in all sectors who conduct business overseas consider bilingual employees to be a highly valuable commodity. Let’s take America as an example. Two thirds of US business executives have one thing in common; the ability to speak more than one language. Furthermore, a recent careerbuilder.com keyword search resulted in more than 1000 job postings for bilinguals in the USA alone. Research shows that employers are prepared to pay big money to secure the bilingual workers they need. In the USA, bilingual pay is often between five and 20% more than that of a similar monolingual position. Despite these clear advantages of being bilingual, only 18 per cent of Americans are actually able to speak a second language.

Monolingual job seekers are ignoring numerous advantages of a bilingual CV. Linguistic competence enhances career prospects, travel opportunities and salary potential. A further advantage is the increased potential for career progression, an especially important consideration for those in the administrative field, where job flexibility and evolution can be hard to come by.

So if you’ve been convinced that being bilingual is worthwhile, which language is best to learn? Well that depends on your priorities.

An obvious one to cover is if your interest in language learning is to enhance travel opportunities – simply learn the language of a country where you would like to seek a job!

Another motivation is of course the wish to increase your value as an employee. The more professional contacts you are able to communicate with, the more appealing you are to an employer. The most spoken languages worldwide are Mandarin, English, Spanish and Arabic, with English, French, Arabic, Spanish and Russian topping the list when considering languages used in an official capacity. As well as considering how widely a language is spoken, it is also useful to research which languages are favoured by different sectors that you might be interested in. Given the current climate, the expat life is becoming increasingly competitive and more than three million Brits currently work abroad, so choosing the right language to develop is essential.

Mastering a more unusual tongue is of course another great way to get ahead and make yourself stand out. Chinese and Arabic for example are used in an official capacity in organisations such as the UN. It should not be forgotten however that these as well as Japanese and Korean are amongst the hardest languages for a native English speaker to learn, so will without doubt require a huge amount of time and dedication.

We should not forget old favourites like French and German. French is the most recognised lingua franca second to English and is used in both NATO and UNESCO, while German is useful for central Europe. It is also worth remembering that it is far easier to gain fluency in a language such as French, German or Spanish than it would be in Chinese, for example. While a basic knowledge of a language is useful when on holiday, a very high level needs to be reached for use professionally.

So all in all, you must decide what it is that you want from a language before you can really decide which one is best to learn. Once you have gained fluency, don’t underestimate your skill. It is usually the position that is considered bilingual – not the employee – so as long as you find yourself a position where you really can use your linguistic skills, then yes, being bilingual really does pay off!

What is the key to a good first impression?

We all know that the ultimate aim of every interviewee is to make a good impression on the person interviewing them, an impression that will end up landing them the job. So the most important thing in making this great first impression will always be giving appropriate answers to questions asked, asking imaginative and appropriate questions yourself and explaining your suitability to the role, right?

Arguably, the above are not the most important considerations at all. Research shows that one person will form an initial impression of another within 20 to 30 seconds of meeting them. In one study, untrained subjects were shown the first 20 seconds of interview videos and asked to comment on the candidates. On the whole, their reviews were very similar to those given by the actual interviewer, who had spent a whole 20 minute interview with the candidate. This example shows that a first impression really does last.

Before thinking about the day of the interview, it cannot be forgotten that your interviewer will in fact have an impression of you before they even meet you; the one they gain from your CV and cover letter. An impeccably written, clearly structured CV and cover letter are vital. They will give you the opportunity to clearly demonstrate the manner in which you approach work and are your gateway to the real opportunity to give a good impression – the interview.

So now onto the big day. What exactly does an interviewer take into consideration in those first 20 seconds?

The answer to this question can be found by thinking about what exactly happens in the first 20 seconds of meeting an interviewer. Punctuality is of course vital and a lack of it is a sure-fire way to make a bad impression before you’ve even made it through the door. The next step in the process is the way in which you present yourself. The first thing that anyone sees upon meeting you is your overall looks and psychologists say that humans actually make a snap judgement of another person based upon just a quick glance. That is to say; your interviewer may well have formed their very first opinion based entirely on the physical in around two or three seconds. Just what is appropriate attire varies a little depending on the nature of the company where you are interviewing, so make sure to tailor your outfit to suit your interview. As a rule of thumb, a well fitted, tailored business suit does the job nicely. Don’t forget the details; clean and polished shoes, neat hair and personal hygiene are all essential. As much as we might like to think otherwise, books often are judged by their covers, so impeccable presentation is a must.

“The physical” describes much more than just how we present ourselves and the body speaks volumes about how we conduct ourselves. Psychologists claim in fact that 30-40% of human communication is non-verbal, leaving the rest up to the body. Throughout your 20 second opportunity to impress therefore, you should also consider body language, demeanour and mannerisms. Eye contact is important, showing you to be engaged and interested in what your interviewer has to say. Looking away from the interviewer or – even worse – towards the exit, shows your eagerness to escape! If maintaining eye contact makes you nervous, try looking at the bridge of your interviewer’s nose instead to ease the nerves. Posture can also say a lot about a person and slouching or leaning back imply disinterest. Crossing your arms while talking to the interviewer can also make you appear defensive. By nodding occasionally and leaving your hands rested in your lap or on the arms of the chair, you come across as open, interested and at ease.

It might seem that not an awful lot can be done to show your demeanour within 20 seconds of meeting somebody, but that is not the case at all. A smile will help you come across positively both as a person and regarding the job and a good handshake will show your confidence. A good goal in terms of demeanour is to show an air of relaxed (but of course not too relaxed!) professionalism. Relaxation is a difficult thing to fake, so the best tactic is to practice relaxation techniques in advance of the interview and of course to BREATHE!

Another easy way to show your employer how nervous you are is to fidget. Try to avoid playing with your hair, scratching, or shifting in your seat. As well as revealing your nerves, these things will all distract your interviewer from what should be the focus – you!

If you can teach yourself to employ all these techniques for the first 20 seconds, they are also valuable things to consider for the entire interview. So all in all, the aim in the first seconds of your interview should be to start as you mean to go on. Keep calm and above all be yourself and you will set yourself off on the right foot with your employer for the rest of your time with them.

Good Luck!

How to look for a job when you’re employed

 

One of my recent posts was all about how to become the indispensible employee and the importance of doing so in times of economic difficulty.  However, as I concluded at the end of that post, it is also important to always be on the lookout for new opportunities. Whether you are making preparations for incoming trouble, or you’re simply an ambitious person, it’ essential to know how to look for a job when you’re already employed.

The days when people would start at the bottom of a company and work their way to the top are over. Nowadays the process of “job hopping” is much more common and therefore you should always be aware of what’s going on around you.  Most of us can be described as what is called a “passive job seeker.” We expect to move from job to job every few years and so keep our eyes and ears open to ensure we stay ahead of the competition and find out about opportunities first, something which has been made much easier with the world becoming increasingly social. However, being a passive job seeker does not come without complication. You have to be careful with your search methods and move with tact so to strike the perfect balance between looking for a job and maintaining a great relationship with your current employer. But how do you do that?

Firstly, it is essential that you do not take a too full on or aggressive approach to job seeking. The word “casual” is probably the word best to sum up the desired job search. You want to remain professional and discrete. That means not advertising your CV all across the web on job boards. You don’t want to promote the fact that you’re looking for something new because the chances are the wrong people will find out. Regarding the professionalism aspect, it is crucial that you do not conduct any job seeking activities whilst at your current job. Ignoring the fact that it would be completely unprofessional and inappropriate, it’s also true that if you’re found out you will be fired so don’t take the risk, search in your own time.

It is also important that you are cautious of what’s going on around you. Privacy is key to being a passive job seeker. You have to stay below the radar of your current employer. Working with a recruiter can help you with this, as long as they are discrete and confidential themselves. Make sure all your actions, whether they are online, on the phone or anywhere else, are kept private. Remember that social media is just that, and you should not share things which could be interpreted negatively by your employer.

Something which follows along similar lines as being aware of your surroundings is the need for extra research. An unemployed job seeker is unlikely to care who they are sending their CV to or to how many people. Unfortunately, if you are currently employed, you do not have that luxury. If you do submit your CV then you need to make sure exactly who is receiving it and that there is no chance of your current employer finding out.

So perhaps your current approach the job search has to change. Instead of viewing your job search as you searching for a job you should just view it as “career networking.” You are looking out for yourself and preparing for the future. There is nothing wrong with networking; it is after all an essential part of career progression. If you view yourself as someone who is open to opportunity rather than someone who is actively looking for a job then you have the same chances of finding a job whilst reducing the risk of getting fired.

So if you remain patient, casual and careful but open to opportunity you can easily increase your chances of career advancement without risking your current employment.

Why you should continue your job search over the holidays

 

Most of you will be looking forward to the holiday break, and why wouldn’t you be? It’s a great time to relax, spend time with the family and, for a lot of us, eat and drink too much. You’ve been looking for a job for several months and the holidays is the perfect time for a break from it right? No one’s hiring anyway so why bother? In actual fact both of these are common misconceptions. So I’m here to explain exactly why the holidays are a perfect opportunity for you to continue your job search and how to be even more effective.

We all know it’s a competitive job market right now. What a lot of people don’t know is that hiring hasn’t actually slowed down and the jobs are actually still there, you just have to know where to look and how to do it.

So here are my top 3 reasons for continuing your job hunt over this holiday period:

#1: The Golden Opportunity

Notice how I’ve been hinting that most people won’t be continuing their job search over the holiday break? These people are your competitors. They are going to have a lazy Christmas and do nothing. So why not take advantage of that? Recruiters are still recruiting and you can take the opportunity and jump ahead of your competitors. Many companies will be looking for people to start right away in the New Year and by continuing your job search you stand a much better chance of being the person they hire. So don’t be lazy, stay ahead of the pack!

#2: All the time in the world

Now I’m not saying that you should just ignore Christmas all together and focus all your attention on getting yourself a job. But if you’re like most of us, you have quite a lot of idle time spent over the holiday period, time which you could make much better use of. Of course this applies more to the currently employed looking for a new job but what’s important to remember is that everyone is more relaxed and freed up at Christmas, so you can easily make better use of the downtime you’ve got.

#3: Party time

Christmas is a time for special events, parties and an opportunity to be social. And an opportunity to be social is an opportunity to network. These holiday parties are perfect opportunities to meet new people, people who may be great contacts to have. Another great thing about these events is Christmas spirit. People are likely to be more relaxed which gives you the perfect opportunity to connect with them on a personal level. So get networking!

There are of course several other reasons in the pro column for continuing your job search but these are just my top 3, which is hopefully enough to convince you of the need to do it!

My advice to you as a job seeker is relatively simple and could just prove the perfect way to get that job you want. So get yourself to some networking events, strike up a conversation and subtly turn the conversation towards your job pitch. A lot of succeeding in business is down to relationships. So get out there and develop some with relevant industry professionals.

The extra little bit of effort you spend this Christmas might just be the best present you could give yourself.

So good luck and have a great Christmas!

How to use Twitter in your job search

I’ve spoken a lot about the importance of social media for job seekers in today’s world. I’ve discussed the importance of LinkedIn and Facebook in relative detail, covering the issues of e-reputation, privacy and touched upon specific social media channels and how to use them in your job search. What I haven’t done is gone into to detail about the use and importance of Twitter for all of you looking for a job. So that’s what I’m going to do today.

As I’m sure you are aware (and you should be!), Twitter is a social networking and micro blogging service utilizing instant messaging, SMS or a web interface. It was launched in July 2006 and is now home to over 300 million users. Now many of you may be thinking that Twitter is just used for spreading and sharing information quickly to a global audience. Well, it does allow users to do so but what’s becoming increasingly recognized on a global scale is its importance for job seekers.

You don’t believe me? Let’s have a look at some stats.

According to a recent US-based survey:

  • 16% of job seekers found their current job because of a social network
  • 25% of job seekers claim to use, or have used, Twitter in their job search (a number which is rising)
  • 8,000,000 people say Twitter got them their current job

And whilst these numbers are quite impressive, what’s more important to focus on is the rate these numbers are increasing and the implications for the future.

Now I understand that knowing this is all well and good but unless you understand what to do it’s not very helpful. So how do you go about using Twitter in your job search?

Let’s start with the basics: Creating your profile.

-First you’ve got to choose a username. Choose something sensible and professional.

-Now you’ve got 160 characters to best represent yourself to potential employers/connections. This bio should be your job pitch. Tell people what you do, what you want and provide a link to an online CV. You want to make your profile as easy to find as possible. It has to be “googleable”. You can do this by incorporating keywords relevant to your industry.

-Next you want to upload an avatar. This is your profile picture. As you would do on your CV, choose a picture where you look professional as well as personable. The first thing people look at when they come across your profile is your picture. That’s a fact. So, make sure yours represents how you want to be perceived.

-Finally, utilize your Twitter profile background. You’ve got a lot of space to work with so you can design a professional background which will make you stand out and ultimately aims to impress. There are plenty of templates online if you’re unsure how to do this.

So that’s your profile done. Now it’s time to get networking. After all the most important thing is who you know.

-Hopefully, if you’ve built your profile properly and you are search-engine friendly then the people looking for you (and there are people looking for you) will find you. Recruiters are actively using Twitter more and more to source candidates so that’s one reason you need to be there!

-But obviously creating a profile and waiting for people to find you isn’t really going to benefit you. You need to get interactive. Get following, liking, commenting, mentioning, retweeting and sharing. After all it is a social network. Interact with people in your industry, people who you think can help you with your job search and grow your professional network.

-Of course this still isn’t enough because you still haven’t tweeted anything, and you can’t really have Twitter without tweeting! What you tweet completely depends on you. But what I would say is that you need to keep content favorable. You want to appear professional but you also want your Twitter to have a personality so it’s all about finding a balance. Tweet about what interests you and what you think interests your network as well. By doing so, you can grow a network of relevant professional and personal connections which may prove invaluable to your job search.

So there are a few things to get you started. Remember you can’t build a strong Twitter presence in a day. You have to be patient. It’s also important to underline that quality is more important than quantity. The most important thing is not having the most followers; it’s about connecting with the relevant ones. Do this, and you might just land yourself your dream job.

So get tweeting!

(You can follow us on Twitter @TMIParis)

Common CV mistakes that land your application in the trash

 

Ever wondered why no one responds when you send them CV?

Do you think to yourself: It’s a tough market, maybe no one’s hiring?

Actually they are.

The jobs are there but apparently the talent is not. According to a recent survey, between 40 and 50 percent of recruiters highlight their main problem as talent acquisition NOT lack of jobs. But I believe the talent is there, it’s just not presenting itself as it should. I am of course to referring to you, the job seeker. You may be the perfect candidate for the job. You might have some great experience and be the exact person the company is looking for but it’s quite possible that your CV is letting you down.

Your CV is ultimately your first impression, and we all know how important the first impression is so you need to make sure it is the best possible representation of you. So, here’s my list of the most common CV mistakes that will guarantee your application lands in the trash:

 

#1: Careless grammatical/spelling errors

In this day and age, with the spell check application, there really is no excuse for making grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. If I can guarantee you one thing (and hopefully that won’t be the case) it’s that your CV is destined for the bin if it contains careless mistakes. It makes the employer think you are lazy, careless and ultimately a little bit stupid. So check it through a few times and get a couple of other people to check it through for you as well.

#2: Over-elaborate formatting

Yes, you want out to stand out from the crowd. You want employers to remember your application and you want your CV to be at the top of the pile and there are smart ways to do this effectively. Colouring your CV bright pink, adding fancy borders and using crazy fonts are not included in this list. Also, if you do put a picture on your CV, make sure you look professional.

#3: Irrelevant information

It never ceases to amaze me how many people send out the same CV for every job they apply for. Whoever is assessing your application does not want to know you worked at Pizza Hut 10 years ago if you’re applying for a job as a web designer. However much you may want to add every bit work experience you have ever done, unless it’s relevant to the job you are applying for, it takes up too much space and it has no place on your CV. But it’s not just irrelevant employment information that you need to get rid of. If you have an “interests/hobbies” section, which I’m sure most of you do, then make sure it doesn’t contain activities which don’t represent desirable characteristics. For example by writing “I like to read” you tell the employer absolutely nothing about your personality or why you would be an asset to their company. Being able to read is pretty much expected in every job you would be applying for. So get rid of the rubbish!

#4: Too little information

Yes, your CV needs to be concise and relevant to the job you’re applying for but you don’t want to go to the other extreme. If you don’t include enough information your CV will lack substance and therefore it will be impossible for the employer to gage what you are like as a person and ultimately if you are a good candidate or not. Remember that employers receive on average around 70 CVs for any given position and they cannot interview everyone, so you need to give enough information to stand out. You should be looking fill 2 pages.

#5: Appearing arrogant

You are probably using your CV as a marketing tool, and rightly so, but what you want to avoid is appearing boastful or arrogant. Yes, you want to give the best image of yourself you possibly can but there’s a line you shouldn’t cross. Don’t provide information that you cannot back up with evidence and make sure ego is not involved. Arrogance is not exactly a trait which employers are looking for!

So that’s my top 5 CV mistakes to avoid. They don’t guarantee you a job but avoiding these mistakes allows you the opportunity to make a great first impression and ultimately a much better chance of getting an interview.

Good Luck!

-More CV tips in my post on how to make the perfect CV