There is no single standard format for a CV. Like people really, they come in all shapes and sizes. Every year we receive thousands and thousands of CV’s, most of them being more than adequate. However, there are always the exceptions. Here are my 10 favourites from our “Hall of Fame”:
- Skills – it is important to list all the skills and attributes that you have – for example self-motivation, customer focussed, strategic thinker etc. However, some of the skills that one candidate included were perhaps a tad too basic – “walk and stand, climb, bend forward, kneel down, reach and grasp, push and pull objects, lift and / or move up to 25 lbs (sometimes over shoulder), repetitive bending and lifting of items, repetitive arm movements.”
- Hobbies – these can provide an insight into what a person’s really like. You should always try and come across as an interesting person – they can be a good topic of discussion in an interview. We have a fire breathing and eating expert, world class sports people, part time actors and many more. Putting “I do mostly what my mates do” doesn’t really inspire though…
- Photos – we obviously cannot show you any examples, but rest assured we have a lot! Personally, I don’t think a photo helps your application, but you may of course disagree. However, I would say that if you are a lady, then you shouldn’t wear see through tops nor pout seductively as if you are posing for a lad’s magazine. Likewise gentlement, don’t use a picture of you quite obviously on a night out and looking a little too happy….
- Length – this cuts two ways, too long and too short. Our record breakers are a 27 page CV, which was in reality more of an autobiography, and a 6 line CV consisting of 26 words which included their name, contacts details and work history.
- Check your spelling – you may not be the greatest speller in the world, but modern computers now come with spell check functions that even underline your mistakes in red! On one 734 word CV there were over 100 spelling errors – including their own name!
- Punctuation – please use it, since it makes reading your CV so much easier. Unlike the one we received recently – “I am very capable with other staff members and i am very polite and very outgoing and i am very honest and friendly with customers and i have skills of working in camping shops and i have skills working with animals and i have other various skills of working in all type of camping gear shops and i have got skills in using tills and other assorted tasks.”
- Over embellishing your experience. It is important to include everything on your CV that may help your application – but there is a limit. One terribly enthusiastic individual, who also had aspirations of being the next Richard Branson, managed to write two and a half pages detailing every aspect of his 5 days’ work experience in a hotel.
- Honesty – personally I pride myself on my honesty and find dishonesty to be one of the worst traits that a person can have. However, sometimes people can be a little too honest on their CV’s….”a little slow but very happy”, “looking for a job without English language skills” and my favourite “I work so hard for you until I get very tired, I must then sleep”.
- Profile details – much the same as writing a CV, there are no hard rules about what to include nor what not to say. I think though that the following was a little bit too much details – “Applying for positions in your area, the reason is I am recently separated from my husband, he has gone awol for some reason. Anyhow, I need to escape the ghosts and start again. For 22 years I have supported him and taken second rate jobs in order to stay around here. When I got my food qualification, I could of had any number of positions but I turned them down to stay here with him as he would not move away from here. Now ironically he is the one who has left.”
- Lastly, when emailing your application, make sure you attach your CV and not your detailed personal diary about how you now hate your best friend because you’ve just discovered that she’s been seeing your long term boyfriend behind your back….
I’m sure that there are more CV stories out there – let me know!