We’ve all seen them: CVs with typos, CVs that don’t have any contact details on them, CVs with formatting that seems to dance to the beat of its own drum.
We asked our fantastic team about the CV blunders for finance positions that make their toes curl – we aggregated our favourites below!
Fussy or in-your-face designs
“Those overcomplicated, Adobe-designed CVs that combine lots of shapes and colours are really off-putting!” say Ellie and Felix. An overdesigned CV leaves recruiters suspicious that you’re covering up for lack of substance. And Sarah is campaigning for candidates to keep their fingers away from the CAPS LOCK: “I can’t stand it when candidates use block capitals on their CVs! It doesn’t stand out; it just makes it harder to read!” she says.
How to fix it: Ellie and Felix recommend organising your CV into simple, unfussy columns, “and leave enough space between them to draw the eye!”
“I don’t like CVs where candidates repeat the same bullet points for every role on their CV,” says Eva. You have just two pages to sell yourself, so why waste space by repeating yourself?
How to fix it: If you find yourself trying to fill space, resist the temptation to copy/paste by adding your IT skills. “A lot of candidates forget to add this, but we love it when candidates include their IT skills,” say Alex and Georgia. What software do you use? Get the edge over other candidates by spelling out where you excel.
(Psst! Need help with your cover letter, too? We have an article with some great tips on writing a cover letter that recruiters will swoon over.)
More than two sides
Exceptions to this rule rarely exist. Recruiters don’t have much time to evaluate their candidates – sometimes they’ll only have 6 seconds to look at a CV.
A recruiter therefore wants a scannable two pages that will create a snapshot of you, not a bloated essay!
How to fix it: We understand that two pages aren’t much for a life of work but consider it a creative challenge. How can you make the most impact with the fewest words? To enhance your profile even more, reduce the number of bullet points and include a précis of your workplaces.
“I like CVs where the candidate introduces the company they work for before listing their responsibilities,” says Eva, “It provides insight into their employer, and our clients have also found this very helpful!”
Unclear reference points
“It’s useful to know the level of experience that candidates have for the systems and languages they include on their CV,” says Emily. “Otherwise, I’m left wondering how good the candidate is in each of the skills they list.”
How to fix it: Avoid running into the trap of using clever designs to explain your capabilities! Three ‘stars’ out of five will mean different things to different people. We suggest spelling it out – literally – for your recruiters.
For example: PowerPoint (expert), or Mandarin (native); French (business proficient).
It might not look as pretty on the page, but unless you’re applying to a creative agency, your recruiters will thank you for keeping it clear.
Poorly written CVs need more than a new lick of paint. If your CV suffers from any of the above, we recommend starting completely fresh.
Don’t copy yourself – and don’t copy someone else’s phrasing, either! “We can always tell when it’s a copy/paste job!” say Alex and Georgia.