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The most common pitfalls of CV writing

September 01, 2009 09:21 IST

Writing your CV is a much more challenging task than you would initially expect before you start putting it together. The challenge though is not about things you do not need to include; it is more about things you should include and presenting them the right way.

What you need to know is that your CV does not have to be tremendously creative to get noticed. A simple listing of your experience and qualifications will suffice. What you do need to do, however, is pay attention to the details and avoid  common mistakes.

This article is an attempt to help you dodge these pitfalls while you write the most important document of your career.

CV or Curriculum Vitae at the top
You don't need to mention CV or Curriculum Vitae on the top. Some people might argue, how would recruiters know that it's a CV until you give it a heading? This can be explained with a simple example. Do you see "Newspaper" written as the heading of your daily paper? No, still as soon as you see a newspaper, you know what it is. Similarly when recruiters see a CV, they know it's a CV.

Flashy fonts and images
Your CV is a formal document. Avoid attempting to make it decorative with flashy fonts and images. These might be helpful only if you are applying for a creative position with some magazine, publisher or advertising company.

Explaining gap in employment
The CV is not the place to explain the gap you have in your employment. If you have a gap in your employment, focus your CV more on your experience and achievements rather than where you have been for how long. Such things are better explained at the personal meeting with interviewer.

Contact information
Provide your contact information in a easily noticeable spot on your CV since this is the first thing your prospective employer will look if they like your CV. Provide a phone number where you are reachable rather than providing the contact details of your parents. Employers want to speak to you and doing this may cost you the opportunity.

Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors
Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors reflect badly on you. They show your insincerity towards your job hunt and the most important document of your career. Read your CV well after you are done writing it. Maybe ask some of your friends to read it before you start sending it out.

Faking it
Do not lie about your experience or qualifications. If these things are caught at a later stage, they will cost you the job.

Using jargon and abbreviations
CVs are screened by people from the HR department who might not know the abbreviations and jargon used in every industry. Try to avoid using jargon and abbreviations in your CV as far as possible, if the HR personnel do not understand the terms, you might miss an interview call.

Irrelevant details
Including details like your father's name, sex, expected salary, passport number will occupy space without adding much value to your candidature. Provide them only when asked or if the position demands.

The author is a contributor to www.CareerRide.com, a website that addresses technical and personal aspects of an IT interview.

Kshipra Singh