One of the unique services we offer at the Royal Aeronautical Society is our impartial 1-2-1 careers guidance, which includes CV reviewing. To provide useful and tailored advice in these meetings, it is necessary for your CV to already follow standard CV etiquette. Here are the top 5 mistakes that the careers team see when we are contacted for advice:
1. Education/Work Experience not in reverse date order
It may be tempting to list jobs or education that you feel are more relevant to the role you are applying for first, or to list your jobs in the order you got them. However, this is not what companies want. Make sure to list and date your previous education, qualifications, and work experiences in reverse date order, with the most recent ones first.
2. Experience sections that list duties and not what you have learnt
All experience is good experience and you are not expected to know everything when you start a job. However, it is learning how to write about this experience in a way that is meaningful to an employer which is the more difficult skill to learn. Focus on your achievements and not your responsibilities. Don’t just list the courses you took or the day-to-day tasks you did in your previous role – tell the employer what you achieved, what you learnt, and what skills you have that you can apply to this new role.
3. No profile or summary at the beginning of your CV
It is really important to have a summary of your relevant skills and your career aims at the top of your CV. This should be tailored for each job and be kept snappy (3-4 sentences maximum), as this could be the one thing a potential employer uses to decide if they should read the rest of your CV!
4. Inappropriate email addresses
Make sure your email address sounds professional, and remember first impressions really do count! Consider making a new account just for job applications so that all the emails are in one place, and use your name. It is time to get rid of the email address you chose when you were 13 – “email@example.com” is not an appropriate email to contact an employer with.
5. Too many fonts, font sizes, or font colours
Although making your CV visually appealing is important, many big companies will use an AI tool to screen applications before a real person looks through your CV. An excess of font sizes and colours can come up as a red flag on these systems and can look messy and unorganised. Use one font type, and only use a bigger font size for headings.
Hopefully these tips help you avoid common CV mistakes while you are applying for jobs! For more information on CV writing, as well as cover letter writing, LinkedIn profiles, and interview prep, head to the Careers Resources tab of our careers website.