Our favourite CV mistakes

Here at Best Web Jobs we receive a heck of a lot of curriculum vitaes from people who are either trying to find the first rung on the jobs ladder, or are temporarily out of work, or who are seeking to change their current job. Many of these candidates are clearly well educated, experienced, and more than capable of doing a fantastic job for the employers who are searching for suitable candidates. Consequently we are able to pass on some great quality candidates to our advertisers.



On the other hand... we do sometimes receive CVs from people who are perhaps not quite so well informed when it comes to the application process. Sure, some of them make us chuckle and spark a debate in the office, and without them the competition for places would be even more intense than it already is. But on the other hand it is quite sad to see people who may be perfectly capable of doing the job, but for whatever reason they are not able to get a serious application in front of the employer's eyes. I freely admit to having taken the time on several occasions to reply to the applicant and point out how they might improve their CV. Sometimes this advice is warmly received, sometimes ignored, and occasionally argued with. Some people simply cannot be helped.

So here are some examples of interesting errors and mistakes that we have found on ski season job applications during the current recruitment drive. Some outright bizarre, some just personal irritations. We are not suggesting that all of these will get your application rejected by an employer as everybody has different expectations, but if we were you, we would not...

Submit a CV with you address at the top listed as Example town and a fake telephone number along the lines of 111 111. There is nothing wrong with using a CV template, indeed it is a great idea because they usually follow established formats that employers are used to viewing. But when we received one from a lady who had somehow managed to send the entire template with no amendments made to it, we were not going to pass it on to the employer.

Apply for every position listed on the website. Perhaps because people apply the logic of more applications equals more chance of a job, they are tempted to apply for everything they see. It doesn't really work though. Even though you are copying and pasting the same application to cut down your work, you are still wasting your time, and the employer's. The job market is currently more competitive than it has been for decades, so if you do not have relevant experience then you haven't a hope of getting the role ahead of someone who does. We often see the same email address pile into our inbox five, six, seven times in a row, applying for everything from bar work to ski instructor. We understand the lure of working a ski season, but apply for jobs that match your skill set.

Apply for a chalet couple job if there is just one of you. This happens all the time and the moral here is read the job description and title carefully. If the advertiser is asking for a couple to run a chalet, it doesn't matter whether you think you have a split personality, and the ability to run the kitchen and the front of house at the same time. They want two people. An application from a single person is going to be instantly rejected.

Fill the first page with your name and the words Curriculum Vitae, in 50 point bold text. The second page with a photograph of you wearing ski goggles. And a further 10 pages of largely irrelevant details about your job and education history. Some people say a CV should be a single page in length. We suggest two is what you should be aiming for; any more and you are probably providing irrelevant information that is only going to change the mood of the employer from interested to irritated.

Leave wacking big gaps in your employment history. It is actually surprising how many people do this. Perhaps you were unable to find work and were technically unemployed, or perhaps the work you were doing was completely different from the job for which you are currently applying. It doesn't matter what you were doing, make sure you list it. When the employer is sitting at their desk reading your CV, they are deciding whether or not to call you up and invite you for interview. Leave a gap and you are only raising a doubt in someone's mind.

Tell me you have an informal approach to work issues. There are lots of websites offering advice on how to write CVs and the type of language to use. It's a bit like marketing speak, but you wouldn't talk about blue skies thinking if you didn't know what it meant, else you stand to sound like a fool. Informal approaches to work issues are words that form a nice little sentence, but with several ways of being interpreted, really not the kind of thing you want to be adding to a job application.

Say you are unhappy with the workload in your current job. Being honest and upfront with people are great qualities and can mark you out as a great employee, but telling a potential employer that you are likely to seek alternative employment as soon as the going gets tough is not going to endear them to you. I'm struggling to think of a sentence that will get your CV from the desk to the bin faster than this one. Yet people are happy to write include it. Please don't. And if they ask you at interview why you are wanting to change jobs, please don't mention it then either. There is never a good time to tell someone you wish to be your future boss that you don't like to work hard.

Don't use illegible or handwriting fonts. Clever and talented font foundries are churning out some excellent alternatives to Times New Roman. The trouble with CVs is you don't know whether people are going to read them on screen, or print them off to look at later. Technically a serif font is more suited to printed text, while sans serif is easier to read on a computer screen. To be honest it doesn't really matter which you use, but do use something reasonably traditional. Comic Sans is the font that everyone know to leave well alone, but we have received several CVs this year which have been written in handwriting or script fonts. If you think they look good, you are mistaken. People who work in European mountain resorts are often young, friendly and easy going, but script fonts are difficult for anyone to read and you will not be making a good first impression. The same goes for elaborate borders or anything else that takes the reader's attention away from the written word. Just because your word processor includes lots of fancy borders, frames and fonts, does not mean you should use them.

Use the same cover letter for multiple companies. This something we see frequently here in the office. Of course you are likely to be applying for lots of similar jobs, but if you cannot be bothered to write each application individually then you are not doing yourself any favours. What is the saying, more haste less speed. People who cut and paste often forget to change vital bits of the text, which makes it obvious to us, and obvious to the employer that they are taking short cuts. Saying that you wish to apply for the position with one of their competitors, because that was the last application you sent, is not going to endear you to the boss. We may be advertising two jobs with the title Chalet Chef, but if you do your research you will soon see that they are completely different, and only someone who doesn't really care about getting the job would duplicate their covering letter.

Use a wacky email address. If I had a pound for everyone who submits an application using a comedy email address! To be honest it is so common that as an employer you probably aren't going to care too much, but it is still something we would never recommend. These two are fictitious, yet conservative compared to the real email addresses we see, nevertheless, Fluffypixie17 or FatLazyJim82 will count towards that all important first impression.

GCSEs does not have an apostrophe. Neither does CVs. I am probably taking a risk including this one and shall be double checking my spelling before publishing this article, but spelling mistakes and grammatical errors should be picked up before you press send. Modern spell checks and word processing packages that automatically highlight mistakes leave little excuse for those of us who sometimes struggle with the English language. Again, the odd missed or inappropriate apostrophe will be overlooked by all except the most fastidious employer, especially if you are being hired to teach people to ski, or look after guests in a chalet. But if you possess the writing skills of a ten year old then get someone to help you.

Describe yourself as a chalet witness if you mean chalet waitress. Spell checkers can be useful, but machines are not yet as intelligent as people so do not submit your application without making a final check that it reads the way you intend it to. When you spend a fair amount of time on something like a job application, or an article, you can get too close to it, where you no longer read your own words objectively. Just because there are no words underlined in red or green, does not always mean you have written what you intended to. Walk away for a bit, do something else, then re-read it with fresh eyes. Or alternatively get someone else to proof read it for you.



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