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There are many mistakes that people make when writing their résumé (CV) or completing a job application. Here are some of the most common and most serious.

 

 

The biggest problem is perhaps listing the duties for which you were responsible in a past position: all this tells your potential employers is what you were supposed to do. They do not necessarily know the specific skills you used in executing them, nor do they know what results you achieved – both of which are essential. In short, they won’t know if you were the best, the worst, or just average in your position.

The more concrete information you can include, the better. As far as possible, provide measurements of what you accomplished. If any innovations you introduced saved the organization money, how much did they save? If you found a way of increasing productivity, by what percentage did you increase it?

Writing what you are trying to achieve in life – your objective – is a waste of space. It tells the employer what you are interested in. Do you really think that employers care what you want? No, they are interested in what they want! Instead, use that space for a career summary. A good one is brief – three to four sentences long. A good one will make the person reviewing your application want to read further.

Many résumés list ‘hard’ job-specific skills, almost to the exclusion of transferable, or `soft’, skills. However, your ability to negotiate effectively, for example, can be just as important as your technical skills.

All information you give should be relevant, so carefully consider the job for which you are applying. If you are applying for a job that is somewhat different than your current job, it is up to you to draw a connection for the résumé reviewer, so that they will understand how your skills will fit in their organization. The person who reviews your paperwork will not be a mind reader.

If you are modest about the skills you can offer, or the results you have achieved, a résumé reader may take what you write literally, and be left with a low opinion of your ability: you need to say exactly how good you are. On the other hand, of course, never stretch the truth or lie.

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