To impress a potential employer with your CV, you usually have just a few seconds. According to a CareerBuilder.co.uk survey of 194 UK employers, nearly one-third (32 per cent) said they spend one minute or less reviewing a CV. Fourteen per cent even spend only 30 seconds or less. The study reveals what employers said they look for in CVs, what makes them instantly pass on a candidate and the most unusual CV blunders.
Lying in your CV is one of the leading ways to seriously hamper chances for landing the job. Twenty-three per cent of UK employers said they caught a lie on a CV in the past year.
Major turn-off: Spelling errors and typos
When asked what would make them automatically dismiss a job candidate, it’s no surprise that spellings errors and typos were cited most often. Other turn-offs include:
- CV with large blocks of text that are difficult to read – 36 per cent
- CV that had exact text from the job ad pasted into the document – 36 per cent
- CV with no cover letter – 26 per cent
- CV that is not customized to the position – 25 per cent
- CV that is three pages or longer – 18 per cent
- CV that has an objective instead of a career summary – 17 per cent
- CV with an unprofessional email address – 16 per cent
The most unusual CVs
The following CVs are examples for the most unusual CVs employers in Europe and the U.S. have come across:
- CV was written in rhyme.
- The only words written on the CV were the candidate’s name and phone number and the phrase “I want a job.”
- Candidate listed lion tamer under hobbies.
- Candidate included mystery shopper under her experience, but didn’t reveal the name of the employer because “it’s a secret.”
- Candidate’s photograph on the CV didn’t match the person the hiring manager spoke with on Skype (different ethnicity).
- CV was written on a page torn out from an exercise book.
- Candidate put God down as a reference (no phone number).
- Candidate claimed to be a direct descendant of the Vikings.
- Candidate’s email had “lovesbeer” in it.
- Candidate listed “Master of Time and Universe” under his experience.
- Candidates specifically pointed out that he was not a gypsy.
Employers search for keywords
You can improve the chances for your CV to get a higher ranking by adding keywords from the job at to your CV. These are the most popular keywords UK employers said they use when scanning CVs:
- Communication skills – 68 per cent
- Problem-solving skills – 62 per cent
- Computer software skills – 44 per cent
- Customer satisfaction or retention – 34 per cent
- Leadership – 32 per cent
- Productivity – 32 per cent
- Project management – 29 per cent
- Sales – 18 per cent
- Web or Internet – 17 per cent
- Management – 17 per cent