We’ve all heard it before: “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” This is certainly true when it comes to a job hunt. Your CV is the first impression a potential employer will have of you. Often, if it’s filled with errors, the employer will simply move on to the next candidate. The following are 10 things you should do to ensure your CV is free from errors:
- Use spell-check. Although spell-check won’t catch all errors, including misused homonyms and incorrect verb tenses, it can help you catch typographical errors and simple misspellings.
- Double-check proper nouns. If you’re including the name of someone in your CV, double-check its spelling. It will be far less impressive that you worked on a project for Bill Gates, if you misspell his name.
- Double-check word usage. If you want to use larger words in your CV, be sure you understand their meanings. Commonly misused words, such as tantamount and paramount, will do the opposite of making you sound smart if you choose the wrong one.
- Read your CV out loud. Often, reading your CV out loud will not only help you catch improperly used words but it will also help you spot any awkwardly worded sentences.
- Print out a copy of your CV. Sometimes, seeing your CV on paper will help you spot errors your eyes may have glanced over on your computer monitor.
- Give yourself a break. You’ve likely spent hours creating your CV. When you’re finished, take a break and walk away. Come back with fresh eyes to catch any errors you may have missed.
- Double-check your verb tenses. When discussing a current position and your current responsibilities, it’s acceptable to use the present tense. However, when discussing past positions and accomplishments, verbs should be in the past tense.
- Double-check your CV formatting. Ensure you use the same formatting the entire way through. Switching between bolding, underlining and italics can be confusing and looks erratic.
- Ask for a second set of eyes. Enlist the help of a friend or colleague to proofread your CV to ensure it is error-free. Choose someone you trust to not only catch typographical errors but to also to give you feedback on the quality of your content. Another option is to hire a competent proofreading service.
- Give it one last check. Even if you’ve gone through the other nine steps and are certain your CV is free of errors, review it one last time before you send it, especially if you’re printing it or converting it from one file format to another, in order to ensure it does not contain any random formatting errors.
Randall Davidson is the lead project manager for ProofreadingServices.Us, a San Francisco proofreading company. When he hires new project managers, he pays close attention to their CVs. If their CVs have errors, he moves on. It’s for this level of attention to detail that many job applicants hire ProofreadingServices.Us as a document proofreader.