Job hunters across the country are committing common CV mistakes and not spending enough time on their CVs which is costing them new roles, according to new research among careers advice experts.
Almost 80% of advisers from the National Careers Service said that the most common mistake people made was sending generic CVs to employers and two-thirds (66%) also said that this mistake was the one most likely to stop a candidate being put forward for an interview.
Meanwhile, research among the nation’s job seekers reveals a quarter (24%) of the people questioned admitted to not having tailored their CVs to jobs in the past, with 40% of unemployed people saying that not tailoring a CV to specific job requirements was a frequent mistake they made.
Other common CV mistakes mentioned by careers adviser were failure to highlight the candidate’s strengths (76%), length of the CV (65%) and spelling mistakes (61%). However, a third (30%) of the people surveyed were not aware of having made any mistakes on their CVs.
And while almost 60% of careers advisers suggest people spend an hour a week working on their CVs, only 30% of job seekers actually do.
To help combat the problem, the National Careers Service has launched a new dedicated hour of CV support on Twitter and Facebook – dubbed #cvoclock – from 1 to 2pm every Monday, the most common time of the week for people to work on their CVs, according to the research.
Joe Billington, Director of the National Careers Service, said:
“Our advisers report a real careers void when it comes to writing CVs. People know that they are making mistakes, but not spending enough time on making sure their CV is fit for purpose.
“A CV is an applicant’s shop window and it’s vital that people spend at least an hour a week keeping their CV up-to-date and tailoring it for each application. With the right advice and support anyone can turn their CV from a careers void into a careers victory.”
Jennifer Kneafsey, Careers Adviser at the National Careers Service, said:
“CV writing can be lonely and hard, in particular for those affected by unemployment or redundancy. We know that many unemployed people need help with their CVs and careers advisers each deal with up to 50 CVs on a weekly basis. #cvoclock will support, encourage and bring people together on Twitter and Facebook each Monday between 1pm and 2pm to dedicate an hour to their CVs.”
Luke Morgan from Somerset who was out of work for three months before getting in touch with the National Careers Service said:
“I contacted the National Careers Service after having been made redundant from my job as a chef. At that time I was applying for 17 jobs a week without any success. I realised that it was my CV that prevented me from securing interviews.
“The careers adviser at the National Careers Service gave me lots of advice on my job search, especially my CV. She showed me what didn’t need to be in there, what to add in, how to structure it and how to tailor it to the jobs I wanted to apply for.
“After sending out ten copies of my new CV, I was invited to four interviews in only a week. I quickly secured a temporary and followed this with a permanent full-time security role.
“Without the improved CV, I’m sure I wouldn’t have had any job offers. Even if I had the confidence to apply for the job I am in now, my CV wouldn’t have made the cut.”
Lisa Crawford, Head of Recruitment at HSS Hire said:
“It does not surprise us that the most common CV mistakes careers advisers encounter are generic CVs which are not tailored to the position the candidate applies for. Unfortunately, this is something that we see on many applications we receive. We welcome the CV O’Clock initiative to encourage more people to improve their CVs and help them be more successful in securing employment.
To take part in #cvoclock, simply post your question on Twitter on Monday between 1pm and 2pm using the hashtag #cvoclock, or follow the National Careers Service on Facebook.
In addition, participants will be able to join the community of job hunters by sharing any hints and tips they come across, CV tools that they have used or even the music that they listen to that keep them motivated. To visualise this participants will be able to plot their location on a CV O’Clock roadmap and share with the community how they are working on their CVs.
The National Careers Service has also launched a new application (app) called ‘Career Advice’ for Android and Apple smart phones and tablets. The Career Advice app makes it easier for people to access careers advice and make informed decisions on learning, training and work opportunities. In addition, the app also provides support regarding finding and organising a job search whilst on the move.
The Career Advice app provides learning and work related information, including an interactive careers toolkit to develop a CV, search for work, prepare for an interview and more. The app can be downloaded for free from the Google Play for Android users and from the Apple Store for Apple customers.
The National Careers Service is available to everyone aged 13 and over in England. It provides free impartial advice on all jobs and careers related matters.