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10 classic IT contractor CV Mistakes
Posted Jan 6, 2009
Whatever means of delivery your use - post, email, or social networking sites, the rules for successful CV writing are the same. You have a matter of seconds to deliver some real impact before a recruiter decides to place your details for further consideration, or casts your CV to one side.
Here are some tips to help you provide the right information to recruiters, and deliver some impact.
1) Personal Information Overload - A potential employer will need to know your name and date of birth. You religion, marital status and race really aren't worth mentioning on your CV.
2) Too Long - Many recruiters may spend 30 seconds scanning the average CV. Many CV "experts" recommend writing a CV of no longer than two pages - any more and the recruiter will simply switch off.
3) Grammar and Spelling - Make sure you run your CV through a spell checker, and ask a colleague or friend to read it first before submitting to a potential employer.
4) Presentation - Don't bother with fancy covers or coloured text. Produce your CV in a uniform, standard font. Try to avoid large blocks of text - break up larger chunks of information to make them more easily digestible. Photos should definitely be avoided.
5) For non-email distributed CVs (a rarity these days), print each copy individually, and try to avoid photocopies as that may imply that your CV has been mass produced.
6) Negative Information - Your CV is a marketing tool, so avoid mentioning any negative work or business experiences. Information such as your reasons for leaving a previous IT contract should not be mentioned as this can be discussed at the interview stage.
7) Overdoing It - Boasting on a CV can be as dangerous as including the negatives. Many people will overstate their abilities (e.g. "UNIX skills - Excellent" may be better presented as "UNIX skills - strong knowledge".
8) Hobbies - Although handy as a conversation starter, try to keep this information to a minimum. "I have a golf handicap of 21 - I play a great deal and participate in a number of tournaments when time allows" could be abbreviated to "Golf".
9) Results - As well as listing your roles and responsibilities during your contracting career, try to point out the results you have achieved on each project. Potential employers are more likely to interview you if you have a track record of success.
10) Chronology - Make sure you can account for any "gaps" in your CV. As candidates in successive series of BBC's "The Apprentice" have found out, there is nothing more embarrassing than being caught out when you can't explain where a few months of your working life disappeared to.
Also see our guide on how to write a good IT Contractor CV.
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