Once you are happy with your CV, be sure to devote ample time to the editing process before sending it off.
You should view your CV as your first impression. Any sloppiness is considered to be a major (if not the number one) turn-off for recruiters.
Any of the following – if perceived as careless – can instantly land your CV in the “no” pile:
- Different fonts, font colours or sizes
- Inconsistent spacing in between sections
- Inconsistent alignment (such as dates that aren't indented consistently or bullet points that don't line up)
- Incorrect grammar or punctuation
- Spelling errors
- Formatting gimmicks
These elements need to be absolutely flawless - even if you're applying for a job where you won't be doing any writing at all.
What resources are available to help with editing?
Unfortunately, you can't rely on spell checkers to catch all of your mistakes.
Before submitting your CV, we recommend consulting the following resources to help ensure you're not making any glaring errors.
You can upload your CV into Grammarly's free grammar checker, as it can pick up more nuanced spelling, grammar and phrasing errors that Microsoft Word will not.
You can also install Grammarly's browser extensions for Chrome, Safari, Firefox or Edge to catch any errors in your emails and online forms.
There are some words in the English language that are often used incorrectly - even by native speakers.
The most common words that fall into this category include:
- effect vs affect
- principal vs principle
- then vs than
- who's vs whose
- it vs it's
- your vs you’re
- their vs there
You can consult this guide from Columbia's Law School to double-check the rules for their correct usage.
CV writing and, more generally, business writing are very particular writing styles.
What is acceptable in an academic setting, for example, will often come off as verbose and rambling on a CV.
To improve your business writing skills and learn how to craft clear, concise and persuasive documents, read through Harvard Business Review’s Guide to Better Business Writing.
The writing techniques discussed will help you write a more powerful, convincing CV and also improve your on-the-job communication skills.
How should I submit my CV?
When submitting your CV, we always recommend sending it in PDF format (as opposed to Word format).
By sending your CV in PDF format, you retain control over your document:
- You can be sure formatting will stay the same and will not change if someone opens your CV using a different version of Word.
- No one will be able to go into your document to accidentally modify it, potentially causing it to appear like you made an unintentional error.
- Today's applicant tracking systems are able to easily read PDF documents, ensuring your information gets translated accordingly.
About CV Pilots
CV Pilots is an award-winning executive CV writing, career coaching and outplacement firm. Our previous clients include CEOs and senior executives at the world's leading companies.
Here's how we can help you:
CV, Cover Letter and LinkedIn Writing: After a one-hour phone consultation, one of our expert writers will prepare your top-quality personal marketing materials from scratch.
Career Transitions: A powerful combination of our document writing and career coaching services helps position you to secure a new role.
We're a proud member of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches. All of our writers have studied at top-tier universities and have solid industry experience.