INSIDE RECRUITMENT 5 CV Mistakes to avoid


Fraser Clarke

In our latest Odyssey Exclusives series we’re going to be doing something a little bit different.

Instead of the usual country guides and healthcare insights, we’re going to focus on the recruitment side of recruitment itself!

Our team are some of the most experienced in the business, and so we’ve decided to put together a series of articles focusing on our inside knowledge.

In the second in our all new and exclusive series, ‘Inside Recruitment’, we’re going to look at five commonly made CV writing mistakes to avoid. Remember most employers will make a decision on you within 50 seconds of reading your CV.

We read hundreds of CVs every year, and many people would be amazed at how many contain these simple errors. So make yours stand-out by avoiding them.

1 - Americanisms

This is especially pertinent for medics with English as a second language, where it can be tricky to spot - even with a word processing spellchecker.

Employers won’t mind if you use the English or American English spelling of words, so long as it is consistent throughout your entire résumé. Where many people fall down is by using both spellings of the same word or word grouping!

You wouldn’t write half a CV in Arabic and then switch to French, so why do the same with English? Not only does it show a lack of knowledge, it can also highlight a lack of attention to detail. In such a competitive environment something as simple as using a ‘Z’ instead of an ‘S’ could cost you a dream role.

Five Words to Watch For:

Centre (UK) - Center (US)
Licence (UK) - License (US)
Organise (UK) - Organize (US)
Behaviour (UK) - Behavior (US)
Leukaemia (UK) - Leukemia (US)

2 - Spelling and Grammar

Under the same theme as the use of Americanisms is the importance of quality spelling and grammar throughout your CV.

Again this appears basic, however the amount of simple spelling and grammar mistakes we see on a daily basis would shock you! Always make sure that your CV is checked on a word processor, and try and get it read over by a family member, friend or colleague.

We’d also recommend getting your CV read back to you, either in person or through a text-to-speech program. This can highlight any little errors, or sentences that simply don’t flow effectively.

3 - Too Long

Obviously we’d advise you to include all the information you need in your CV, but try not to make it into a short novel. We’ve seen CVs that stretch for more than 30 pages, and contain forensic levels of detail that are simply not relevant.

To avoid this situation - which could lead to potential employers failing to pick up on vital points in a sea of information - we’d recommend two things; using bullet points, and avoiding using large paragraphs of text.

Bullet points are a great way to convey important information in an attractive and easy to read way. Don’t be afraid to use them throughout your CV, and don’t forget that potential employers can always get in touch if they want more information.

Large paragraphs on the other hand neither look attractive nor contain only key information. They can become bloated with unnecessary words, and employers will skim-read them - potentially missing information you’d be keen to highlight in the process.

That’s not all - keeping your CV tight and concise will also save you time. What’s not to like?!

4 - Don’t Fabricate Anything

Considering making an achievement sound a bit more impressive, or adding in some information that’s untrue (however minor it may seem)? Don’t.

This must seem incredibly basic, but you’d be surprised by how many people extend their experience, scope of practice or skills to appear more attractive. We cannot stress enough how important it is to avoid doing this.

Not only will it be noticed by someone, it also marks you out as being untrustworthy. This is about the worst possible conclusion that a potential employer can draw, and will lead to almost immediate rejection from the role.

Further to this you risk damaging your reputation, as the medical sector is close-knit, and communication between hospitals is usually very open. 

Never consider typing anything but the truth in your CV, no matter how trivial any changes may feel.

5 - Avoid Making it Generic

Almost all modern CVs contain an unnecessary number of clichés and it has led to them losing their meaning. How do you expect to make your CV stand out when it contains, word for word, the same strengths as rival candidates? The following are the most overused, exasperating and meaningless, but try and avoid using any at all in yours if you can.

“I’m very enthusiastic” – It’s expected that everyone candidate will have an interested and open-minded attitude to the role they are applying for. Being enthusiastic about your speciality should be a given, and it acts as nothing more than a waste of words in a CV.

“I’m a hard worker” – The minimum expected of anyone in any field of employment is that they will work hard. You shouldn’t feel the need to point this out as the information you provide in your CV should showcase how hard you work.

“I’m a good problem solver” – Instead of using this cliché showcase situations where you have had to use problem solving skills in your professional career. This demonstrates to the person reading the CV that you do have experience that you feel would be relevant if you were to work for them.

Absolutely anyone can say that they are a good problem solver, but only those with hands on experience and evidence can prove it.

That marks the end of our CV writing articles, next week we’ll look at how to successfully negotiate your salary package

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