I’ll be honest with you: I haven’t been working in multilingual recruitment that long. But, at the same time, I have made up my mind pretty quickly on what things really, REALLY put me as a multilingual recruiter off certain CV’s.
What is a CV?
A CV is an accurate, professional and tidy way of quickly introducing yourself to a potential employer. I would underline the word employer – because you are not talking to a family member, or a friend. Your CV needs to be professional with NO grammatical or spelling mistakes. Every CV should start bearing those 3 key factors in mind.
Now,let’s dive into some handy & quick points to illustrate what most definitely puts me off a CV when i'm sieving through CV's to help those looking to work abroad.
I’ll admit it’s a recurring issue we have in the multilingual recruitment industry – there is no reason you should write things that are not true. You may think that they will impress the recruiter/employer, but honestly it just turns them off. Don’t say you speak B2 level of any language when in reality all you can do is have a quick conversation with a friend.
I get that nowadays there’s a wave of creativity involved in designing CVs to try to stand out, but at times it just gets out of control. I know PDFs look cool, but the good old Microsoft Word file is still the best way to go. Unless you’re applying for a job in Google, forget about brainstorming employers with clouds of words that represent your skills, or diagrams with your work experience, or pictures and drawings for anything you’ve done in your life. That is definitely a great way to fast track your CV to the ‘’Recycle Bin’’. Why? Because your CV didn’t follow 1 of the 3 key factors: Professionalism.
Pictures. Bad ones.
I am originally from Italy and in that country it seems employers still require pictures on CVs. Some Recruiters/Employers like to see who could be working for them, who they will meet during the interview process. However, there are candidates that have CV pictures that honestly belong on Social Media. I’ve seen bathroom selfies, photos from last year's holiday on the beach, full body pics... Let's keep them on the hard drive shall we?
If you are applying for a language job abroad where English is required, you have to present your CV in English, and since you’re doing that, you better triple-check it for mistakes. Sometimes it’s just a matter of hitting the wrong button on the keyboard, sometimes it’s a matter of not knowing the spelling for certain words (tip: address goes with 2 “D’s”). Either way, Microsoft Word has a great tool: spelling & grammar check. It’s there, it’s free, so do make sure you use this wonderful tool before you submit your CV.
Hobbies that have no business being on a CV:
Sounds pretty bad to put it this way but hey, that’s the way it is! Hobbies such as travelling, dancing, reading or playing sports are fine. They can help to show you’re an educated, outgoing, or a multicultural person; nothing wrong with that. Things such as “making dreadlocks” or “watching every episode of Breaking Bad from the first to the last season” are good just for a laugh in the office! (Believe me, one of the two is a real example, the other one, very close to.. I’ll let you guess which one is which)
It’s known that the average time a recruiter spends on a CV ranges from 5 to 20 seconds. You have to tell them who you are, what you know, what experience you have, and anything else that can relate to your professional career at home or abroad. Now, if you list, for instance, one or two pages of various courses (especially you, IT folks!) that’s not doing me any favours – if we are seriously interested we can always ask. Or, if you have worked 2 language jobs for a total of 2 years and your CV is 5 pages long, unless your last language job was Vice-President of the U.S.A., then I believe we’re not on the same page. Keep it short, on the point, and use KEYWORDS!!
Like I mentioned in the beginning, you are prefessionaly interfacing with your potential employer – not a family member or friend. Therefore, words such as “chilling out”, or “have a good time”, or “sick” are out of question. You are not speaking about last night at the bar and you are not trying to say how much you’re enjoying life: you’re trying to secure a multilingual job!
I’m sure I’m forgetting something along the way.. but I’ll get back to you in a few weeks maybe. I’m fairly sure I’ll see my share of curiosities in the meantime!