lady interviewing man and looking at his CV in horrow

CV Bloopers. The most common CV mistakes and how to avoid making them.

Your CV is the key to securing an interview for your dream accounting job.

So it’s absolutely a document that you should take great care in creating. Attention to detail is really important and getting a punchy two page CV together that doesn’t skip over any of your integral experience, qualifications, skills and qualities is a fine art.

As experts in accountancy recruitment, we’ve seen our fair share of CVs and we thought accountancy job seekers might find it helpful to know the most common mistakes we see time and time again. Make one of these CV bloopers and you can be sure your CV will be heading straight for the shredder! Know the pitfalls and you can be sure you don’t fall into them!

Here’s the most common mistakes accountants make when preparing their CVs:

1. Why use 100 words when you could use 100,000?

Because shortlisting managers don’t have time to read 100,000!

We recommend that your CV is two pages in length which can be a real challenge we know. Hiring managers want to see a sentence or two about why they should hire you, your relevant education (don’t dedicate a line to every GCSE – your C in food tech won’t get you shortlisted), your career experience, transferable skills and your contact information.

Oh and using a tiny, illegible font to ensure it fits onto two pages is not a solution!

2. Poor formatting.

In 2021 do you know what one of the most important additional skills a hiring manager cares about? Computer skills! And if your CV showcases a lack of basic IT knowledge you can guarantee it won’t make it to the YES pile.

Once you’re satisfied with the content of your CV you should be taking care to ensure it is formatted in a legible way (concise paragraphs, justified text, consistent font, font colour and font size.)

3. CV recycling.

Think you can just dig out the same CV that you wrote two years ago and send it off to every interesting looking job you see advertised? Think again!

Every time you send your CV to a hiring manager or an accountancy recruiter you should give it a full review and check that it is tailored towards that very job. If you’re applying for a role in audit, your audit experience should be jumping off the page! You should also make sure that any covering letter that you submit with your CV is personally addressed and contains a brief section about why this particular role is so attractive to you.

3. Spelling and grammar.

It’s not everyone’s number one skill and it always fascinates us that often people who are brilliant with numbers struggle with their writing skills. If you know you’re not a natural speller or you’ve fallen foul of costly apostrophe mistakes in the past, always get your CV proof read by someone who you know will pick up any mistakes.

Ever heard that saying…. ‘Grammar. The difference between knowing your sh@% and knowing you’re sh@%!’

4. Mind the gap.

Unexplained gaps in your CV will be a worry for a hiring manager so make sure you highlight reasons why you’ve taken a break. There’s no shame in taking a year’s sabbatical to focus on your family or your health or even to travel the world! So just use a few words to help those shortlisting feel comfortable with gaps on your CV.

5. Unjustified claims to greatness and outright lies.

Your CV is your opportunity to shout from the rooftops about all that you’re capable of, but be weary about coming across as cocky or failing to explain why you’re great at something.

Wherever possible ensure that you back up a claim with some direct evidence. So your first class leadership skills might be evidenced by low employee turnover and increased productivity during your tenure.

And as for outright lies, they usually stand out like a beacon when we’re sifting through CVs so just don’t even think about it.

‘At Public Practice Recruitment Ltd we want to see that the candidates we put forward to our clients are not only great accountants but also have great initiative, attention to detail and truly want this job, not just any job. And nine times out of ten we can gather that information just by reading their CV. If it’s not up to scratch it won’t make it to the hiring manager’s desk.’

Garry Howling, MD

So if you’re planning on making 2021 the year that you get the job you’re really aspiring towards, always have a winning CV template at hand and take a good amount of time to edit it for each and every job you apply for. We’d be delighted to receive it!

You can view the current vacancies we’re looking to fill here. Whether or not you see something that appeals to you, upload your winning CV. If it’s a great one, we’ll be sure to find you a great job with one of the brilliant firms on our extensive database who are always excited to know about the best talent on the market!



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