Harsh as it sounds, a recruiter will sit down with a stack of CVs and in less time than they’d like, will have to work out who to see and who to throw in the discard pile.
Let’s face it – it’s a tough market out there and it's full of candidates with all the necessary qualifications and experience, so at this stage the recruiter is actively looking for reasons to reject CVs.
Your mission is to give them no reason to reject yours.
To help you succeed, we’ve listed the five things that are guaranteed to put any recruiter off. Take a look at your CV now and see if you’ve included any of them:
1. Unexplained gaps
There’s nothing more suspect on a CV than an unexplained gap, such as a few months between jobs, or a year after college before your first job. Maybe you had a series of jobs that didn’t work out, then again, maybe you just sat around not doing very much.
But if you did something like travelling and broadening your horizions, that's great! Use it as a positive thing and don't shy away from mentioning it. It’s going to look a lot better than having a huge time lapse in between jobs on your CV. Bear in mind that if you don't, the employer might jump to conclusions about what you were doing in that time.
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2. Unnecessary negatives
No doubt there’s a very good reason why you left your last job, and it's probably because you realised you were fed up with the job or you had nightmare colleagues. But don’t try to explain it on your CV. Just state the fact that you’re now available for work, and if the issue comes up at interview, then go into the details. However, never criticise your old company at interview. It's just not the done thing.
3. Irrelevant detail
It’s good to include personal interests and hobbies. It shows you have a life outside work and are a well-rounded person. But beware of including too much irrelevant detail. Does the recruiter need a list of every single country you’ve visited? Or that you achieved a 10 metre breaststroke badge when you were seven?
4. Vague claims and cliches
Avoid phrases like “I was responsible for the restaurant’s day to day operations”, or “I’m an experienced and successful barman”, or “I’m a team player”. These clichés do nothing to help the recruiter understand your achievements in your last job, and will make them suspicious that you might be concealing a lack of actual achievements.
Instead, provide specific detail. Tell them that you managed eight kitchen staff and six waiting staff at a 40-cover restaurant, ordering, taking and managing stock, and providing weekly profit and loss reports to senior management. Tell them that you have spent seven years working in a bar that has doubled takings in the time you have been there. Provide testimonials from current colleagues on how much they enjoy working with you.
Outright untruths might help you get an interview. On rare occasions they might even get you a job. And very, very occasionally you might be able to hold down that job for a while. But in the end you’ll get found out. So don’t do it.
If you pay attention to the above rules, clearly lay out your relevant qualifications, experience and career progression, describe how personal interests have built transferable skills, avoid basic mistakes with spelling, dates and so on, and above all else convey your enthusiasm for the job, and why you love the hospitality industry. It won't be long until you're winging your way to that all important interview and a fresh start in a new job.
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