Test Your CV #1

Answer the following 20 questions regarding your CV with either a “yes” or “no”. Calculate your score according to the list at the end. You start out with 26 points. The person with the highest score at the end wins! Pass it around your office and amongst your friends.

  1. Is it longer than 3 pages? …….. (It’s a “fast food” market – be quick, be sharp, not long winded or verbose – no-one’s going to read it all.)
  2. Do you have a front page with only “CV of Your Name” in large letters on it? …….. (Leave grand entrances for Diva’s. It’s a waste of space and time.)
  3. Have you named your CV – that you send as an e-mail attachment – something like CV2003.doc? …….. (Imagine instead something like this, mine – “G le Roux – WOW! CV Writer.doc”. More compelling? You bet.)
  4. Have you included comments about your health, or family? …….. (Is this info really going to help the reader make a decision to hire you? No. In most cases it’s just not relevant. It shouldn’t occupy prime space on your CV.)
  5. Do you write your CV anew for each application? …….. (Edit it. Adapt it. Tailor it to meet the needs of the potential employer/position.)
  6. Have you included an “Objective” section which clearly states what job you’re looking for? …….. (Show you have some focus, energy and determination to take a particular direction OR you otherwise may come across weak and directionless.)
  7. Is your “Objective” section longer than 3 or 4 lines? …….. (Make it snappy. It stands more chance of being read and absorbed.)
  8. Have you given your Matric as much space on the page as your Degree/Diploma? …….. (Does it deserve as much space? NO! Give more prominence to your more relevant, recent, and heavy-weight qualifications.)
  9. Do you have more than 5 points in your “Duties” section? …….. (There’s actually no rule here but just don’t go on and on and on. Spend some time summarising what you did. More than a few points won’t be ready by many.)
  10. Have you listed any of your achievements anywhere? …….. (Achievements give the reader reason to think you’re not just a “bum on a seat”, but that you actually make a difference.)
  11. Have you listed fewer achievements than you have duties? …….. (They shouldn’t get lost in the crowd.)
  12. Have you placed your “Achievements” section toward the end of your CV? …….. (Like on the last page? Forget it. If you’ve accomplished good things, then say so. Employers want you to be a success for them too.)
  13. Are there any paragraphs longer than 4 lines anywhere in your CV? …….. (They simply won’t be read.)
  14. Have you stated specifically, anywhere in your CV how you benefit an employer? …….. (Or do you leave it to them to figure it out? Say it. State it. Make a personal commitment. Make your intentions clear. Say what benefit you’re likely to be.)
  15. Have you included positive quotes from referees regarding your past work performance? …….. (If you haven’t, why not? It’ll make your story more credible – unless you have lousy references, of course.)
  16. Have you had your CV format and spelling checked by someone other than yourself? …….. (Don’t assume you’re a word processing wizard – get someone who knows business documents, MS Word, or whatever package you use, and how to correctly align things.)
  17. Have you given more than 1/2 a page of space to jobs you did more than 10 years ago? …….. (Summarise! Older experience will rarely help you land your next job. If they want details they can ask.)
  18. Have you used industry buzzwords and jargon to impress the reader? …….. (Don’t. Keep it simple, easy to read. Don’t assume the reader knows all your technical jargon.)
  19. Have you made any spelling mistakes? …….. (They can make you look foolish.)
  20. Does your covering letter basically say “Here’s my CV for the position you advertised?” …….. (There’s so much more you can do to make the reader turn EAGERLY to you CV.)

Calculate your score – if you answered:

1. Yes. Minus 1 point for every page more than 3
2. Yes. Minus 1 point
3. Yes. Minus 1 point
4. Yes. Minus 1 point
5. No. Minus 2 points
6. No. Minus 1 point
7. Yes. Minus 1 point
8. Yes. Minus 1 point
9. Yes. Minus 2 points
10. No. Minus 2 points
11. Yes. Minus 1 point
12. Yes. Minus 1 point
13. Yes. Minus 1 point for each
14. No. Minus 2 points
15. No. Minus 1 point
16. No. Minus 1 point
17. Yes. Minus 1 point
18. Yes. Minus 1 point
19. Yes. Minus 1 point for each
20. Yes. Minus 2 points

So how did you do?

26 points – WOW!

20-25 points – Your CV is above average but there could be some crucial errors.

15-19 points – You’ve definitely made some crucial errors that could really set you back.

10-14 points – Unless you have very special, in-demand expertise you are unlikely to get response.

5-9 points – Your CV is hurting your chances of getting a job badly.

0-4 points – Don’t send your CV out!

Less than 0 – Look on the bright side – things can only get better!

[Copyright 2003 © Gerard le Roux, The Job-Search Clinic www.jobsearching.co.za and www.wowcv.net.]

Please note: This test is a general guide, not a rule-book! It’s also just a list of some of the ways on which your CV will be judged by employers.