How can you be sure the recruiter looks at your CV for more than 6 seconds? By eliminating the most frequent errors on CVs in English created by French-speaking candidates.
In this 2-part series, you’ll learn exactly how to make your CV attractive, so the recruiter calls you for an interview.
1. No photo
There are a few exceptions to this: if you are applying to be a supermodel or a star in a film. But if you’re trying to get an office job, do not put a photo on your CV.
In the United States, many recruiters will automatically reject a CV with a photo on it. They’re afraid of being accused of discrimination if they hire (or not) a candidate based on their appearance.
It’s paradoxal in today’s hyper-connected world, where the recruiter can find your LinkedIn profile with a simple Google search. But you should not put a photo on your CV.
2. Too much personal information
Some people think they have to put their entire personal life at the top of their CV. The recruiter needs to easily see your contact information. That’s all they should see. You should never include personal information like age, marital status, or number of kids on your CV. Never.
There’s no need to specify that you have a driver’s license either. If the job requires that you drive, it’s understood that you have a driver’s license. Otherwise, the information is irrelevant.
What should you include: First name, last name. Physical address. City, postal code, and country. Phone number with country code. Email address. And that’s all.
3. A boring introduction
Many people include an objective statement at the top of their CV. It reads something like this:
“Objective: Administrative position with focus on Client Relations/Customer Service.”
If you responded to a job offer for an admin position that has a customer service element, this objective statement is boring. The only message it sends to the recruiter is “I read the job offer correctly.”
A career summary or branding statement will grab the recruiter’s attention and tell them about your unique qualities and skills. On average, a recruiter spends 6 seconds looking at a CV before deciding to keep it or trash it. A good branding will make sure your CV doesn’t land in the trash can.
Want help creating your branding statement? Watch this video lesson.
4. Terrible titles
It’s easy to badly translate the section titles on your CV. You might thing that “compétences” translates to “competencies” in English. After all, they look very similar. But in English, “competencies” doesn’t sound very natural.
Some common, correct titles are
Academic background / Education
You can find more examples in this video lesson.
5. Your diplomas in V.O.
France has great schools, but in an international market, no one understands the mysteries of the French diploma system. CAP? BTS? DUT? As we say in English “It’s Greek to me”, meaning “I’m totally lost as to what that means.”
You can included the French title of your diploma, but to allow the recruiter to understand, give an equivalent in the education system of the country that you’re applying to.
If the recruiter asks for an English CV, but in a non-English speaking country, it’s ok to choose an American or British equivalent to your diploma. Just be consistent: All British equivalents or all American equivalents.
A good example looks like this:
Maîtrise in human resource management (Equivalent to an MSc), EMLYON Business School (Lyon, France)
Be sure to read Part 2 of 10 Errors To Avoid On Your CV In English, where you’ll learn about translating your diplomas, verb forms, and British vs American English.
Get 3 lessons to help you prepare your job interview in English. Why?
Because, in the words of one recruiter “We want to see that the candidate is prepared, that they know how to talk about their work in English, and that they’re clear.”
An American living in France since 2004, Christina coaches clients to better communicate in English through face-to-face and distance training programs. With her YouTube channel Speak English with Christina, she is on a mission to make it fun and easy to become fluent in American English.