A jobseeker turned to the Reddit community for a critique of their CV and received a masterclass in resume building. The feedback highlighted common errors and provided a wealth of targeted advice, turning a personal plea into a public lesson in job application dos and don’ts.

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Key takeaways

  • Professionalism in language and presentation is crucial for a strong CV.
  • Concrete evidence of skills and experiences wins over vague claims.
  • A CV should be clean, scannable, and devoid of self-criticism.
  • Tailored and proofread content significantly boosts job application success.

The CV in question belongs to Alison Brown, a proactive high school student stepping forward into the adult world of work. Anticipating the future challenges of the job market, Alison sought the wisdom of the Reddit community for feedback on her CV as she prepares for the transition from adolescence to professional life.

Initial impressions

At first glance, Alison’s CV signals ambition and a readiness to embrace a variety of skills. Her academic credentials are promising, having achieved noteworthy grades in her GCE AS-Level in 2022-2023 and a set of strong IGCSE results between 2020-2022, covering rigorous subjects like Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics, English, Global Perspectives, ICT, and French.

The CV reflects a well-rounded candidate, listing a range of extracurricular activities such as Taekwondo, participation in the World Scholars’ Cup, Olympiads in various subjects, and engagement with Model United Nations. These activities suggest Alison is not just academically inclined but also proactive in expanding her horizons through diverse interests.

Under the ‘Skills’ section, Alison describes her capabilities in writing, coding, languages, and photo and video editing. She notes her long-standing involvement with writing, expressing concerns about seeing projects through to completion. In coding, Alison mentions familiarity with Python 3 and JavaScript, and while she claims to be comfortable with basic Python, she acknowledges being relatively new to JavaScript and expresses a commitment to further learning through platforms like Codecademy.

The image of the CV that a user asks Reddit community to evaluate
The user’s CV (click to see a large image)

Alison’s linguistic prowess is evident in her affinity for languages, as she mentions studying Mandarin, Korean, and Japanese, while also highlighting fluency in French and English. She points to a fast learning curve but admits to slowing down due to academic commitments. Her skill in photo and video editing is described with a hint of self-criticism; she identifies as a perfectionist, which she feels may slow down her work.

The ‘Profile’ section presents a self-analysis that may resonate with many young individuals preparing for the workforce: hardworking, analytical, and self-reflective, yet candid about the tendency to overthink, which Alison perceives as a double-edged sword in assessing situations and solving personal issues.

Critical Feedback

Alison Brown’s CV was analyzed critically yet instructively by Reddit’s community of career veterans and resume experts. While Alison’s initiative was admirable, her CV resembled that of a novice’s first trip into professional self-presentation.

To begin with, typos and spelling errors were also a point of contention. The misspelling of “Japanes” and “simultaneously” were not just seen as oversights, but as red flags on her writing ability, which was listed as one of her skills. One user left a sincere comment, stressing the importance of attention to detail:

“You misspelled Japanese and simultaneously in the language section.”

One Redditor’s advice cut to the heart of the matter, criticizing a user’s crucial misstep in presenting technical skills – the lack of industry-standard language that could undermine Alison’s credibility:

“Saying you’re conversant with python 3 and JavaScript makes you seem like you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

Attention was also drawn to the need for a professional tone, with one user suggesting a rewrite to exclude any mention of a career shift, a detail that could detract from her current application focus.

The feedback didn’t stop at surface-level issues. The advice often went deeper, addressing the substance of Alison’s self-presentation. “Don’t use overly fancy language, don’t draw attention to negative attributes about yourself,” a Redditor counseled, pointing out that a resume should highlight strengths unequivocally, without hedging or self-deprecation.

“Extracurriculars are probably completely unnecessary,” another advised, suggesting a recalibration of the resume’s focus. Moreover, the same user critiqued the unprofessional appearance of the CV and the excessive space devoted to a non-essential section, recommending a template that was found to be more fitting within the Reddit community.

The critiques collectively highlighted the need for authenticity and demonstrated competence in the coding section as well, with one user bluntly stating,

“The coding section screams to anyone reading it that you’re lying.”

They recommended showcasing actual coding projects, as evidence of skills can often speak louder than words on a resume.

In summary, the critique Alison received on Reddit, while at times harsh, was underpinned by a desire to guide her towards a more effective self-presentation, emphasizing professional polish, precision in language, and the powerful impact of a well-crafted, substantiated skills section.

Common CV Mistakes to Avoid

It is necessary to keep in mind that Alison’s CV is her first effort at engaging into the process of personal branding. As with any first draft, it is only the beginning, and it will certainly grow as she incorporates the great views of the Reddit community.

Creating an effective CV is an art that often poses challenges even to seasoned professionals. For Alison, a high-school student at the threshold of her career, the task is understandably daunting. Yet, it’s a crucial skill to develop, as a CV is often the first impression a potential employer has of a job seeker.

To assist Alison and others in her position, here’s a compiled list of common pitfalls to avoid, juxtaposed with recommended best practices. This table of Dos and Don’ts is universally applicable, serving as a guideline for job seekers at any stage of their careers.

👎 Don’ts 👍 Dos
use casual language for technical skills. use precise, professional terminology.
mention intentions to change career paths in the CV. focus on the current career path and relevant skills.
draw attention to personal weaknesses. highlight strengths and accomplishments.
leave proof of skills and experience to the imagination. provide concrete examples and evidence of your abilities.
overlook typos and spelling errors. meticulously proofread your CV.
make the CV overly stylized. maintain a clean, professional format.
use overly fancy or complex language. keep the language clear and straightforward.
list skills without substantiation. include specific projects and achievements.
focus too much on extracurriculars. balance personal interests with professional qualifications.
be self-deprecating or negative. present yourself confidently.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Reddit community rallied to provide Alison with an invaluable critique, which, although blunt, was filled with the kernels of wisdom necessary for a standout CV. The consensus was clear: with the feedback given, Alison is on the right path to creating a compelling resume that could open doors to new opportunities. “Overall a great start and I do like the fonts! Good luck!”


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