Top 20 Common CV Mistakes
It is so easy to make mistakes on your CV, however the damage that a simple mistake can make to your application is impossible to repair. Getting your CV right is crucial to your job application! So here is a checklist to ensure that you prevent the common CV mistakes that could prevent you securing an interview.
CV mistake 1. Telling lies
Employers are getting increasingly skilled at separating fact from fiction on CV’s so it is likely that you will get caught. When references fail to check out, or CVs simply don’t add up then this almost always leads to job offers being withdrawn. If you are lucky enough to get the job, a lack of skills or experience will become apparent once you are in the role and incapable of doing the tasks assigned to you.
CV mistake 2. Including a photo
Unfortunately your good looks are unlikely to secure you an interview however your skills and experiences are. Including a picture on your CV only gives recruiters an opportunity to judge you and distracts from the relevant facts on your CV. Including a photo on your CV is however common in some parts of the World including the Far East and much of Europe however CV’s in the U.K rarely include photos.
CV mistake 3. Writing a novel
You may well have pages of information that you feel are important for your job application but concentrating on specific and relevant examples on less than two sheets of A4 will guarantee that it’s all vital information. No one wants to read your life story. Not all of it is relevant, and employers will not have the time to read it all. Recruiters will often have to filter through hundreds of CV’s so if yours doesn’t catch their immediate attention it is likely to end up at the bottom of the pile.
CV mistake 4. Using elaborate fonts and colours
Unless you are applying for a position in the design, art or media industry, it is not necessary to include borders, backgrounds or effects. In fact, it can be fairly distracting. Using a clear, easy to read font in a size that is not too big or too small is far more effective .
CV mistake 5. Divulging sensitive information
The recruiter doesn’t need to know the journey of your life so far. Our Writing a CV article covers all of the important details that you need to include in your CV, anything else can be left out. Definately do not include personal details such as NI and passport number especially if you are putting your CV online!
CV mistake 6. Always starting each sentence in the first person, i.e. I, Me and My
This is boring for the employer to read, demonstrates poor written communication skills and may also be misconstrued as arrogance. A CV is a communication document, therefore, it should be written in a concise manner. You should not use the words “I” or “me” when writing your achievements. For example: “I developed a new reporting system that allowed me to evaluate the performance of candidates.” Instead, use the following: “developed a new reporting system that allowed candidates performance to be evaluated.”
CV mistake 7. Using clichés
“I am a highly motivated individual who works well alone and as part of a team”. Although these are not the wrong words to use they certainly will not make you stand out from the crowd. The only time when it is helpful to use buzz words such as ‘dynamic’, ‘highly motivated’ and ‘proactive’ are if these words are backed up by examples! If you say that you possess ‘good communication skills’ or ‘problem solving skills’ you must be able to prove that you possess these said qualities.
CV mistake 8. Lacking specifics
When an employer looks at your CV, they need to know exactly what you have achieved in your previous roles and how this is relevant. If you were responsible for new business development, say exactly how you achieved this and include the results you achieved.
CV mistake 9. Incorrect contact details
Not getting any replies from employers about your CV? Check that your contact details are all up to date. Even if you are suitable for an interview no-one will be able to contact you if they are not!
CV mistake 10. Highlighting duties not accomplishments
Do not just list your job description because a recruiter doesn’t really care about what you were told to do by a previous employer. They are concerned about if you did these things well, how well you did them, and what your results were. A great example: “Leader of an 18 person team for product development of a multi-national manufacturer resulting in 6 new products and 5 patents in the last 12 months, producing sales of over £8 million pounds”.
CV mistake 11. Visually crowded or sparse
Your CV should be visually appealing! If it is too crowded it makes it difficult to read and assess. If your CV is too sparse it looks like you have few experiences and limited knowledge. It may be worth showing your resume to friends and family before sending it out. Do they find it readable and visually attractive?
CV mistake 12. Creating a general CV
You need to demonstrate to your potential employer that you want to work for their company not anyone else’s. They will expect you to clearly show how and why you fit the position in their specific organization.
CV mistake 13. Spelling mistakes, typos and grammatical errors
If you submit a CV with mistakes, it will look like you’re careless or couldn’t be bothered to check your work. So make sure you use a spellcheck! It is important to add that although spell checkers are useful they aren’t infallible. You should also go through your CV yourself and look for grammatical errors; it may be worth asking a friend or family member to go over it for you too.
CV mistake 14. Missing important information
Some criteria is necessary to create a successful CV, please refer to our Writing a CV for advice on what details you need to include.
CV mistake 15. Lacking a good opening
Your CV is a sales document! You are trying to impress your potential employer, grab their attention and encourage them to read on.
CV mistake 16. Being selfish
Talking about what you need rather than what you can do for the company!
CV mistake 17. Using a poor design and layout
This is the first thing that a recruiter will notice when reading your CV. If the design and layout of the CV are poor then a potential employer is unlikely to read it. Take a look at your CV are the headings logically ordered? Are there big blocks of text unbroken by bullet points or sub-headings? Things like this are extremely off-putting and may result in your CV being disregarded immediately.
CV mistake 18. Using out of date information
Your CV must include your most recent achievements and current contact details.
CV mistake 19. Being really dull
If you’re applying for a popular job that will probably gain interest from hundreds of other applicants then you must ensure that you stand out from the crowd. A dull CV is unlikely to secure you an interview.
CV mistake 20. Using a silly email address
It takes 5 minutes to set up a ‘professional sounding’ email address. Things like firstname.lastname@example.org sound unprofessional and give an instant negative perception of a candidate.