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What Are Common CV Mistakes?

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What Are Common CV Mistakes?

What Are Common CV Mistakes?

A post from our Career Success blog

      Written by Jordan James
Writing a CV and sending it out to employers can be a nerve-racking experience. Creating the perfect CV that highlights your achievements and, more importantly, will get you the job takes some time and a little bit of practice.

However, it is worth the effort. Putting the time into getting your CV right means that, in the long run, you should be able to bag a job which suits you better and which ultimately makes you happier. Sounds like a worthwhile pursuit now, doesn't it?

CV Mistakes

I'm sure you have written several versions of your existing CV already, so I'm not going to go into the basics. Instead, I will focus on some of the most common CV mistakes people make and which you absolutely should not do when writing your CV. Use this as a checklist and you'll be one step closer to creating the perfect CV and getting that dream job.

The 10 Most Common CV Mistakes

1. Writing too much

It can be easy to get carried away and elaborate on every job you've ever had, but remember that employers are busy people. Studies show that recruiters spend on average 5-7 seconds looking at a CV, which means that you need to get your point across as quickly as possible. This way, you'll demonstrate that you can be clear and to the point. Use bullet points wherever you can.

2. Poor spelling and grammar

Regardless of whether or not writing is a key part of the role you're applying for, you need to demonstrate that you have adequate skills in this area, as making mistakes suggests that you have a careless streak. Ask someone else to check your CV before you send it and read it out loud to yourself to ensure it flows well.

3. Mentioning duties rather than achievements

It might be tempting to hunt down your old job's description and copy it into your CV. but the person reading it will be far more interested in your actual achievements in the role. What impact did you have on the business? Think of successful campaigns, time-saving activities or securing new customers, for instance.

4. Making your CV too generic

Again, it might be very tempting to make your CV as universally appealing as a chocolate cake. However, this is in fact a rather damaging strategy, as it suggests that you are not thinking carefully about what a particular employer is looking for. Tailor the CV (and cover letter as well) to the specific job you're applying to, and you will see the benefits.

5. Going over two pages

Who, in our ever-evolving world, has time to wade through a CV that reads more like an essay? Give the employer a break and keep it short and sweet – two pages is more than enough room to persuade the person reading it to ask you for an interview.

6. Using clichés

Clichés on a CV are about as meaningful as a thank you card with the sentiments pre-printed. If you desperately feel you need to use one, at least link it in with something you have actually physically done. For instance, ‘worked well in a team to build a more user-friendly client database' sounds a thousand times better than just simply ‘worked well in a team'.

7. Not including all relevant information

If you have any gaps in your CV, make sure to explain these so that your potential employer doesn't find them suspicious. Were you at university, unwell or simply trying to figure out what you wanted to do? Try to explain how these periods of time gave you transferable skills. Honesty is best in the long run.


8. Being imprecise

Although some people think that using jargon-filled sentences in their CVs will make them sound more professional, in reality, this is not the case. Which of these sentences sounds better: I'm looking for ‘a challenging role that offers opportunity for professional growth in a facilitative sales environment', or ‘an entry-level sales position which will allow me to use my previous experience and skills to meet and exceed sales targets'? Being specific helps to express precisely what you want from a job. It also helps the employer to work out if you would be a good fit for the position.

9. Including the wrong personal details

This is quite straightforward, but imagine the horror if your perfect CV didn't get you anywhere, simply because you entered the wrong contact details. Also, think about any hobbies or interests you mention in your CV. Although it's great that you like scuba-diving and bungee jumping, but is it relevant to the job?

10. Using a poor design

Black and white is the best way forward. Make sure that there is sufficient white space between blocks of text to to make your CV easier to read and digest, and ensure different section headings are in bold so they stand out.

Look at the key words you include on your CV too, as many agencies and individual companies have started using software to sift through the hundreds of CVs they are sent by looking for job-related key words. So, if you were applying for a customer service position based in a call centre, you should try and include key words on your CV such as ‘call centre agent', ‘call centre' and ‘customer service'.

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