10 CV Mistakes to Need to Avoid If You Want Your Application to Be Successful

Your CV has one sole purpose – it’s a twenty-second interview to see if you’re good enough to warrant a conversation or a face-to-face interview. If your CV is poorly written, you’re not going to be interviewed even if you have all the skills, knowledge, qualifications and experience.

As a recruiter, I look at thousands of CV’s each week. After looking at a few thousand, trends, mistakes, what’s right and what’s wrong start to stand out. Remember, your CV is your first chance to impress. If it’s not written correctly, or you have made silly CV mistakes, they will be noticed and could mean the difference between getting the interview and not.

Spelling and Grammar Errors

When you’re writing your CV, you need to make sure that there’re no spelling or grammar mistakes.It’s a great idea to send your CV to a few friends and ask them to check your CV for mistakes. Words mis-spelt stick out like a sore thumb and tell the employer that you could not be bothered to check your work.

Formatting and Fonts

It’s important to make sure that your CV stands out in a good way. Using different colours, font sizes, even pictures can look fantastic if done well, but too often appears childish. Remember, just because you think your CV is perfect, doesn’t mean your hiring manager will feel the same.

Please watch out for long paragraphs or blocks of texts. Remember, at best I will give you CV 20 seconds and blocks of text are very easy to skim over and not pay attention.

ATS – Applicant Tracking Systems

You need to understand the power of technology in the world that we live in today. Technology plays an important part to help companies search through the thousands of CVs and CV’s that are received each week. A typical company will receive tens-of-thousands of CVs each year.

Even with the largest recruitment teams, it’s just impossible to review each CV manually. This means that keywords are being used to search through CVs sorting out those that are relevant and those that are not.

When writing your CV, you need to make sure that you include both keywords that are relevant to your experience, the role that you’re applying for and the company that you’re applying to.

What Is It?

Your CV is a marketing document where you can showcase your experience, knowledge and get yourself a face-to-face interview. I want to see a professional, well thought out report, not your art project. Let’s keep out, the clip art, glitter, strange colours, and pictures.

A candidate recently sent me their CV which has a picture of sheep wearing purple shoes. I am not sure what they were meant to represent as I hit the “delete button” pretty quickly.

It’s a Bit Short

CV length is important. Your CV should be between 1-2 pages in length, however filling out your CV with “waffle” and large gaps does not look great. If you’re short of experience and having problems filling the page, include relevant school courses, and extra-curricular activities. Please make sure you explain how they’re going to help you in your career.

For example, if you played first-team football, rather than just saying that you played first-team football you could say something like, “I played 1st 11 Football which showed me the importance of being a team player.”

It’s Too Long

Even if you have had a 30-year career, you need to keep your CV to a maximum of three pages. Employees are only interested in what you have done in the last ten years. Use your space wisely and don’t be scared to drop off or put together into one paragraph your early positions.

Don’t Bend the Truth

If you lie on your CV, most likely you will be caught out. We are not stupid and if we’re going to employ you there will be a background check to include references. Most big cities are not that big, no matter what company you’ve worked for, I will be able to find someone who has worked there whom I can check up on you.

One key point is to watch out on languages that you can speak and those that you know a few words. Often hiring managers are looking for candidates that speak a specific language and will use an applicant search system to search for language skills. If you have put on your CV that you can speak French, but in reality, you can only say a few words, your CV will be discarded and worse still you will not be considered for other roles now or in the future.

Most likely your CV will be marked for the future as a candidate who lied, and there will always be the question about what else you’re not telling the truth about.

Job Dates

You need to makes sure that you include that dates that you joined a company and the dates that you finished a company within your CV as they’re essential to employers. Employers want candidates that have had long careers with few companies.

2012-2013 could mean that you have spent two years at a company or it could say that you spent two months and did not make it through the trial period. Dates without their months usually mean that you have something to hide.

Check Your Email and Telephone Number

If I had been given one dollar for each time a candidate had sent me their CV for only either the phone number or their email address not to work, I would be retired living on a beach buy now.

Check yours before you send it to me.

What’s Your Email Address

Let’s make it professional. I have been sent CVs with an email address such as sexey@, greatstipper@ and ILOVEBEER@. Yes, I will remember them, but I am really not sure they’re professional. Also, try to make sure that they are not too complicated – tom34bdhi145@….!! Someone will make a mistake here.

Ideally, you should be using a professional email address that includes your domain name. If you need help creating your personal, professional email address, click here for step-by-step directions.

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Nick Jones

My name Nick Jones, I am a professional Head-Hunter with over 20 years of experience working all over the world. I specialise in out-of-the-box job search strategies to get your CV directly to the hiring manager, thus skipping any ATS portals or recruiters who think they're important.

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