8 Common CV Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

  | Guest Blogger


Perfecting your CV is the first important step on your job search. If you get this right from the beginning, you’ll put yourself in a better position for finding your dream role. That said, writing a great CV can feel like a daunting task and many often fall at the first hurdle. But don’t worry! We’ve put together a guide to outline the most common mistakes job hunters make on their CV and how you can avoid these.

1. Getting too personal

When it comes to including your personal details at the top of your CV, you only really need to include your name, phone number and email address. Candidates often feel like they have to include their date of birth, age, gender or marital status! This is simply not true and can lead to discrimination or bias.

2. Not being completely honest

It can be tempting to lie or embellish the truth on your CV. After all, you want to sell yourself and stand out from the competition. But this is a bad idea. Even the smallest white lie could come back to bite you should recruiters or potential employers find out. Alternatively, you might find yourself in a job that you aren’t qualified for, or have no idea how to do! And that’s going to be bad news for both you and your new employer. So it’s best to always be honest, focus on your soft skills and show that you’re willing to learn.

3. Spelling mistakes

A CV with spelling mistakes is not going to make a good impression. It suggests poor attention to detail and doesn’t look very professional. Make sure to proof, proof and proof again! It might help to read your CV out loud to make sure there’s no mistakes and maybe ask someone else to take a look over it for you. After all, a fresh eye never hurts.

4. Not backing it up

Anyone can put together a list of their skills, but you need to back these up with examples. When talking about your previous employment, use facts and figures to illustrate your point, referencing your biggest achievements in your last role. This can help potential employers to better understand why you’d be right for the job and how you can benefit their business.

5. Being generic

You need to make sure you tailor each CV you write for the specific role and company you’re applying to. Recruiters receive hundreds of applications a day and they can spot a generic CV a mile off! Taking the time to tailor each application will prove that you are genuinely interested in the role and company, as well as increasing your chances of being invited for an interview.

6. Making it too long

If you’ve been in the game for a while, you might have a list of previous employers as long as your arm. And while it’s understandable that you want to sell yourself and give the recruiter as much information as possible, your CV shouldn’t be too long. Be sure to keep it to no more than two A4 pages in length, by only including the relevant information. Remember, recruiters are busy people and they don’t have time to thumb through pages and pages of irrelevant content.

7. Including references

You’re probably thinking ‘hang on, am I not supposed to include references?’ And yes more often than not you’ll have to provide references before you land the job. That said you do not need to include the full details on your CV. As mentioned above, space is precious and including the name, address and number of your previous employers can take up valuable space. Instead, simply include a sentence at the bottom of your CV that says ‘references available upon request’. You can give your new employer the details later should they need them.

8. Being too ‘unique’

Of course you want your CV to stand out, but trying to be too creative or unique can actually damage your chances of a recruiter reading it. It’s best to stick to a clear layout, with an easy to read font. You should also use bullet points and short paragraphs to make the information easy to digest.

In summary

Getting your CV right is your best chance of being invited to an interview. Be sure to put the time in to tailor and perfect every application you submit and avoid falling victim to these eight common CV mistakes.

Author's Bio: Natashia Larkin is PR & Communications Assistant for the UK’s leading independent job board CV-Library. For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice and Recruitment Insight pages.