23 Common CV Mistakes to Avoid At All Costs

Resume Help

Your resume serves as the tool to showcase your skills, education, professional background, and achievements, demonstrating to prospective employers that you’re a suitable candidate for the position.

However, crafting an engaging resume can be more challenging than it appears.

It’s highly likely that you might be committing one of the 23 frequently encountered resume errors that could potentially jeopardize your job prospects.

In this article, we’ll provide guidance on identifying these mistakes and offer advice on how to avoid them.

Let’s dive right in!

23 Top CV Mistakes to Avoid at All Costs

Poor Spelling and Grammar

If your CV has spelling errors, typos, and bad grammar all over it, you might be seen as a lousy communicator, careless, or uninterested in the position. Here are some grammar rules and tips to follow when writing your CV:

Weak Formatting

On average, a recruiter spends no more than 6-8 seconds reading a CV. If your CV doesn’t catch their attention in these brief seconds, they’re simply going to skip over it and move on to the next candidate. So, it’s very important to format your CV well so that the recruiter can find the information they’re looking for fast and easily. As general advice, we’d recommend you:

Making your CV Too Long

When writing your CV, you might be tempted to write down every one of your experiences and achievements (especially if you have extensive work experience). Don’t. A CV isn’t supposed to be your life story. Rather, it should be a short and concise document tailored to the job you’re applying for. So, aim for 1-2 pages max.

Not Tailoring Your CV to the Position

A CV isn’t supposed to be a one-size-fits-all document. Rather, it should be tailored to each type of position you’re applying for. It may take a little bit more work, but tailoring your CV to each application makes you stand out in the eyes of the recruiter, and shows them that you’re applying for their job (and not just reaching out to every company you find on the web). On that note, here are some tips on how to tailor a CV to a position:

Including References

Many candidates think that adding references to a CV makes them seem more transparent and reliable. However, that’s not true. A CV is only the beginning of the job application process, and references are usually explicitly requested further down the recruitment.

Not Including Hobbies & Interests

This one’s not exactly a CV mistake, but hear us out. Hobbies and interests, while an optional section of your CV, can actually help you stand out from the rest of the candidates. Namely, this section helps you in 3 ways:

Not Focusing on Your Achievements

Your work experience section is the core of your CV. This is what shows the recruiter that you’re a skilled candidate, as well as the right fit for the job. When listing your work experiences, instead of talking about your work responsibilities, focus on achievements instead.

Using Cliches (Without Backing Them Up)

CV cliches are overused words or phrases the majority of people include on their CVs. They make you appear unoriginal, lazy, and lower your chances of scoring an interview. Some of the most popular ones include words such as good communication skills, fast learner, attention to detail, creativity, passion, and so forth.

Not Including the Numbers

Want your CV to truly stand out from the rest? Always include numbers and data. Instead of saying something like:

Using the Wrong CV Template

Not all CV templates have the same effect. Some are visually appealing, easy to read and stand out from a pile of other applications. Other CV templates? Well, not so much. They have unnecessary and distracting graphics, unprofessional fonts, lack of consistency, strays of blank spaces, and so on – which makes them a nightmare to go through.

Leaving Out Social Media Links

70% of recruiters check your social media during the hiring process. So, it’s important that your social media profiles are presentable.

Inputting an Inappropriate Email Address

If a recruiter gets a CV from “[email protected]’, they most likely won’t bother to open the attachment at all. Make sure that your email address is both professional and presentable. We recommend following this format:

Putting the Wrong Contact Information

Imagine spending hours crafting the perfect CV, and then not getting hired just because the recruiters can’t contact you. Sounds like a nightmare, right? Well, that’s why you should always double-check your contact information to make sure everything’s correct and updated.

Exaggerating the Truth

Exaggerating the truth can make your CV stand out, but that’s about all of the good it brings. If you make it to the interview process, recruiters will likely perform a background check on you, and the exaggerations will catch up.

Ignoring Employment Gaps

Having employment gaps isn’t a deal breaker. The issue begins when you give no explanation for them. It leaves recruiters with plenty of room for imagination, and they will always assume the worst (e.g. you got fired, you’re lazy, and so on).

Lying

Lying in your CV is a big no-no. Although you could possibly get away with it, it’s really not worth the risk.

Including Your Headshot

Unless you’re applying for a modeling or acting job, in which appearance matters, we’d recommend not including a photo on your resume or CV.

Not Writing for ATS

Did you know that you can get your CV or resume discarded before the recruiter even lays eyes on it? Over 70% of job applications get disqualified by Application Tracking Systems (ATS) without being read.

Mentioning Salary Details

You should never mention salary details on your CV. Rather, salary negotiations are something you do at a later stage in the interviewing process.

Using Passive Voice

Using an active voice, as opposed to a passive voice helps deliver a clearer message.

Writing in the Third Person

Your CV is a document created by you, from a personal perspective. Hence, you should make sure you’re not separated from the experiences and accomplishments written inside it.

Including Personal Information

Your name, phone number, email, and address are all the personal details a CV needs to have. You’re not obligated and shouldn’t include any other personal information, as it’s irrelevant and can open the recruiter up to unconscious bias.

Not Proofreading

Proofreading is the last step in making sure that your CV is free of error and ready to send. The most common mistakes you should look out for are spelling mistakes, wrong sentence structure, typos, punctuation errors, and bad grammar.