8 mistakes to avoid on your CVPosted on 09/11/21
Your CV is absolutely crucial in getting you to the interview stage of the recruitment process, so you want to make sure your CV stands out from the pile and leaves your potential employer in no doubt that you are right for the job.
You need your CV to demonstrate with confidence that you have the right experience, transferable skills and potential to do the job as well as a genuine interest in the role.
Here are 8 things to avoid on your CV if you don’t want to ruin your chances before you even start.
- Spelling and grammatical errors
Let’s start with the obvious. Spelling and grammatical errors are always a big no-no. You’re trying to stand out from the pile with a very short timeframe to capture attention, and errors like this show a lack of attention to detail which ultimately shows a lack of effort. Always double-check what you’ve written, use a spellcheck and, if possible, have someone else proofread it for you too.
- Lying about your experience or qualifications
Some people seem to think it’s common practise to lie on your CV, but even little white lies can damage your chances of getting the job. Not only will things be checked by the employer and you’ll instantly be ruled out if you’re found to be lying, but this can also trip you up if you get to an interview stage and either contradict what you’ve written or can’t answer something you’ve said to know.
- Irrelevant personal information
Photos, date of birth and an extensive list of hobbies are unnecessary and unhelpful on a CV. Try to link everything back to the company and the role you are applying for and ask yourself if it is relevant. If your interests have given you transferable skills or showcase your values that relate to the job, then add them in and make sure to highlight why it’s relevant.
- Waffling on for pages and pages
With an average of 7 seconds to capture an employer’s interest, you want to keep your CV short, sweet and punchy so they don’t have to dig through pages and pages for the relevant information. Try to keep it to no more than two pages. Tailor your CV to each role and focus on your most recent and relevant skills, achievements and experience and make it easily digestible to the reader.
- Bad formatting
Easily digestible and visually appealing is key. Avoid fancy borders and pictures, instead make sure your fonts are readable and consistent, use bullet points when relevant and avoid long, waffly paragraphs. Although the goal is to make the recruiter read and actually digest the information, rather than just scan through, your CV should still be easy to glance through and pick out all the key points.
- Adding references
References will be requested at a later stage (if you make it that far) so adding them to your CV is simply a waste of valuable space.
- Unexplained gaps in employment
Obvious, unexplained gaps can raise questions. If you took some time off, is there a reason you can give as to why - were you on maternity leave? Studying a course? Travelling abroad? It’s better to address the reason head-on than to leave a suspicious looking mystery period.
- Overuse of vague buzzwords
Are you a dynamic, hard-working, results-driven team player who works well under pressure and as part of a team? You and every other applicant. Buzzwords are too generic and won’t make your CV stand out from the pile. Be as specific as you can with the information - how did you get these skills, why are they relevant, and what success have you achieved through them in the past? Use stats when relevant - if you increased sales in your last company, by how much in how long?
Your CV has got to pack a punch and get you noticed if you want to get that invite to an interview, and making the mistakes above will get you noticed for all the wrong reasons.
It has a tough job, but if you avoid these "no-no"s, you will give yourself the best chance of it actually being read and considered.
Remember, avoiding these mistakes is just the first step. Your CV has to sell you. It has to make you sound interesting. It has to make you sound as though you will fit into the organisation and that you’ll make a quick and substantial difference.