Getting your CV right is an important part of a job application. It’s often the first point of contact a recruiter has with you, so it’s essential to making the right first impressions. But, with so many applicants falling down at this first hurdle, what are the common CV mistakes you should be avoiding? Take a look at our checklist and ensure your CV is up to the job.
Table of Contents
1. Using an unsuitable email address
So you got your email account when you were 13 and you’re still using [email protected]? Get a new one, now. Fun and jokey email addresses will make recruiters think you’re unprofessional. Even if you only use a professional email address for job application, the 5 minutes it takes to set-up a new email account is worth the time investment.
2. Making spelling errors
Simple mistakes, like incorrect spelling and grammar, suggest that you have poor attention to detail. While spell-check is a useful tool, it shouldn’t be relied on, as it’s easy for errors to slip through. Before submitting your CV, give it a final read through – and get someone else to read it too – to make sure you’ve caught any mistakes.
3. Listing everything you’ve ever done
Your CV is not the place to list every achievement you’ve ever had. If it’s not relevant to your job, then there’s no need to include it. Before putting anything down on your CV, you should ask yourself if it is connected to the job you’re applying for.
4. Lying on your CV
You might think that one or two over-exaggerations will help you in the job search, but you’re likely to get caught out during an interview. This is a common CV mistake that will leave recruiters less than impressed, while you’ll still be left still hunting for a job.
5. Making your CV too long
Recruiters are busy people, who don’t have the time to read through lengthy documents. Keep your CV to two pages at most. This is enough space for even the most seasoned professional to provide all the essential information.
6. Not including industry keywords
Some companies, especially large organisations, are turning to technology to help with the initial sift through CVs. If the job is for an Event Organiser position and you fail to mention events in your CV, then you’re less likely to make the cut.
7. Writing lots, but not saying much
While it can be tempting to reach for the thesaurus when drafting your CV, over-the-top statements are a turn-off. Keep it short, sharp and to the point. Recruiters should be able to understand your skills and experience, without getting lost in descriptions.
8. Not tailoring it to each position
A one-size fits all approach will lead to a one-size fits none CV. Recruiters from different organisation will be looking for different skill and experience, so tailoring your CV to their requirements will make it much more likely that you get an interview.
9. Using clichés
Including vague phrases, like ‘works well in a team’ and ‘good communicator’, is a common CV mistake. Instead, give examples in your CV, which show how you applied your skills. This will give recruiters a much better idea of what you have to offer.
10. Including incorrect contact details
Double check you’ve put the right number and address on your CV, as a simple typo mistake could mean you miss out on the opportunity for an interview
11. Using an unclear file name
As many CVs are now submitted by email, ensure it has a clean and easy-to-read file name, such as ‘AnnaSmithCVEventPlanner’, because it makes it easier to find and suggests your CV is specific for the role you’re applying for. Calling it something like ‘MyCVVersion5’ or, even worse ‘Untitled016.doc’, will make it harder for your CV to stand out.
12. Putting ‘CV’ as the title on the document
There’s no need to put ‘Curriculum Vitae’ or ‘CV’ at the top of your document. A recruiter will know what it is and all you’ll be doing is wasting space. Instead, it’s a good idea to put your name as the title at the top of your document, as that is what you want a recruiter to remember.
13. Over-formatting your document
You want your CV to look as good as possible. But trying to do too much to your document is a common CV mistake. The best way to do this is to keep the formatting clean and simple, using a traditional font, such as Arial. That way, there’s less risk of your CV not formatting properly on a recruiter’s screen. It also means that it will be easy to read.
14. Including your referees
There’s no need to put your referees on your CV, as it just takes up precious space on you CV that can be better used listing your skills and experience. If a recruiter wants these details, they’ll ask you directly.
15. Not including a personal profile
This should be a short summary (probably 3 to 4 sentences) that outlines the type of job you are looking for and why you are interested in that particular role. It’s a great opportunity to capture a recruiter’s interest and introduce the document as a whole.