7 CV mistakes letting you down

CV mistakes to avoid

The obvious CV mistakes landing your job application in the reject pile

Employers are often inundated with applications when they advertise for a new role. As a result, they'll be drawn to those CVs that stand out for the right reasons and think nothing of tossing the bad or the underwhelming ones aside.

So what can you do to ensure your CV gets noticed and placed on the shortlist pile? Well, here are a few CV tips outlining the cv mistakes you need to avoid…

  • Poor personal statements

Your personal statement is an opportunity to convince the hiring manager why you are best suited to the role. The cv mistake candidates should avoid is creating a generic personal statement. Tailor your statement to suit the help make your application stand out. The same applies to the rest of your CV. Hiring managers and recruiters are expecting you to demonstrate that you meet the requirements outlined in the job description, so it makes sense to focus on the relevant skills and experience identified.

  • Including too much irrelevant information

You might be keen to present yourself as a well-rounded person, but it's easy to miss an opportunity to highlight your professional expertise if you spend too long on extra-curricular activities and achievements. When preparing your application and writing your CV, make sure you have the job description on hand to cross-check required skills against your expertise. Potential employers want to learn about your practical skills, experiences and qualifications - those which relate to the advertised role. They might also be interested in how your career development path has positioned you as a suitable candidate. Prattling on about your experiences in an altogether different sector, and listing your junior sporting achievements, will get you nowhere fast.

  • Using an unprofessional email address

There's nothing wrong with humorous and/or informal email addresses as such. But it does look unprofessional when you are applying for a job and it undermines the image you are trying to convey. So if you haven't already, set up a professional email address that you can use for all work-related correspondence.

  • Adding pointless photographs

Your job application will not be determined by what you look like, so don't waste valuable space on your CV by including a picture of yourself. Since space is at a premium, make sure you are using it to share relevant information that will be of interest to the hiring manager.

  • Poor spelling, punctuation and grammar

Nothing is guaranteed to impress a hiring manager less than a CV filled with typos, grammatical errors, repetition of facts and inconsistent formatting. This tells them everything they need to know about your attitude, approach to work, and general desire to secure the advertised role. Given that it takes just a few minutes to sub-edit your own work - or get somebody else to check it for errors - it is a real achievement in carelessness and neglect to send off an error-strewn CV. 

  • CV is too long

Employers often receive multiple applications and for your CV to stand out and hold their attention, it should include all the relevant information in a succinct manner. Two pages is the ideal length, otherwise you run the risk of employers either not reading it all the way through or missing out on important information. Less can be more!

  • Key details are left missing

It's surprising but many candidates often forget to include some of the most important pieces of information on their CV. While this might sometimes be a genuine error, it can end up conveying the wrong impression about you. For instance, if you forget to include your previous employment dates, anyone reading the CV might reasonably conclude you have had a big gap in your employment or not been able to hold down a job for a reasonable length of time. Alternatively, the common cv mistake of failing to include your contact details means employers who are genuinely impressed with your application have no means of getting in touch with you.

Avoiding these CV mistakes is often a matter of thinking about what an employer is actually looking for. If you put yourself in their shoes, you should ideally be able to produce a CV that is tailored specifically to the job on offer and communicate (through your CV) why you are suitable for the role. You’ll find more CV tips and a CV template in our dedicated CV advice section.