Avoid The Most Common CV Mistakes

Jan 12, 2021 | Writing a CV

Many things can be wrong with your CV / Resume. Below we have highlighted some of the most common CV mistakes to help ensure that your Resume is presented in the best possible manner. Check out our CV writing service page to avoid making these mistakes.

1. Your CV doesn’t have a well-defined objective

If your CV / Resume does not have a profile / objective that says precisely the field or job you want to work within, then the reader is going to have to guess. By forcing the employer or recruiters to read your entire CV / Resume to figure out what kind of job you’re suited for, you create more work them.

Given the average recruitment manager spends less than ten seconds reviewing a CV / Resume, this is the last thing you want to do!

Ensure a profile / objective is on your CV / Resume and that it is tailored to the position you are applying for.

2. Too much ‘Job Hopping’ Experience

Unless contracting ‘job-hopping’ is generally viewed in a negative light, particularly if moving sideways, rather than upwards.

If you’ve held several similar, short term positions, focus your CV / Resume on your skills and achievements, rather than detailing every single place of work.

Always use the expressions “Freelance” or “Contract work” never temporary and state the length of the contract and the fact you completed it.

If you’ve had several jobs from one agency, give the agency name and dates as one continuous employer instead splitting it all up.

3. Your CV isn’t tailored to the role

A one-size-fits-all CV or Resume is the easiest way to apply for jobs, but almost always it is something employers and recruiters will ignore.

Each company looks for a CV / Resume and cover letter that applies as much as possible to their role.

As all roles are different, you should make small changes for each job applied for so that it matches their specific requirements. Where possible, always request a job spec or use the job advert to tailor your CV / Resume. This will significantly increase your chances of being selected for an interview.

4. Contact Detail Errors

Not getting any calls when submitting your CV / Resume? There may be a straightforward reason. Ensure the phone number or email address listed are correct or up to date.

However suitable your CV / Resume looks you are not going to get any replies if you cant be contacted.

With email address before sending ensure your .com isn’t a .co.uk and your physical address isn’t the house you used to live in. Always double check your contact details to avoid these errors.

5. Spelling & Grammar Mistakes

There really is no excuse for spelling or grammar mistakes. Even in a role where writing is not necessarily an essential skill, poor written communication skills shows a lack of care that reflects poorly on your application.

It would help if you always spelled check your CV / Resume and ensure that the dictionary language is set to English UK rather than English United States.

If possible, always worth getting someone else to proofread your document to spot any errors that you may have overlooked.
When it comes to grammar, we are not all experts. A simple trick is reading the CV / Resume out loud. If it doesn’t sound correct, then it probably won’t read very well either.

6. Prepare for a Social Network Check

This is not a CV mistake as such but with many people signed up to Social Networking Sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn these days this is a valuable tip. Although these sites are a great way of keeping in touch with friends, future employers via a quick Google search can also view your profile and historical posts easily.

More and more companies conduct a social media check prior to offering a position. Before sending your CV / Resume ensure that your privacy settings are updated, otherwise your future boss can easily find those embarrassing pictures of what you got up to last Friday night.

7. Non-Professional Email Address

The email address you have can reflect on your personality. Although there is nothing wrong with having hotchick@playgirl.com or killer@thehouseofhorrors.co.uk be sure to use a more professional email address on your CV / Resume.

8. Your CV is too long

Employers have limited time reviewing applications, so it’s crucial to stand out in a concise manner. When it comes to CVs, nobody wants to read a book.

Ideally, a CV shouldn’t be longer than two pages. If it’s longer, it’s recommended to make the first page stand out, so the employer or recruiter will want to pay attention to read the rest. Of course, in some situations, it’s impossible to keep your CV that short; for example, when a very experienced person applies to a high position role. Even then, applicants should be as concise as possible, and keep high quality over quantity.

9. Unformatted, sloppy CV

Long unformatted chunks of texts are the readers’ worst nightmare. Surely, no one will spend time decoding your CV, so it’s a great way to stay invisible in the eyes of your future employer. It’s a CV mistake that can cause much damage to your application.

Our advice is to break up your information into short paragraphs and use bullet points to list the details. Make sure your CV is easy to skim through, and it’s easy to spot the information your employer or recruiter is looking for. If you need more help on how to format your CV, check out our CV writing tips article.

10. Photo or no photo?

Every country has a different system on using photos. For example, in the US, you aren’t supposed to attach a photo to your CV, but in many European countries, employers still require headshots alongside the applications.

Do your research in advance. And if you need to attach a photo, take the time to get a professional headshot taken.

11. Not Showcasing Your Impact

When it comes to listing your skills in a CV, it’s important to mention their impact. How to do this? Apart from solely listing your responsibilities, elaborate on the achievements: showcase growth, the ROI, the number of sales you closed, or anything that was reported in your personal key performance indicator.

Your future employee needs to see the value you can bring to the company, and this is a great way to show your potential. Missing out on this opportunity is a CV error and can cause damage.

12. Address the Elephant in the Room: Employment Gaps

If you are transparent about the employment gaps during your professional career, they won’t hinder your application. Lying or completely ignoring them, on the other hand, will hurt your chances of getting an interview.

Acknowledge these ‘time-offs’ by explaining. You don’t need to go into details, but you can share whether it was because of a layoff, or you needed a break. Whatever you do, don’t lie about a period of employment to mask these gaps, because your hiring manager might call your previous employer to verify your time there.

If the gap was only a couple of months in the past, you could remove the months from the employment dates.

Top 50 Funny CV Mistakes

Here is a list of the top 50 Funny CV mistakes which we have compiled from various places across the internet. All these mistakes are real and were written on people’s CV’s / Resumes or applications. So, take heart in whatever you put on yours, we are sure it will not be as bad as some of these.

  • Career break in 1999 to renovate my horse”
  • “1990 – 1997: Stewardess – Royal Air Force”
  • Hobbies: “enjoy cooking Chinese and Italians”
  • “Service for old man to check they are still alive or not.”
  • Cleaning skills: “bleaching, pot washing, window cleaning, mopping, e.t.c”
  • “2001 summer Voluntary work for taking care of the elderly and vegetable people”
  • “I’m interested to here more about that. I’m working today in a furniture factory as a drawer”
  • “I am about to enrol on a Business and Finance Degree with the Open University. I feel that this qualification will prove detrimental to me for future success.”
  • Woman who sent her CV and cover letter without deleting someone else’s editing, including such comments as “I don’t think you want to say this about yourself here
  • Other Interests: “Playing with my two dogs (They actually belong to my wife but I love the dogs more than my wife)”.
  • “One applicant used colored paper and drew glitter designs around the border”
  • Why Interested in Position: “to keep my parole officer from putting back me in jail”
  • A woman had attached a picture of herself in a mini mouse costume
  • Under “job related skills” – for a web designer – “can function without additional oxygen at 24,000 feet”.
  • Objective: “career on the Information Supper Highway”
  • “I am great with the pubic.”.
  • “My duties included cleaning the restrooms and seating the customers.”
  • One applicant for a nursing position noted that she didn’t like dealing with blood or needles.
  • A CV… had several grease stains and a smudge of chocolate on it
  • Candidate explained a gap in employment by saying it was because he was getting over the death of his cat for three months.
  • “Planned new corporate facility at $3 million over budget.”
  • “Seeking a party-time position with potential for advancement.”
  • “I often use a laptap.”
  • “Finished eighth in my class of ten.
  • “Reason for leaving last job: maturity leave.”
  • “It’s best for employers that I not work with people.”
  • “Let’s meet, so you can ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over my experience.”
  • “I have an excellent track record, although I am not a horse.”
  • “I have become completely paranoid, trusting completely no one and absolutely nothing.”
  • “Marital status: often. Children: various.”
  • Interests: “Gossiping.”
  • Languages: “Speak English and Spinach.”
  • Reason for leaving: “I thought the world was coming to an end.”
  • Qualifications: “I have guts, drive, ambition and heart, which is probably more than a lot of the drones that you have working for you.”
  • Objective: “I need money because I have bills to pay and I would like to have a life, go out partying, please my young wife with gifts, and have a menu entrée consisting of more than soup.”
  • Bad traits: “I am very bad about time and don’t mind admitting it. Having to arrive at a certain hour doesn’t make sense to me. What does make sense is that I do the job. Any company that insists upon rigid time schedules will find me a nightmare.”
  • Application: Why should an employer hire you? “I bring doughnuts on Friday.”
  • Special skills: “I’ve got a Ph.D. in human feelings.”
  • Experience: “Child care provider: Organised activities; prepared lunches and snakes.”
  • Work experience: “Responsibilities included checking customers out.”
  • Cover letter: “Experienced in all faucets of accounting.”
  • Personal: “I am loyal and know when to keep my big mouth shut.”
  • “I am fully aware of the king of attention this position requires.”
  • References: “Please do not contact my immediate supervisor at the company. My colleagues will give me a better reference.”
  • Experience: “My father is a computer programmer, so I have 15 years of computer experience.”
  • Education: “I have a bachelorette degree in computers.
  • Application: How large was the department you worked in with your last company? “A: 3 stories.
  • A CV listed a skill as “being bi-lingual in three languages.”
  • In the section that read “Emergency Contact Number,” she wrote “999”
  • Languages: “Fluent in English. Also, I have been heard muttering Gibberish in my sleep.”
  • We have reviewed, written and analysed thousands of CVs, Resumes and LinkedIn profiles for individuals at all levels.

If you need help regarding a new position, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Take a look at our services below.