CV mistakes to avoid

Whether you’re writing your CV from scratch or if you’re looking to update your CV, it’s always a good idea to make sure you’re not making any crucial mistakes. Your CV is a vital part of getting you one step closer to the next step in your career, so you shouldn’t rush it and you should always tailor it for the role you’re applying for. By focussing on the skills and experience each job advert states, you will perfectly position yourself for the role by clearly highlighting your suitability. However, there are a few things we recommend avoiding when writing or updating your CV to ensure you’re keeping it as professional and succinct as possible.

Our recruiters come across hundreds of CVs a week, so they’ve put together their top tips about what you shouldn’t do when writing your CV.

Don’t waffle
No one wants to read a CV that’s more than 2 pages long, so try to be as articulate as possible. Not only will this save everyone’s time (including your own!) but it will also highlight how you can put together a concise, professional document.

If you are struggling to cut it down, only keep the most recent and relevant institutes for education. For example, there’s no need in detailing your high school education if you have gained a university degree. You could also remove any work experience that isn’t relevant or just include one or two bullet points about it if you have space.

Typos are a huge no
Make sure you proof your work and then proof it again. We would also recommend asking a friend or someone you trust to have a look over your CV as a fresh pair of eyes always helps.

Don’t lie, not even a white one
You don’t want to get yourself mixed up trying to remember what you’ve put on your CV, what you’ve told people, and the truth. Be as honest as you can, otherwise you probably will get caught out!

Don’t make the format too fancy
Stand out with creativity, especially if you’re looking for a creative role such as marketing. However, don’t over think it! Make sure it’s still readable with clear headings, a simple font, and overall, a logical structure e.g. everything laid out chronologically starting with the most recent experience.

Don’t have long paragraphs of information – bullet point as much as you can and use action words instead of first-person language e.g. ‘Arranged and dealt with all compliance’.

If you’re applying for a job with a recruiter, it’s best to provide your CV as a Word document so they can always assist with formatting.

No need to include all your personal information
Personal information such as your age, marital status, or religion isn’t necessary, in fact it’s illegal for an employer to ask anything regarding protected characteristics due to the Equality Act 2010. You only need to include personal details such as your name and email address (make sure your email is appropriate and not unprofessional!).

Keep your hobbies and interests brief. You don’t need to have lots of information in this area as this is something that can be covered in more detail later down the line – let your personality shine at the interview!

There’s also no need to include anything about references. Recruiters/employers will know that this is something that will be provided so there’s no need to state this on your CV.

Don’t over explain
You don’t need to explain any gaps in your employment at this point. If there’s something in this regard worth discussing, then the interview will be the time and place for that as this is where you would be able to explain it much better in person rather than risk it being misinterpreted. You can then discuss any follow up questions or concerns they may have face to face.

Photographs aren’t necessary
We recommend including a link to your LinkedIn page instead for recruiters/employers to find out more about you. To keep it clean and professional, you can hyperlink a word by copying the URL from your LinkedIn profile, right clicking on the word you want to link, selecting the ‘Link’ option and then pasting the URL there. If you don’t have a LinkedIn page, take this as a sign to create an account as it is the biggest professional network after all.

Avoid CV clichés
To stand out you don’t want to use phrases that other candidates will use, so try to avoid phrases such as ‘a good team player’, ‘go-getter’ or ‘hard worker’. You’re better than that!

We hope this has been a good starting point. For further support we can offer a free evaluation of your CV if you would like detailed feedback, advice, and tips. Get in touch with one of our experts for career advice here.

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