Common CV mistakes that land your application in the trash


Ever wondered why no one responds when you send them CV?

Do you think to yourself: It’s a tough market, maybe no one’s hiring?

Actually they are.

The jobs are there but apparently the talent is not. According to a recent survey, between 40 and 50 percent of recruiters highlight their main problem as talent acquisition NOT lack of jobs. But I believe the talent is there, it’s just not presenting itself as it should. I am of course to referring to you, the job seeker. You may be the perfect candidate for the job. You might have some great experience and be the exact person the company is looking for but it’s quite possible that your CV is letting you down.

Your CV is ultimately your first impression, and we all know how important the first impression is so you need to make sure it is the best possible representation of you. So, here’s my list of the most common CV mistakes that will guarantee your application lands in the trash:


#1: Careless grammatical/spelling errors

In this day and age, with the spell check application, there really is no excuse for making grammatical errors or spelling mistakes. If I can guarantee you one thing (and hopefully that won’t be the case) it’s that your CV is destined for the bin if it contains careless mistakes. It makes the employer think you are lazy, careless and ultimately a little bit stupid. So check it through a few times and get a couple of other people to check it through for you as well.

#2: Over-elaborate formatting

Yes, you want out to stand out from the crowd. You want employers to remember your application and you want your CV to be at the top of the pile and there are smart ways to do this effectively. Colouring your CV bright pink, adding fancy borders and using crazy fonts are not included in this list. Also, if you do put a picture on your CV, make sure you look professional.

#3: Irrelevant information

It never ceases to amaze me how many people send out the same CV for every job they apply for. Whoever is assessing your application does not want to know you worked at Pizza Hut 10 years ago if you’re applying for a job as a web designer. However much you may want to add every bit work experience you have ever done, unless it’s relevant to the job you are applying for, it takes up too much space and it has no place on your CV. But it’s not just irrelevant employment information that you need to get rid of. If you have an “interests/hobbies” section, which I’m sure most of you do, then make sure it doesn’t contain activities which don’t represent desirable characteristics. For example by writing “I like to read” you tell the employer absolutely nothing about your personality or why you would be an asset to their company. Being able to read is pretty much expected in every job you would be applying for. So get rid of the rubbish!

#4: Too little information

Yes, your CV needs to be concise and relevant to the job you’re applying for but you don’t want to go to the other extreme. If you don’t include enough information your CV will lack substance and therefore it will be impossible for the employer to gage what you are like as a person and ultimately if you are a good candidate or not. Remember that employers receive on average around 70 CVs for any given position and they cannot interview everyone, so you need to give enough information to stand out. You should be looking fill 2 pages.

#5: Appearing arrogant

You are probably using your CV as a marketing tool, and rightly so, but what you want to avoid is appearing boastful or arrogant. Yes, you want to give the best image of yourself you possibly can but there’s a line you shouldn’t cross. Don’t provide information that you cannot back up with evidence and make sure ego is not involved. Arrogance is not exactly a trait which employers are looking for!

So that’s my top 5 CV mistakes to avoid. They don’t guarantee you a job but avoiding these mistakes allows you the opportunity to make a great first impression and ultimately a much better chance of getting an interview.

Good Luck!

-More CV tips in my post on how to make the perfect CV

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