Career Moves



Marina Boor

Are you making these five CV mistakes?

  • by Marina Boor
  • 14 Aug 2015

If you’ve ever looked for a job, you’ll know the feeling when you’ve got an hour to send off applications to a number of jobs that you’re interested in. It’s all too easy to do it as quickly as possible in the hope that just one employer will get in touch. But if you’re submitting a CV that isn’t tailored to a specific position, or one that is riddled with errors, then you could be missing out on your ideal roles. Research from the National Citizen Service has found that employers spend an average of 8.8 seconds reading a CV, so it’s important to make it as relevant to the role that you’re applying for as possible.

With this in mind, Career Moves has compiled five CV mistakes and how you can avoid them.

1. Poor spelling and grammar

Poor spelling and grammar is probably one of the most frustrating mistakes for an employer to see, because it’s one of the easiest to avoid. No matter how much experience you have, a CV with bad spelling and grammar suggests a lack of attention to detail.

Check and check again. Particularly words like you’re and your. If you can, get someone else to proofread it too.

2. An unformatted document

You don’t have to be a computer whizz to make your CV look great. Just make sure that you use a legible font such as Arial or Helvetica and that you use it consistently throughout the page. If you need to give more emphasis to a particular point, then use bold or italic.

Don’t waste space with big headings or a profile photo – concentrate on getting across the most important information in the most concise way possible.

3. You haven’t highlighted the right skills for the job you’ve applied for

No matter how perfect you are for a role, if you don’t outline the right skills and achievements in your CV then it’s unlikely that you’ll even be invited to interview. Whilst you do need to outline your roles and responsibilities, it’s much more important to demonstrate how these skills have had an impact on your team and the organisation.

Instead, briefly outline projects you’ve worked on, relationships you’ve built and key achievements that demonstrate the skills you have identified.

4. You’ve listed generic hobbies and interests

It’s important to list hobbies and interests outside work that show areas of personal development. For example hobbies that demonstrate key workplace skills such as leadership, team work, commitment and problem solving. Volunteering experience is particularly strong as it will demonstrate a range of key skills and also that you are happy to give up your free time for a worthwhile cause.

5. You’ve used too much jargon or clichéd descriptions

Hard-working, team player, enthusiastic, best of breed – if you’re using any of these clichés on your CV then you won’t stand out from the hundreds of other people who are saying exactly the same thing. You may have all of these attributes, but by using words like achieved, created and negotiated, you will be able to demonstrate these skills by giving examples.

Taking the next step in your career can seem daunting, but avoid these mistakes and you’ll soon find your way to CV success.

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