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Common CV mistakes to avoid

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CV writing can be time consuming and frustrating at times, but that is no excuse to make some common mistakes! We take a look at some of the most frequently seen CV mistakes, what impact they could have on your application and what you can do to avoid them.

Spelling mistakes - Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors are common slip-ups and can make it look as if you rushed your application. Poor spelling and grammar is considered by employers to be unprofessional and your application could be ignored on the basis that your CV isn’t up to scratch. Make sure that you double check the spelling and grammar and ask someone to proof read it before you send it off.

Job tips:

  • Remember, your CV and cover letter is the first chance to impress employers.
  • Keep it concise and relevant.
  • Personalise it to the job or industry you're applying for.
  • Proofread and spellcheck before you send.

Title - Another common mistake for candidates to make is using the title ‘CV’ or ‘Curriculum Vitae’. Employers will be aware of the fact that they are looking at your CV after a quick glance so using one of these titles is unnecessary. You want employers to remember your name so that you stand out from the rest of the applicants. Use your name as the title in bold at the top of the document.

Poor formatting - Poor formatting makes a CV look messy and difficult to read. Choosing the right format for your CV is important and the aim should be to present all of your experience, grades and characteristics in a clear and concise manner. Clever use of sub-headings and bullet points can help you to get all your key information and skills across. A standard size font should be used and your document should be no longer than 2 pages.

Missing contact information - Including your contact information is a small but necessary fulfilment of writing a CV. Otherwise, how can you expect to be contacted by the employer if you’re successful in your application! You should include your current address, email address and phone number.

Using clichéd phrases - Finally, try not to use clichéd phrases such as ‘hardworking’, ‘motivated’ and ‘team player’. Whilst you may think that these phrases are true when it comes to describing yourself, they are overused and employers would rather see examples of these characteristics in your work experience. Saying something like ‘I had to manage and work to multiple deadlines whilst maintaining a high standard of work’ clearly demonstrates desirable and transferable skills to the workplace. Using real life examples will help to bring your CV to life and make it more relatable to the job you are applying for.      

For more in-depth CV guidance, read our guide: How to format your CV to make the right first impression.