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Avoid Common CV Mistakes

You only get one chance to make a first impression! So, make sure that the first impression your CV gives is a good one; Cut the cliches and waffle to demonstrate the impact of you and your work to employers.

Here are our top 6 common mistakes to avoid.

  1. Using a generic CV (not doing your research)
    A generic CV may help you to apply to as many job applications as possible, but this is an ineffective approach. 
    Tip: Every job has a different job description, set of requirements and criteria. Do your research (websites/job descriptions) then factor in your relevant skillsets and competencies tailoring your CV to each individual vacancy. 
  2. A CV that is too long
    CVs should ideally not exceed 2 A4 pages even if you have several work experiences, qualifications, skills and knowledge – long CVs just don’t catch the eye or necessarily give the detail employers are looking for.
    Tip:  Don’t to go into huge detail for every position. As above focus on results, skills and roles that are vacancy relevant. For long career history, you can include brief descriptions for non-relevant roles or roles that are from more than 10 years ago as quite often this is not as relevant as recent positions. You can always elaborate more where necessary in interviews.
  3. Spelling and grammatical errors
    Although mistakes happen, spelling and grammatical mistakes look unprofessional. They show that it hasn’t been checked before sending.
    Tip: Don’t rely on spellcheck as it can miss mistakes and context of wording. We recommend getting a fresh pair of eyes - ask a trusted family member, friend or colleague for spelling mistakes and contextual wording
  4. Generic cliches
    The problem with cliched phrases like; “Hard-working team player.” “Innovative forward thinker.”  is that they are massively overused. Although they sound impressive, they don’t tell readers anything about you.  
    Tip: Prove that you are a ‘hard-working team player’ by using examples of the results you have achieved in team settings. This method will add more of a punch to your message and add context to your message.
  5. Unexplained gaps
    It’s common for candidates to have periods of unemployment and it’s not necessarily a negative. However, if you don’t explain the reasons for a gap in employment, it can give the impression that you haven’t been doing anything.
    Tip: Be transparent and explain gaps. Maybe you’ve been raising a family, travelling, studying, or even working on a personal project. Show employers that you are pro-active and haven’t been wasting your time. If you’ve had any long periods of time out because of sickness, include it; a good employer will not discriminate against you.
  6. Lying on your CV
    Tempted to lie on your CV? Don’t! Embellishing your achievements, such as fabricated work experience or improved exam results, is not a good idea. Even if you do manage to trick your way into a role on the back of an exaggerated CV, you will probably struggle to perform to the expectations you have set once you start.
    Tip: Keep your integrity and don't 'pimp' your CV with big or small lies. Just be YOU.