The Biggest CV Mistakes People Make

CV Mistakes

CV is an acronym for Curriculum Vitae, which means “course of life” in Latin. It outlines a person’s relevant experience, achievements, skills, education, and certifications in relation to an open position. Even with the changes in recent years due to technology, candidates still must submit their CVs when applying for any job.

Most people can write a mediocre CV; however, writing an interview-winning one is much more challenging. It’s essential to ensure you adopt a best practice structure, create relevant content and format your document correctly to avoid confusion.

Creating an ideal CV takes time. Now we will tell you the most common mistakes you want to avoid when writing your CV during your job search and ensure that you land the interview and, hopefully, the job.

1. Poor and Confusing Formatting

If your CV is unclear and hard to read, it is unlikely the employer will even consider looking at it as they spend, on average, around seven seconds reviewing the many CVs that come across their desk. This leaves you with one chance to make an excellent first impression.

When formatting your CV, being able to read relevant information easily and quickly is essential, and when choosing a template, it needs to be aesthetically appealing and uncluttered. Be sure to avoid confusing layouts, and choose a template that is harmonious in appearance with plenty of white space. 

Please focus on the content instead of the overall style and keep it simple. When listing skills, remember to include how you can use them and match them with the job profile you seek, using the same headings and providing evidence of how you have used your skills in real-life situations.

Avoid using:

  • Illegible font sizes
  • Unnecessary colours and designs
  • Tables, charts, columns and graphs

Do use:

  • Readable fonts such as Times New Roman, Helvetica, Cambria or Ariel
  • Font range between 9-12
  • Consider industry before adding colour
  • Bold, underline or italics text when highlighting something
  • Uniform spacing and margins throughout the CV

2. Failing to Customise Your Application

There is no such thing as a one size fits all CV, and you need to tailor each one to match the needs of the company and role for which you are applying. Doing this may feel tedious and unnecessary; however, it can assist recruiters in identifying you as the perfect candidate for a position.

Employers quickly sense whether or not you have adequately assessed the job requirements and if you are genuinely interested and have spent time and care writing your CV before applying. Evaluating your skillset to match the job’s specifications effectively will give you the best chance of success.

Feel free to remove any irrelevant experience and check specific requirements to match your CV accordingly. When scanning your CV, look at it as your highlight reel. Ensure that it contains the most relevant information for the specific job you are applying for and is tailored specifically for various sectors.

Tailoring your CV shows that you researched the role and company you are applying to and put in the time and energy to make your application specifically suited for the job.

3. Spelling Mistakes

Basic spelling errors are inexcusable, even if English is not your first language. Ensure your CV is error-free and give special attention to detail. Use your spell-checking software to identify mistakes in spelling and grammar in the text and consider any alternatives it offers to determine if it will improve or remove the impact on your CV.

Mitigate the risk of making mistakes by:

  • Taking your time and not waiting till the last minute to write your CV
  • Double-check your tenses
  • Printing out your CV and reading it out loud

You can also change the font and colour of the text to trick your brain into thinking it is reading a new piece of writing or taking a break and returning later to proofread your CV. 

4. Lying on Your CV

You may want to get an interview or get hired, but lying on your CV is an excellent way to either get embarrassed or end up in jail because lying on your CV is a criminal offence under the Fraud Act of 2006.

You may think you are just enhancing your grade, claiming to have graduated from a university, or embellishing your work experience. Still, potential employers will view your lying as a red flag. 

5. No Supportive Evidence to Back Up Your Skills

Anyone can make statements on their CV trying to make themselves sound good. However, if you don’t include evidence of your skill, achievements and experiences, your CV may not convince the employer that you will be able to do the job effectively.

The key is to outline your skills and highlight what you achieved because of your skills. For example, you can point out that your ability to enter information promptly improved efficiency and saved money for the company. Leave nothing to assume and communicate all your achievements with your skills.

6. Not Including Your “Why”

CVs generally focus on the “what”, such as your credentials. However, it is beneficial to Incorporate why you chose a specific degree, volunteer activity or other activities and even include what skills you gained as a result and how you use them. 

7. Ignoring Work History Gaps

Even though gaps in employment history are common, it is crucial to ensure that you explain them. If the holes only lasted a few weeks, there is no need to worry about it; however, if you were out of work for months, explaining why can alleviate any uneasy feeling or suspension about why you were unemployed during this time.

Whether you were volunteering, travelling or looking after a loved one who was ill, letting the recruiter know will help them feel comfortable moving forward with you.

8. Not Adopting a Best-Practice Structure

The structure is fundamental and should be as follows:

  • Personal details
  • Professional Summary using STAR (situation, task, action, result) bullet points to make it easy-to-understand 
  • Key skills
  • Professional experience
  • Additional experience
  • Volunteering experience
  • Professional certifications
  • Education

Writing an effective, high-quality CV to land an interview is the first task because, without an interview, there is no way for you to advocate for yourself to get the position.

BBU Connects Quality Staff With Great Companies

BBU is the best recruitment agency in London, and whether you are looking for a new opportunity or are unsure where to start, we are here to help. BBU offers CV help and prepares you for interviews to help connect you with a company and a job that suits your skills and personality.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you find the ideal job just for you!

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