The top 5 mistakes people make on their CVs

In this post, learn about five mistakes many people make on their CV and how to avoid them yourself to boost your chances of landing an interview. 

The top 5 mistakes people make on their CVs

If you’re continually getting rejection letters from companies after applying for jobs, or worse – you’re getting no response whatsoever, your CV may need an upgrade. A weak CV is one of the main reasons a worthy candidate can get overlooked. 

1. Poor formatting and readability.

Some job vacancies, especially those advertised by the UK’s top companies, can attract hundreds of applicants. Recruiters have the difficult task of going through all applications and creating a shortlist of the most promising candidates, ready for the interview stage. 

If your CV is hard to read due to its formatting, and – perish the thought – any spelling or grammar mistakes, it could end up on the rejection pile after a mere cursory glance.

To give your CV a good chance of being read, make sure it’s formatted clearly with zero errors. Break your CV down into sections, use subheadings and bullets, and keep the copy concise; no more than two pages.

2. Not writing it with a target employer in mind.

Many people use a one-size-fits-all approach when writing their CV, laying out their skills, work experience and qualifications in a generic fashion. They then use this same CV time and time again when applying for jobs. Can you relate?

The trouble is, a CV like this may not be good enough to help you stand out from the crowd. A better approach is to research your target employer(s) and find out what kind of crucial qualities they’re looking for. If you can phrase your skills and expertise on your CV in a way that matches those qualities, you’re effectively creating a checkbox of sorts that a recruiter can ‘tick off’ as they read it.

3. Not including impact.

It’s all well and good, mentioning your fantastic achievements from past job roles. But can you back up your claims with definitive results? 

Instead of including something like this:

My marketing campaigns generated an influx of leads for the company.

It would be better to be more specific and use quantitative results, like this:

In 2019, my marketing campaigns resulted in a 65% increase in lead generation for the company and also boosted sales revenue by 35%.

4. Using too many clichés.

You’re a team player, a skilled communicator and a hard worker. You always go above and beyond and take great pride in any project you take on. These are essential qualities to include on your CV, but using these sorts of cliché phrases just isn’t original or interesting to a recruiter.

The best way to get these qualities across is through evidence. Use examples that demonstrate how you made a significant contribution within a team. Explain how you went the extra mile for your last employer and include the results of your efforts.

5. Not optimising the top section of the CV.

The top quarter of your CV is what a recruiter sees first. If that section doesn’t grab attention, a busy recruiter may not bother to read the rest. 

So, use this space wisely and include a compelling professional profile, a core skills section and a brief career summary. Include minimal contact details only, to save on space. Use persuasive language, but remember to keep your copy punchy – less waffle, more facts.

Put more effort into your CV, and you’ll reap the rewards.

Chunky blocks of text and spelling mistakes, a one-size-fits-all template, too many clichés and a lack of evidence are all mistakes you’ll want to avoid when updating your CV. 

Don’t forget to properly utilise that all-important top section that recruiters will see as soon as they open your CV. If it doesn’t hook the recruiter instantly, they may not scroll down to read more about you.

A strong CV is half the battle where recruitment is concerned. Get your CV right, and you’ll increase your chances of call-backs, interviews, and most importantly, that lucrative job offer you’ve been waiting for.

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