Common CV mistakes

Common CV mistakes

In most cases, your CV is the first thing your future employer will consider when you apply for a job. You can be the most professional, charming person in real life but a poorly composed CV can eliminate your chances of getting an interview, so read this article carefully and avoid these common mistakes!


  1. Wrong contact information
  2. Poor job description
  3. Grammatical errors or typos
  4. Using weird fonts
  5. Huge, unbroken paragraphs
  6. A CV is too long (more than 2 pages)
  7. No explanation of the gaps in your work experience
  8. Lying about work experience
  9. Not mentioning your achievements
  10. Too much detail in older roles 



1.    Wrong contact information


Your profile is a perfect match for the role you applied to a week ago, but you still haven’t received a call or an e-mail? Check your contact details: maybe you forgot to update your email address, didn't include the country code in your phone number, or still have your old address. Make sure there are no typos, either. 



2.    Poor job description


“Manager in an international company” sounds good, but what have you been actually doing? Specify your work duties and the description of the position, and add proper key-words.


Nowadays, a lot of HR managers are using special screening software as a first step, you do not want your CV to be discarded just because you were lazy and didn’t bother to write down a few sentences about your work experience. 



3.    Grammatical errors or typos


Grammatical errors are a huge turn-off for potential employers. They suggest a candidate didn't put enough effort into making sure the CV is flawless and make them seem careless.


Today, almost all programs have special spell-checking software, so use it and read your CV twice to avoid typos and other mistakes. If you are not sure, you can ask someone to read your CV once again to make sure it is perfect. 



4.    Using weird fonts


If you are not a specialist in a creative industry try to stick to the most common fonts like “Arial” or “Times New Roman”. They are popular because they are easily readable, so whoever is going to check your CV will find all the necessary information very fast.


Remember that research shows that you only have 6 seconds to impress a recruiter with your CV -  that's how long it takes for them on average to go through a resume and decide if the candidate is the right fit or not! Don't waste those precious few seconds forcing them to decipher fancy fonts.  



5.    Huge, unbroken paragraphs


Writing down a long text without any paragraph and putting it into your CV can make potential employers ask themselves if they really want to read your CV if they have 20 more. Make clear statements, stick to the point, and make texts as short as possible. 



6.    A  CV is too long (more than 2 pages)


Of course, you want to include all your great achievements and work experience (by all, we mean that summer when you have been working as a waiter(tress) and now including it on your CV when applying to be an intern at lawyers). Do not do this! Try to customize your CV to each position you apply for and put only relevant experience and information. 

You can save all the minor activities and experience for the interview. For example, for your soft skills (e.g. “I am a very easy-going and talkative person, I have been working as a waiter and never had any problems within the field of customer service”). 



7.    No explanation of the gaps in your work experience 


The only thing worse than writing too much is writing nothing at all! If you have taken a break in your career to continue education, have kids, look after the family, volunteer, or you have been ill, you should mention it.


Some companies believe that holes in your work experience indicate you are not so reliable. It's perfectly fine to take a break in your professional life for many reasons - just make sure to explain those reasons. 



8.    Lying about work experience


Let’s be honest – we all lie a bit in our CV and at the interview, take a look at 9 Common interview mistakes for more on this.


Instead of saying that the reason for leaving your last job was a grumpy boss, say that you are looking for opportunities to grow in your career and explore new possibilities.


Instead of saying that we have been writing a couple of reports and making a few PPT presentations we put in our CV “Microsoft Office Expert” and so on. 


But never lie about your work experience! For example, do not say you have been working in the marketing department of Apple if you have been part of the sales team at the Apple Store. Checking your work experience is very easy and can cause massive damage to your reputation. It’s just not worth this risk. 



9.    Not mentioning your achievements


Do not be afraid to sell yourself – mention your achievements in your previous roles. “Ten successful contracts for 20.000 EUR in total” can give a company a good indication of your skills and competence. 


Make sure the achievements are measurable - use specific numbers and figures to illustrate your success.



10.    Too much detail in older roles


Your daily tasks, achievements, and projects are everything your future employer should know about your previous work. Do not make it complicated and do not give too many details about your day-to-day tasks.


Check what HR departments are putting in adverts similar to your position and use it as inspiration for content – this will give them an idea of what you have been doing and you will not have to invent something extraordinary. 

Take a look at this handy infographic, so you never make these mistakes on your applications!


Infographics: Common CV mistakes