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Common CV Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

CV Resources
Posted on: 27/09/2017
looking over a cv at interview

A CV is often the first impression you make to a potential employer, so it’s hugely important to get it right. The job market is fierce, international and fast-paced, so make sure you don’t let yourself down with avoidable mistakes. Here are five easily avoidable errors.

1. Spelling Mistakes

These days there are no excuses for spelling mistakes! Spellcheck and proofread your CV, get a friend to look over it for you, and take out all the inappropriate Oxford commas. Most spellchecks will also correct your grammar, but might not pick up a misuse of ‘there’, ‘they’re’ or ‘their’. Spelling mistakes show poor attention to detail. When we spot a typo ('form'/'from' is a classic that doesn't get a red squiggly line) it indicates that the application was rushed. 

2. Keep it Concise

Details are important, but rambling on is a huge turn off to recruiters. Choose a simple format that lays out the necessary information in a clear and concise manner. According to National Citizen Service research, recruiters spend an average of 8.8 seconds reviewing each CV, which means you need the relevant information to be easily found. 

3. One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Only having one version of your CV is a big mistake. Tailor each application to highlight relevant experience and skills. Don’t be afraid to remove irrelevant information. Look at the job and person specification to make sure you’re indicating that you are the perfect candidate. 

4. Don’t Use Clichés

Relying on clichés and giving vague descriptions won’t tell the recruiter anything about you. Avoid phrases like “works well in a team or individually” or “dynamic and solution focussed”. Management speak and platitudes have become ubiquitous thanks to shows like The Apprentice, but “at the close of play” these kinds of statements don’t mean much. Give evidence of your achievements and how they’ve benefitted your organisation, show that you are “highly motivated, a creative thinker and passionate” rather than just applying adjectives to yourself. 

5. Hobbies and Interests

Keep this section brief, if you include it at all. It’s no longer a necessary part of your CV and can take up valuable space that could better explain how you deserve the job in question. Only include interests that are pertinent to the position: if you write a blog about local restaurants use this as a way to show that you would make a great copywriter; coaching a football team can be used as an example of management and leadership skills. 

Looking for a job in the energy sector? Our Vacancies Database lists all of the vacancies we are currently recruiting for. Take a look by clicking here. You can also find more help and advice on how to improve your CV by visiting our Candidate Resources page.