Don’t get rejected! Avoid these 7 common CV mistakes

Don’t get rejected! Avoid these 7 common CV mistakes

We all make mistakes sometimes and most of the time we can learn from them and move on. Unfortunately, CV mistakes on an application for your dream job aren’t forgiven as easily and can prove to be the harshest lessons.

Jobs can sometimes have hundreds of applicants and, as a result, employers can often be brutal in filtering through candidate CVs. Obviously you don’t want to be one of the many job seekers who end up getting cut from the process.

To help you avoid that fate, we’ve listed 7 of the biggest errors that employers won’t want to see on the page. Try to avoid these common mistakes when building your CV so that your application stays out of the bin.

resumes under a magnifying glass

1. Incorrect spelling and grammar

This is probably one of the biggest mistakes you can make on a CV. Employers want to see a good level of care and attention on your application and spelling and grammar errors will undermine this.

Good spelling and grammar are also fundamental skills for many jobs and employers will have an idea that you have this at a minimum. If you can’t demonstrate an ability to write properly the company will be less enthusiastic about taking your application a step further.

Furthermore, companies are increasingly using algorithms and digital programs like Applicant Tracking Systems to scan through CVs before they even make it to a human member of staff. These are merciless with grammar and spelling slip-ups, so check your document carefully before hitting send.

2. Using the wrong format

CV layouts vary and some styles work better for some industries than others. Using the wrong format, however, can affect the performance of your document.

One of the most effective formats you can use is a chronological CV. This gives a broad overview of your career progression over the years. Most HR staff will want to see your most recent experience front and centre and this will help you to do that effectively.

However, this is not a one size fits all solution. Applicants with less experience or those applying for highly skilled professions may need to focus more on promoting their abilities. In this case, a combination or skills-based CV will be a more appropriate choice.

3. Not focusing on the job you’re applying for

All too often, job seekers overlook the most important feature of a CV: relevance to the position available. Employers want to know exactly why you’re the best fit for the job, specifically the job they’re offering.

Using a scattergun approach to job applications is not advised. It’s essential to carefully optimize your document for each and every position you apply for.

To do this, you should consider carefully the career achievements or skills you can demonstrate for maximum effect. If you’re not sure where to start, go back to the job advert and read it carefully for clues as to what the company wants in a candidate.

4. Using a document that is too long or short

Generally speaking, the longer your CV is the worst chance it has of performing well. In the UK job market companies and HR teams will be looking for documents between 1-2 pages in length.

A CV longer than 2 pages is likely to be a major turnoff for people making hiring decisions. If you can’t demonstrate why you’re worth calling in for an interview in 1 page (or 2 pages max) you’ll often not make the cut.

5. Lying on your CV

This should be an obvious point. Unfortunately, all too often people still try to get away with one of the most damaging of CV mistakes by lying on their application.

It is possible to get away with a little bit of exaggeration here and there (we’ve all done it). However, providing blatantly false information about your working history or education can have serious consequences for your reputation.

6. Talking about what you did instead of what you achieved

It’s important to tell employers about your duties and responsibilities in previous jobs. Nevertheless, doing that without linking them to actual achievements could hobble your CV.

Results count. Make sure you tell the person reading your document about what targets you hit, and, most importantly, how you individually benefited the company or project.

You can even do this if you’re applying for your very first job too. If you have no professional work experience, instead focus on school or university project work, using the same criteria above.

7. Using tired clichés

Avoid where possible talking about how you’re an “excellent team player”, or that you “have a strong attention to detail” or “great communication skills”. These phrases in themselves aren’t necessarily bad but without context they are meaningless.

However, their phrasing is tired and they can make your CV seem stale. It pays to mix up the terminology and provide examples to back up the claims. Remember, you want your application to stand out from the crowd, so make sure the language you use does this to an extent.

Creating a CV is an intricate process and care and attention need to be taken when you produce your final design. If you want to tailor your document quickly and easily for any job simply build your CV with our online designer tool and optimize it to perfection.