When it comes to writing a CV there’s plenty of mistakes you need to avoid.
Whether it’s the dreaded typo, or a section full of unimportant information, it seems there’s plenty of ways to put a recruiter off of your CV faster than you can say “spellcheck.”
So, whether you’re a fresh-faced graduate writing your first CV, or an industry veteran looking for a new role, make sure you’re not making these mistakes when writing your CV.
Let’s face it, we all know that spelling mistakes are a big turn-off when it comes to job applications, but the sad fact is that they’re all too common!
While spell check can undo most of the common mistakes, it’s not great at checking for grammar or context, so it’s important to triple check your CV, and have it checked by friends and family, before you even start sending it out!
I’m ashamed to say this, but I’ve made this mistake before.
I sent out CVs for close to 50 roles before I realized my email address had ‘.co.uk’ at the end of it when it should have been ‘.com.’ Ouch.
It’s all too easy to mistype an email address, or mix up the digits in your phone number, so make sure your contact details are correct or you won’t be hearing back from anyone!
Whether it’s a profile photo or pictures related to work you’ve done, there’s no need for them on your CV.
A profile picture isn’t necessary, takes up valuable space on your CV, and employers and recruiters will just ignore it anyway.
If you want to include photos of your work, then a portfolio is better than a CV as you’re then able to elaborate on the images you’ve included, and you can direct recruiters and employers to your portfolio from your CV.
Spending all day skimming through CVs is hard enough, but if decided to design yours with a particularly bright colour, that could be the final straw for your application!
Keep it simple with dark text on a white background.
If you do want to add some colour to headings or titles, make sure it’s legible at all sizes to make sure it’s not something recruiters will miss.
Strange fonts can make your CV difficult to read, which makes it all the more likely it’ll end up in the ‘No’ pile.
While a cursive script might seem like a nice way to write your name on your CV, unless you’re a graphic designer, it’s better to keep it simple.
These may be more likely to appear in cover letters than CVs, but be sure you don’t include any religious or political views.
With discrimination laws on everyone’s mind, these can be a real minefield, so it’s better to leave them out to make everybody’s life easier.
While it’s nice to be able to give potential employers an idea of what you enjoy doing in your spare time, if you’re struggling for space on your CV then feel free to take them off.
It’s more important to get across your skills and experience, and interviewers will normally ask you a question about your spare time anyway.
Your primary focus is getting the interview in the first place.
No matter how informal the role may be, steer clear of using slang or colloquialisms in your CV.
Your CV is a professional document, so it’s important to stay professional throughout.
You should also try to avoid using abbreviations, unless they’re a common industry term, as not all hiring managers will be aware of all of the nuances of every role they hire for.
We can’t write an article about CV mistakes without mentioning this one!
Lying on your CV is never a good idea.
Just don’t do it!
Imagine you’re a hiring manager, sifting through job applications for a role you’ve advertised when *BAM* there they are...the perfect candidate.
The right amount of experience, all the transferrable skills you’re looking for, and available for an immediate start!
You open a new email to send them an invite to a job interview and cringe as you’re forced to type in:
While it shouldn’t stand in your way of getting the job, an inappropriate email address can certainly make recruiters cautious.
Do everyone a favour and set yourself up a more professional account.
Even if a job opening specifically asks you to include your salary expectations, there’s no need to include them in your CV.
No one needs to know the salary you received as you moved to the various positions throughout your career, and it’s just another unnecessary piece of information that’ll make your CV look cluttered.
While it’s good to include details about your previous roles, employers don’t need to know about the type of soap you used during your summer job washing pots when you finished school.
Make sure you keep any experience relevant, otherwise just give a high-level overview of what the job entailed.
Recruiters and employers can spot a generic CV a mile off.
To stand the best chance of getting through to the interview stages, you need to craft each application to make sure you’ve shown that you’re capable of doing everything in the job description.
Claiming to be your current employer’s ‘Number One Engineer’ is all well and good, but it’s a baseless claim that anyone can make.
If you’re going to make a claim in your CV, make sure it’s backed up with numbers as this holds far more weight.
Synergistic team player.
Buzz words and clichés are enough to make recruiters with even the strongest stomach look away!
Instead, try to use action words like achieved, increased/decreased and launched.
There’s no need to include references on your CV.
References aren’t expected until you’re at the offer stage of the process, and if you’re looking for a new position whilst still employed by one of your references you could risk letting the cat out of the bag if someone decides to jump forward a few steps.
Tailoring CV after CV can be tough, and it’s more than likely you’ll end up with multiple variations of the same CV.
But make sure when you apply for a position the filename is not something that’s messy or unprofessional, as this could give employers the wrong impression.
Your age shouldn’t be a factor in whether or not a company wants to hire you - your experience should.
Leave your date of birth off your CV as it ensures you can’t be discriminated against for being too young or too old for a position.
With a wealth of tools and aids to help you, writing the perfect CV has never been easier.
But if you’ve downloaded a template to help guide you through the process, make sure you’ve removed all of the template text!
Your impact is the result of your knowledge and actions.
Far too many people only cover what knowledge they have in the role and the actions they’ve taken without showing what impact it’s had!
For example, rather than saying:
Developed route planning software that improved fuel efficiency
Developed route planning software that improved fuel efficiency by 16%, saving £11.5k annually
From time to time, there will be gaps that appear on your CV.
Whether it’s because you took time off to complete a personal project, were off with an illness, or you went travelling in between contract jobs, it’s better to explain these gaps on your CV than leave them blank.
Many of these mistakes are easily avoided by simply taking a little time to double check your CV before you begin sending it out, and it’s worth taking an extra hour or two to make sure you don’t end up being put in the ‘No’ pile!
If you’re an engineer, before you start sending out your CV make sure you also read our guide on How To Write The Perfect Engineering CV.
If you’re looking for roles in the engineering industry, make sure you send your cv to our recruiters today so they can help find you your perfect engineering job.