Do you make these CV mistakes?

December 3, 2013 10:23 am

It’s a phrase so repeated that it brings a yawn to my face every time I have to utter it.

‘A CV can make or break a career.’

A CV is a personal advertisement for you, therefore it is essential that the CV projects a good impression of you if you are to stand a chance of getting the job. This general guide will help you understand the typical blunders that people make and how to prevent them.

cvLaughable email addresses

The first thing your prospective employer notices is your general contact details and if your email address happens to be (apologies to anyone who does hold this email address) then you are unlikely to be chosen as a suitable candidate regardless of the amount of experience you hold or the type of education you received.

If you happen to own a whimsical email address I recommend a change in name. A more suitable email address would be and in then, you might possibly be taken seriously for once.


Attached ‘selfies’

There is no reason for a close-up of your face on your CV so why bother? This won’t help your chances but may in fact hurt them. A picture of yourself, no matter how professional it may seem, may lower the respect your prospective employer holds for you and subjects you to unnecessary ridicule and negative appraisal. If you do have a ‘selfie’ please remove it immediately.


Obnoxious objectives

‘My objective would be to change the world but I think I have already done that.’

This shows how egotistic, not to mention insufferable, the applicant is. Now I am sure no one would really have an objective like this, but you can see the effect it creates. An objective paints a picture of the applicant that could be seen in a negative way. Objectives alone won’t get you the job, or at least an interview, but may harm your chances of getting one anyway so the reasonable option would be to leave it out completely.


Poor grammar/spelling mistakes

This should be obvious but it appears not. Poor grammar or spelling is the most common but fatal mistake an applicant can make. Prospective employers will be getting something like 50 applicants wanting the job, or more if the position is desirable, so if they notice one mistake – as simple as writing ‘their’ instead of ‘there’ – then you can wave goodbye to the job as your CV, no matter how suitable it is for the job, will be thrown in the bin.

A simple proofreader should fix any mistakes or you can get your CV checked out by an honest close friend to you. This should prevent something as clear as this.


Less is more

Mark Twain once said, “if only I had more time, I would write thee a shorter letter.” I would advice you to keep this in mind when writing your CV. The guy (or girl) reading all these CVs doesn’t care if you have 10 pages of experience but will care if he has to sit down and read all of them. Tailor your CV and put the most important achievements that are specific to the role on to the CV.

If there is anything you have missed out, you can cover this in your interview. Basic rule of thumb is 2 A4 pages – anything more is too much.


Unusual layouts

If you’re CV is written like this you are unlikely to be taken seriously.

Make sure to keep your CV aligned on the left with a black times new roman font in similar sizes, e.g size 12. If you are attaching your CV in an email, perhaps a good method would be to send it your friend first and see if the formatting looks good on their computer, before sending it to a prestigious company.


Superficial bragging

‘If you don’t pick me, you’ll regret it’ or ‘I’m the best at what I do’ are some examples of obnoxious bragging. Do you really want to paint yourself as a narcissist? Because if not, that is what you are projecting. Bragging tells the person reading your CV that you are not a team player and as a result, not a good worker. Whilst you shouldn’t self-depreciate, you should also not ‘big’ yourself up. A suitable candidate knows how to find a balance and that is what you need to learn. The best you can do is highlight your achievements and explain your downfalls and leave it up to the employer to make an opinion of you.



  • DO hold a professional email address
  • DON’T attach a selfie
  • DO proofread
  • DON’T write too much
  • DO stick to basic layouts
  • DON’T brag


Seen any CV mistakes I’ve missed out? Leave them in the comments section.

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