Common CV mistakes and how to avoid them

5 mins read


7 June, 2024

Share this article

Creating a Resume or CV is perhaps one of the most delicate tasks for anyone looking for a job. On one hand, you have to highlight your qualifications and achievements; on the other, you have to do this without sounding arrogant or to be exaggerating. And, while a well-crafted CV can open doors to numerous opportunities, common mistakes might pose a serious risk, and lower your chances of landing your dream job. Because of this, in this post, I will be focusing on five of the most common issues that job seekers face when writing their CV, as well as how you can avoid them.

1. Ignoring Customization

The Mistake: One of the fatal mistakes is the lack of differentiation and adaptation in CV where job seekers use the same CV for all of the positions they are applying for despite the peculiarities of the company’s needs and corporate values.

How to Avoid It: This is true because it is the core reason to preserve the organizational identity or culture through its customization, and at the same time, can create it anew. First, read through the job ad to understand which skills and experience are required for the job and what the company is all about. Recalibrate your CV writing to match the type of job that you are applying for, by focusing on the experiences and skills that will be valuable for the job. When writing, it is advisable to research on some of the keywords that were used in the job description, since many organizations have set up programs that filter applications. Customizing your CV not only leads it to get passed through an automated system but also gives a good lesson to the hiring manager that you are serious about the job.

2. Being Vague About Achievements

The Mistake: A common issue is to write bullet points consisting of the duties and responsibilities, but not adding your actual accomplishments. Even if you dredge up only your work duties, you will not get very far. It does not describe how good you were or how much contribution you made in those positions.

How to Avoid It: As far as possible, provide concrete metrics to your accomplishments. Replace the “responsible for managing the team” by “worked as a team manager, managing 10 members and recorded a 25% overall productivity of products in 12 months.” Do not forget to put figures and outcomes wherever possible as it makes you stand out and memorable to your employer.

3. Overlooking the Design

The Mistake: Too many non-substantial elements will only distract the viewer, diminishing the comprehensibility of the displayed CV. Applying more than one font, different colors, uncoordinated formatting styles may be distracting and create an impression of a low-quality document on the reader.

How to Avoid It: This one is pretty obvious: don’t complicate the design, yet make it as professional-looking as possible. And because other people already had this problem, use existing templates and custome them to fit you. It therefore recommended that you write in black ink and choose a simple font like the Arial or the Times New Roman, all your formatting should be uniform. Use bullets and ensure that there is enough white space to enhance the separation of ideas, when improving readability. It is important to ensure that the CV you submit is professionally written and is least likely to have any errors.

4. Neglecting the Top of the CV

The Mistake: The top of your CV is prime real estate, yet many job seekers waste this space with generic statements or irrelevant information.

How to Avoid It: Use the top of your CV to make a strong first impression. Include a brief professional summary that highlights your key skills, experiences, and career objectives. This section should be tailored to each job application, emphasizing how you can meet the specific needs of the employer. A compelling summary can pique the interest of the hiring manager and encourage them to read on.

5. Failing to Proofread

The Mistake: Typos, grammatical errors, and spelling mistakes are surprisingly common in CVs. Such errors can undermine your application by suggesting a lack of attention to detail and professionalism.

How to Avoid It: Meticulously proofread your CV multiple times and consider using tools like spell checkers or grammar apps. However, don't rely solely on technology; ask a trusted friend or mentor to review your CV. An extra set of eyes can catch mistakes you might have overlooked.

Closing Thoughts:

Your CV is often the first impression you make on potential employers, making it crucial to avoid these common mistakes. Put simply: tailor your application, quantify achievements, ensure a professional design, proofread, and leverage the top of your CV. With these tips, you can create a compelling document that effectively communicates your value. Remember, a CV is not just a summary of your professional history; it's a strategic tool to showcase your best self to potential employers.

If this content is useful to you, consider reading more common mistakes. Some useful resources we suggest are: