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Common mistakes found on a CV (so you can avoid them)

Posted on 08 September 2021

Common mistakes found on a CV (so you can avoid them)

9-minute read


Your CV is a gateway into who you are, your chance to make a solid first impression on a prospected employer, securing that first interview and taking the process further. We have seen ample articles and even platforms dedicated to crafting the ‘perfect’ CV, sharing what to include and how to best structure the content, but few are sharing the mistakes you should be looking out for.


This is our intention with this article. Bring those mistakes to the forefront, allowing you to recognise any in your CV and adjust accordingly before your next job search or help pivot in the current.


Adding too much detail

Everyone wants to sell their skills to a prospected employer; therefore, we tend to flood our CV with as much detail as possible to ensure they know what we can bring to the table.

In theory, this should work, we are giving the hiring manager an easier time determining if we are right for the job or not, but in reality, you are probably one of a hundred applications the hiring manager needs to look over.

Therefore, your CV needs to be detailed and to the point. Showcasing your experience in a way that wants them to find out more, whetting the appetite essentially. It will take some time to find the right balance of what to (and not to) include, but through iterations and feedback from recruiters and organisations, you will find what captures your unique skills. If you have multiple roles across one employer, condense where you can to the most important aspects of each role.


Buzz word crazy

The flip side to adding too much detail is not adding enough and resulting in only using buzz words against each position you held. Although you might have held the same job title across different companies, your responsibilities and projects likely differed. Only using technology buzz words therefore will not inform the hiring manager about your actual experience, which will decrease your chances of progression.

We suggest 4-6 lines (or bullet points) of writing is enough room to get across your most important project and a little about your responsibilities. Couple this with a separate line for your core tools and technologies for each project, a hiring manager can then skim read and drill down into more detail if they wish.


Spelling errors and bad grammar

Checking your CV multiple times with a fresh pair of eyes or having others do the same can truly be the difference between progression or rejection.

Spelling errors and bad grammar generally shows a lack of care from the applicant. As a result, hiring managers are often hesitant to progress with these applicants as if they failed to proofread their own CV, what will their code or internal documentation look like.

An easy fix to this issue is to simply run your CV through a spell and grammar checker such as Grammarly or have a trusted friend look over your application.


Poor formatting

The first thing a hiring manager will see is the overall formatting of your CV. What fonts do you use, what colours you included and are there random images dotted around the document? These subtle details can reflect badly on your application as it indicates a lack of attention to the overall product.

Put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager when you read your CV:

  • Does it look clear and professional?

  • If you used images, are they high quality?

  • Have you used the same font sizes throughout?

  • Do you have random white pages in the middle of your document?

These questions and many more should be easy to answer, if they are not, consider reformatting before sending your application. You can always enlist support from us or a friend if you are unsure here.


Exaggerating the truth

Exaggerating the truth to fit a job description at the time might seem like a good idea, but it is a short-sighted approach to your job search. Writing ‘Expert skills in React’ for example might look great on your CV but will be quickly tested in the interview stage, resulting in wasted time for both you and the organisation when you cannot support your claim.

Stay true to yourself, be confident in your skills but under no circumstance lie on your application. Feel free to share what you want to learn, and how you are progressing in these areas during your own time, but give context next to the skill, otherwise, the hiring manager might confuse it for a skill you already have.


Having the wrong contact information

We are still shocked that this happens, but it does. Populating your CV with wrong contact information can be detrimental to your job search. Ensure hiring managers can get in contact with you via email (test it yourself), telephone (same here) and any other platforms you opt to include (Skype – Is your username searchable? / LinkedIn – Is your profile open to be searched? Etc.)


Approach writing your CV as you would a project, execute with detail and iterate as time goes on. Re-read your CV and make the changes you feel are needed, if you are still unsure after reading this article reach out to Peritus Partners to have one of our recruiting partners’ support. Save for later if you are not updating your CV right now or share with your network if you feel someone could benefit from this article.

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