5 things you should avoid when writing a CV

Clueless man

With so many high quality CVs to choose from, the employer is often spoilt with an excellent choice of applications. So just one mistake could see your application go straight to the ‘no’ pile.

If you want to make it to the interview stage, here are the 10 things you should avoid when writing your CV.

Applying when under-qualified

When conducting an online job search you will come across lots of positions which offer great benefits. A nice big fat yearly salary along with a company car sounds great, right? But are you qualified for the role, and do you have the right skills and experience required?

There is nothing wrong with applying for a job you feel you could do, even if you are not a perfect fit. You should always aim high and try and land your dream job. But have you taken notice of the job advert? There will often be mandatory requirements, and if you don’t meet these then you would be wasting yours and the employer’s time by applying.

Certainly don’t sell yourself short, but avoid anything which is clearly out of reach for the time being. This doesn’t mean to say you cannot train and gain additional qualifications to one day get where you want to be. But what it does mean is that you should be realistic right now in what you can apply for.

You may never hear back from the employer has to why you weren’t offered an interview. So check that you aren’t punching above your weight.

Hear what Diana Chan has to say on this topic:

Providing personal information

The employer does not need to know how tall you are, what colour eyes you have, your political views, religious views, and so on. In fact, it would be much easier for us to tell you what personal information you should provide – and only this:

  • Your full name
  • Email address
  • Mobile number

This is all the employer needs, and will ensure you don’t get discriminated against. The employer may choose to decline an interview based on the personal information you provide, and whilst this shouldn’t happen there is nothing you can do to stop it. You would never know!

So leave off anything other than the above to avoid affecting your chances, and just focus upon your awesome credentials instead!

Find out more: Was I discriminated against during the recruitment process?

Hiding the good stuff

When writing a CV you should always aim to make it relevant to the employer. The only way you can do this is to customise it to the role, and even the company and the industry if possible.

The tailoring approach to CV writing is far more successful than writing a generic CV. Although you may find it easier to apply to numerous roles with one CV, it will not make the right impact.

One of the main reasons why a generic CV fails is that it hides all the good stuff. The hiring manager has the unfortunate task of trying to figure out if you have what they are looking for. So instead of mixing all your achievements into one, you should instead highlight the relevant parts.

This will make the employer’s job far easier when looking to shortlist the best CVs. They can instantly see you are right for the role, and they may only need a few seconds to put you straight onto the ‘yes’ pile.

Spelling and grammatical mistakes

We don’t need to spend too much time on this section – it’s quite self explanatory. Don’t make a silly spelling mistake! Even just the one word spelt incorrectly will gnaw away at the hiring manager and will take their focus away from the rest of your CV.

It is the number one reason why a CV is rejected – and the most popular. So check your CV a million times before you send it. You could also ask someone else to look over it to ensure it’s free of mistakes. The same goes for your overall presentation – it has to be perfect. So use adequate spacing and headers to split all the sections. Your formatting needs to be error free too!

“A fabulous CV could prove to be your golden ticket to a dream career but a simple typo might be enough to blow your chances and a shocking number of us are guilty of neglecting the spell checker.” : Josie Cox and Ben Chapman in The Independent

Unexplained employment gaps in work history

It’s hard to establish how big of a gap would need explaining, but we would go for about 3 months as a minimum. Being unemployed for a couple of months can easily be put down to finding work, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

When it comes to having a gap in your employment tihttps://www.grammarly.com/blog/technical-resume/meline of months or even years, things start to look very dubious. If you don’t make the effort to explain that gap on your CV the employer will naturally make up their own conclusions.

This could be anything from:

  • They struggle to find work
  • They don’t give a good interview
  • They were on holiday
  • They were in prison

None of the above conclusions will sit well with the employer, which is why you need to insert an explanation into your CV to quash any negative thoughts. Be honest and completely transparent, and try to put a positive spin on your gap.

If you were off for personal health reasons, then don’t shy away from this. You can go into as much or as little detail as you like, but honesty will certainly work in your favour. Remember to stay positive about the situation and state something like this:

I was unable to work for 10 months due to personal health issues. However, I am now fully recovered and eager to get back into work. My time away as made me hungrier to succeed in a career I love.

You also might like: How To Write an Irresistible Technical Resume

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