Top ten CV mistakes to avoid at all costs – part one

Already doing your dream job? If so, don’t bother reading on – there’s nothing to see here.

If you are still on the lookout, you are in the right place. A stunning CV is a damn good start – but we’ve seen some criminal résumé and CV mistakes in our time.

I’m not talking about CVs that our clients have asked us to work on. I’m talking about ‘completed’ CVs that many of our team received in their past lives as recruiters and employers.

So if you are thinking of writing your own we’ve put together ten top tips to help. So without further ado, drum roll please:-

10 Be careful what you call your CV – and what you call yourself

Let’s start off with one that often slips through the net: As an employer if I saw a file named “Jane Smith Journalism CV” I’d be wondering if the next employer was getting “Jane Smith PR CV”, “Jane Smith Press Officer CV” or “Jane Smith Lion Tamer CV”. For example.

I wanted to know the candidate was the perfect fit for the job I advertised – not just spamming CVs to every vacancy they could find.

Likewise, be careful about your email address. “[email protected]” might suggest you are great mate potential but employee potential? Not so much.

The same goes for your social media profiles of course – assume employers will try and track you down so be careful!

9 Send your CV as a PDF to avoid formatting issues

This one does what it says on the tin really – send your CV as a PDF to avoid formatting issues. Job done. Let’s move on.

8 Make sure your CV is updated – a common CV mistake

Make sure your CV is bang up to date – not just with all your recent personal achievements but also with a mention of whatever is in vogue in your sector.

For example if we are writing a CV for an IT consultant we’ll make sure we go into sufficient detail on all the latest project methodologies and demonstrate we are keeping up with programming communities.

Post financial crisis, investment bankers need to demonstrate a keen eye for risk management as well as an ability to generate profit.

These days, a prominent mention of video or sub-editing skills can swing a newspaper reporter’s job in your favour. You get the picture – move with the times.

7 Get the structure right: Grab their attention from the word go

You’ve got various different options for structuring your CV depending on whether you are a school leaver, graduate, career climber, career changer or work in a creative industry – to name but a few.


We’ll address all these in a later blog but the bottom line is, for any given job, you want to put neon lights around your strongest and most relevant skills and achievements from the word go.

Don’t expect an employer to wade through a load of waffle to get to the punchline. Punchlines at the start please!

6 Get the length right – more than two pages is a turn-off

Everyone is different so it’s probably a bit reckless and irresponsible of me to generalise about how long your CV should be. But what the hell…

Two pages should be the maximum. We write CVs for top executives who have been working in incredibly high-powered positions for decades but we still limit them to two pages.

Everyone is different but employers tend to be busy and research shows their interest will wane if you give them anything longer.

One page might work depending on your experience but never one and a half – that screams “I’ve run out of stuff to say”. Not a good idea.

You can play around with the formatting a little to make sure everything fits but don’t go overboard because font size of eight + margins of 0.5 centimetres = an assault on the eyes.

…OK we hope these tips help you in some way but this is only the hors d’oeuvre – the main course is up and ready so tuck in and click here! Fingers crossed after that you’ll have all the ammunition you need to write the perfect CV.

Any questions in general, just give us a call. Thanks and good luck!


This post was written by CV Specialists. Their experienced team of professional writers can help at any stage of your application. Please visit their website to find out more.

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