Guest Contributor

10 Common CV Mistakes You Should Avoid


By | Amber Jack | Global experts in future talent and volume recruitment outsourcing, technology and assessment

  • Spelling Mistakes and Bad Grammar

Spelling and grammar mistakes can make or break your job hunt. This is one of the most common mistakes people make in their CV – which might be okay, if you didn’t list yourself as a perfectionist 3 lines later.

A few examples you should avoid at all costs;

  • Their vs. They’re vs. There
  • Accept vs. Except
  • Than vs. Then
  • Calendar vs. Calender
  • Definitely vs. Definately
  • Affect vs. Effect

Ensure you proofread your CV before printing or sending it to any potential roles you’re applying to – If you’re using spellcheck on your PC, ensure the language is set to the correct version (US English vs. UK English).

Potential Damage Rating: 5/5

  • Focusing on Duties Rather than Achievements

The idea of a CV is to show yourself off to your potential employer, not let them know the job description of your previous job role. While the things you did in your previous job role are important, you should be focusing on what you achieved during the role, instead of what you did. 

Think about new procedures you helped to implement, sales increases drive by you, any measurable KPI’s you might have hit etc. Try to show off reasons and examples of why you should be hired and what you can bring to your new employer.

Potential Damage Rating: 1/5

  • Becoming a Cliché

Imagine you’re receiving a CV from someone applying for a role you need filling, what are some of the first things you think you might see on their CV? Do “Strong work ethic”, “able to work well as part of a team” or “can-do attitude” come to mind?

Your CV should focus on FACTS, like skills or achievements you have, while avoiding general cliches that everybody uses. “Works well in a team” is great, but it’s so cliche and tells your potential employer nothing about yourself. Instead of being generic and using cliches that everyone can use, focus on what it is you’ve actually done for your employer and how that’s been a benefit for your team/company. “Worked alongside colleagues to increase sales by 46% by implementing…”. This way, you’re telling them that you’ve worked as part of a team successfully in order to achieve a personal goal or target.

Potential Damage Rating: 3/5

  • Poor Formatting

A poorly formatted CV is a huge turn-off, the whole idea of a CV is to be concise. It’s claimed that recruiters spend an average of 5-7 seconds looking at your CV (, meaning yours needs to make an impression.

Keep the formatting of your CV simple and easy to read – if you’re using a CV template, try to choose one that, while looking great, is uncluttered. Avoid using complicated layouts, fonts and sizing – Unless of course designing things is part of your job, then you might have a little more freedom to spice things up and showcase that artistic ability.

Damage Rating: 3/5

  • Not Tailoring your Application

While having a general version of your CV is a great idea, as it allows you to jump in and make small changes when needed. Sending the same CV to multiple different job roles  isn’t so great. This is because you should be personalising your CV to fit the vacancy and job role you’re applying for. 

Potential Damage Rating: 5/5

  • Wild Claims

We’ve already touched on it once, but your CV should be focused on facts about you, your life and your achievements. While claiming your “the best sales person in the World” is great, and you really could be, it’s a silly claim. You have no proof, and you’re likely never going to get any proof. Use facts and real examples of your success within a business and the results you achieved to prove your value to employers.

Potential Damage Rating: 3/5

  • Ridiculous Email Address

We’ve all been young. We’ve all created a crazy email address or two. However, you’re not young now, you’re applying for a job at a real world business in order to earn money and start your life. Email addresses like “” should never be put on your CV, if that’s really your only email address…. Make a new one for job hunting and more professional circumstances.

Potential Damage Rating: 2/5

  • You’re Not Writing a Novel

While the idea of a CV is to let your employer know all about you, your strengths, weaknesses and hobbies etc. You shouldn’t go overkill. You don’t need to write a 12 page CV, with a 4 page cover letter. You’re applying for a job not writing your autobiography.

While there’s no set limit on the length of a CV, one page is usually more than enough for a new graduate or someone with limited job history, with a two page CV being about average in length.

Potential Damage Rating: 3/5

  • Lacking Details

Now I know we said there’s no set limit to the length of a CV, however, you should always ensure you’re including enough detail. If you’re describing a past role and how you were able to achieve a goal, you should probably be writing more than two sentences. Recruiters will often scan your CV and then jump right to your previous role to see what you’ve been working on, so make sure you spend some time and effort when writing your CV – It could be the difference between being hired or not.

Potential Damage Rating: 5/5

  • Poor File Naming

This one is pretty harmless, but it’s more about presentation and appearing organised and collected. If you’re sending your CV to someone online, just rename the file to something simple like “Dylan Twisterfield CV” instead of “Dylan CV – Final Copy (READ)”. This just makes you look unorganised and rushed.

Potential Damage Rating: 1/5

This post was written by Amber Jack – Global experts in future talent and volume recruitment outsourcing, technology and assessment.

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