How to avoid CV pitfalls

23rd June 2019

Whether you’re a student about to embark on a job hunt for the first time, long-term unemployed or ready to make a career change an up-to-date, informative CV will be the best tool in your job search. Avoiding common mistakes can get you that one step closer to landing the job.

These are the pitfalls to avoid:

Lack of relevant information

Many candidates make misplaced assumptions about what is important to the employer and so fail to provide the relevant information in their CV. Do your research and show that you have the specific skills, experience and approach required within the first half page of your CV, so the recruiter can quickly see your suitability.

Insufficient evidence

Unsubstantiated claims won’t work. You need to prove you have what they need.

Too generic

Many candidates write a broad CV because they want to keep their options open. However, unless it is clear who you are and what you do, then recruiters won’t know what to do with you.


Nine out of 10 CVs have errors on them and are often rejected on that basis alone. Your CV must be impeccably presented if you want to demonstrate your professionalism and attention to detail. Always ask someone else to check it over for you.

Negative information

Your CV should include only positive information. Never criticise a previous employer or refer to difficulties or disappointments unless you were able to turn them around.

Poor language

The use of jargon, clumsy expression or clichés can sabotage the chances of even the most capable of candidates. Instead of using the ‘I’ pronoun, such as ‘I did this, I did that’, use positive action words to lead bullet points e.g. ‘Initiated this, created that”, which will seem much more dynamic. This will give a very energetic feel to your CV and help reinforce the message that you are an upbeat, ‘can-do’ type of candidate.

More advice and inspiration here

Back to Top