6 Mistakes that People Make with their CV

6 Mistakes that People Make with their CV

Steve Blakeman 12/11/2019 5

Your resumé / CV is your golden ticket to a new career... or potentially the quickest way to kill your prospects of a dream job. Why? Because all too often recruiters / employers are looking at ways to rule you out so they can get to the best candidates, so here I have highlighted some common mistakes that people make which you can easily eradicate:

  1. Writing about yourself in the 3rd person - "Bob is an excellent communicator and highly effective presenter". If that were written by a third party it would sound impressive. But when it is written by Bob himself (and you know it is because its Bobs resumé) it simply comes across as weird. And also pretty conceited. Always write about yourself in the 1st person.

  2. Spelling mistakes - their is nothing much more worse then dotting your resume with a stream of spellink mistooks or grammer errors. There is also no excuse these days with the likes of Spellchicker or Grammerly readily availabel

  3. Funky formats - maybe in the 90's when we were messing about with Photoshop or fantastical fonts would it be acceptable to present your resumé in Comic Sans in lurid orange. Not any more. Stick to simple and neat.

  4. War & Peace - remember your resumé will most likely only get a few minutes of someone's time when they may have hundreds of CV's to sift through. If your resumé comes perfect bound like an encyclopaedia it doesn't say to the reader "boy, this candidate has done a lot in their career" it screams "there's no way I am reading through all that". Keep it succinct, two or three pages at most. If they want to know more, they will ask for it.

  5. Clichés - there are so many overused phrases in CV's that they now mean very little to a potential employer. Hard-working? Excellent communicator? Team player? Forward thinker? Laser like focus? Yawn. Heard them all a million times before. And again, going back to point 1 in this list, describing yourself as these things makes you sound narcissistic and that your are probably bullsh*tting.

  6. Leveraging LinkedIn - all too often people focus on their resume when they should be paying as much (if not more) attention to their LinkedIn profile. If I am reviewing someone's background to see if I want to interview them then LinkedIn is my first port of call after I have read someones CV. It offers a much richer experience as it shows in more detail what the candidate is interested in by showcasing the pieces they have written, items they have shared or commented upon (so be very careful about trolling as it will work against you)

So what do you think? Have you got any more examples to add to the list?


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  • Alex Perry

    I made a huge mistake on my last resume and actually included a little truth in there.

  • Jordan Herbert

    Companies that are looking for willingness to work 18 hours a day are not companies that anyone should be looking for employment at. Work life balance is an incredibly important aspect of any technical position.

  • Danny Jones

    Best way to avoid typos and grammatical errors: run it though a text to speech program. You'll get to hear how it sounds aloud instead of in your head and it'll mispronounce any typos.

  • Nicola Meredith

    Thank you Steve !!

  • Michael P Wakefield

    Great advice!!!

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Steve Blakeman

Business Expert

Steve is Global Media Lead - Nestlé at Mindshare. Prior to this role, he was the Managing Director - Global Accounts for OMD based in London / Paris leading Groupe Renault and CEO for OMD in Asia for 4 years based in Singapore. At OMD, he increased billings by +60% to over US$ 5bn and won 1000+ industry awards including agency network wins at the Cannes Lions (2013) and Festival of Media Asia (2013). He was named by LinkedIn as a 'Top 10 Writer' for 3 consecutive years (15/16/17). His first book 'How to be a Top 10 Writer on LinkedIn' is a Best Seller on Amazon. Steve holds a Bachelor in Psychology from Liverpool University. 

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