Blog 14.10.19

The 12 most common CV mistakes

Your CV can make or break a job application. Tanya Roxburgh, a Digital Recruitment Specialist at Ground Recruitment, has seen all the CV blunders in the book. Here’s her guide to the most common.

1. Not checking for typos
Always use spell-check and also read through your CV carefully.

2. Not getting someone else to check it too
Get a second pair of eyes (it can be a friend or family member) to look for spelling mistakes, spot grammar issues and check it makes sense to them.

3. Not making it ‘idiot proof’
Your CV should make sense to someone outside your industry – or even your grandma. So explain who ‘Joe Bloggs Ltd’ are and what you did there.

4. Making it too wordy
Too many words in your CV and people won’t read it. Use short, descriptive sentences and bullet points.

5. Worrying about the number of pages
If you have a long career or lots of experience, it’s okay for your CV to go onto three pages – provided it covers everything you do in a succinct way. Your CV is your first step to an interview and needs to tell potential employers who you are.

6. Adding a photo
This is okay in some countries, but in the UK it’s a no-no. Add your LinkedIn profile to your CV, if you really want them to see you.

7. Inappropriate social media profiles
If you do add LinkedIn or Twitter profiles, make sure they’re professionally put together. Your social presence is your personal brand and shouldn’t portray you as an exhibitionist party-animal. For any profiles that include incriminating photos, make sure your privacy settings are high!

8. An unoriginal personal profile
Everyone says, ‘I am sociable and work well in a team or as an individual.’ This is wishy-washy and over-used. Make your personal profile different and interesting. Talk about your skillset and what you want as your next job.

9. Unprofessional fonts or colours
Avoid flowery and ornate fonts or colours that don’t look professional. Red as a font colour is too harsh and freestyle script, although pretty, is not professional or easy to read at a glance.

10. Missing information and other gaps
You need dates for all roles. Make sure, if there are any gaps, you explain them – eg, sabbatical, travelling, maternity leave, volunteer work etc.

11. Incorrect personal details
Triple check everything and make sure you spell your email address correctly and don’t miss any digits in your phone number.

12. A cover-all covering letter
If you’re sending lots of applications, it’s tempting to just copy and paste your covering letter or email. It’s so important to take time to personalise each one for the role you’re applying for. The company you’re writing to want to feel special – that you’re interested in them and genuinely want a job there.

This blog was written by LifeSkills created with Barclays, a supporter of the DofE. LifeSkills inspires young people to get the skills they need to succeed in work now and in the future – online, in class and through valuable real-world experiences. Young people, teachers, parents and businesses can find out more at

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