Recently, we looked at our Top 10 Tips For CV Success, so today we thought we’d look at the other side of the story and talk about the 10 things to avoid on any CV if you want to get the job.


Crazy Fonts And Careless Layout

Nothing is guaranteed to land you in the ‘reject’ pile quicker than a CV that’s hard to read. Quirky design choices might make you stand out from the crowd – in all the wrong ways. We’ll spend a bit of time on this one because it’s so important…

According to New College of the Humanities, most employers look at a CV for just three minutes, while one in five make a decision on a candidate in under a minute. National Citizen Service (NCS) research goes even further, showing that recruiters review each CV in an average of just 8.8 seconds. Don’t make these people work harder than they need to see what you can offer their business.

Avoid unusual fonts or confusing layouts; don’t mix fonts; condense long paragraphs into bullet points and don’t allow page breaks to come mid-flow. Instead of jumping from point to point, present your career in reverse chronological order, with clear sections for your employment history and academic qualifications.


 Life In Black And White

Colours aren’t clever. If you email in a CV that means the hirer has to hunt in the stationary cupboard for a new magenta print cartridge, then they will forever associate your application with that hassle.


It Just Goes On And On…

…And on! Don’t be the drunk guy at the bar or the nerd in the coffee room that nobody can get away from fast enough. This isn’t a university dissertation and there’s no word count to hit, so make your point as fast as you can and get out leaving them wanting more. Aim for no more than two sides of A4.


Upsetting The Tone

Recruiters may be wary of CVs that are packed with corporate speak and jargon, but some applicants overcompensate with language that is too informal. Write in plain English, avoid casual terms and save the jokes for the interview when you can gauge the room as you work it.


The Cookie Cutter CV

Don’t fire off a generic CV and expect to be invited to interview. Instead of rattling off your every good quality or achievement, your CV will be far stronger if you cherry-pick aspects that your prospective employer can see will benefit their business.


 Empty Boasts

Anyone can say they’re a natural leader or excel in their job – and every CV makes those claims or similar – so recruiters pay particular attention when a CV highlights specific instances that back up the claims you’re making. Your CV is your first opportunity to demonstrate your credibility, so take the time to distinguish yourself from the competition.


Teh Slopppy cV

You might think the quality of your written English has nothing to do with being able to lay a straight row of bricks, but you’d be surprised. This isn’t about your eligibility for Poet Laureate; this is all about your attention to detail. A sloppy CV suggests that you’ll do sloppy work too. When even web browsers can point out writing mistakes – even if you aren’t using wordprocessing software – there’s simply no excuse for spelling mistakes, bad grammar and typos in such an important document.


Out Of Date, Out Of Luck

If your CV gives your most recent role short shrift and focuses instead on previous achievements, any hirer will assume one of two things: 1) You didn’t spend much time updating your CV before applying, or 2) Your performance isn’t what it used to be. Either way, you won’t make it onto the shortlist.

It’s a small detail, but your email address offers clues about the person behind the CV. If your address is embarrassing – or even worse, incriminating – take five minutes to set up a new one with any of the numerous free online suppliers. FirstNameLastName@EmailCo is a safe format.


 What’s In A Name?

Another detail that can offer insight into the applicant is the way that they’ve chosen to name the CV file if attached to an email. Would you hire from a file called ‘SloppyJoesCVDatedLastYear_UseThisOne’ or ‘FirstNameLastNameCV_NameOfCompany’? Exactly.


Sanity Check

And those are just the top 10 mistakes that candidates make on their CVs! We could write a book covering the rest, but why not just speak to us directly instead? With so many CVs crossing our desks every day, you know that we’ve seen our fair share of stinkers and we understand what will put our clients off. We can help you fix your CV if it isn’t up to scratch, so that you won’t miss out on your dream job because of a silly mistake.


Talk to us today to find out how we can help on 0117 325 2233 or email us at

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