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The most common mistakes in a CV

The most common mistakes in a CV
The most common mistakes in a CV

We have repeatedly convinced you that recruiting for a job is a process in which details matter. Candidates who, despite their excellent education, experience and outstanding competences, have not been accepted for their desired position, can find out about it. Why is this happening? You must remember that at the beginning the only source of information about you is the CV that the employer receives in response to a job offer. This is your calling card and the primary way to showcase your personal brand well. The data speaks for itself – on average, only 2-3% of applicants are invited to an interview. One of the reasons why you might find yourself outside of the lucky group is because of errors in your CV. We have prepared for you a list of the 20 deadly sins committed by candidates in creating their CVs. The most common mistakes in a CV.

Table of Contents

  1. Lie on CV
  2. Unprofessional look of your CV
  3. Unreadable font in the CV
  4. Incorrect contact details
  5. A ridiculous email address in your CV
  6. Link to Facebook and Instagram
  7. Providing unnecessary private information
  8. Incorrect photo in CV
  9. Too long CV
  10. Linguistic errors in the CV
  11. Dates too general
  12. Wrong chronology
  13. Too general descriptions of work experience and competences
  14. No description of professional or educational successes
  15. Description of education “from kindergarten”
  16. There is no section of Interest
  17. No references
  18. Lack of clause in the CV on the processing of personal data
  19. Wrong file format
  20. Incorrect file name
  21. Lie on CV

Unfortunately, there is no mercy in the recruitment process for lies. Providing some information in your CV is associated with the risk that the recruiter will want to verify it. If, during the interview, it turns out that you have stated a falsehood, the chances of being hired are reduced to zero. What’s more, you can end up on the so-called blacklist, which means that a given company or recruitment agency will never invite you for an interview. So it’s not worth risking and lying in your CV – always stands for honesty and transparency in the recruitment process, also on the part of the candidate!

  1. Unprofessional look of your CV

It’s not just the content that counts in your CV. This document is a general presentation of you in the context of your job. That is why you need to keep it neat, legible and orderly. Think about it this way: in order to make a good impression on the employer, the employee wears the appropriate outfit for the occasion, so when presenting his candidacy on paper, he should make sure that the document looks its best. Your CV should be properly formatted. You must remember about uniform fonts, line spacing and colors. When creating a document, you should focus on simplicity in terms of graphics. The exception may be applications for positions in the creative industry (e.g. advertising, computer graphics), where the curriculum vitae may take a more personalized form and show the creator’s skills. If you have trouble formatting files in MS Word, consider using ready-made CV builders or free graphics programs .

  1. Unreadable font in the CV

We want the recruiter to learn as much as possible about us in the limited time that is spent reading our CV. Therefore, you need to help him a little by choosing a font that improves reading. We recommend that you choose Calibri, Verdana Arial, or Tahoma as these are considered the most legible. The use of fancy fonts reduces the amount of information that can be “pulled” from your CV and can even irritate the recruiter and decide to reject your application.

  1. Incorrect contact details

It might seem that it is so obvious that there is no need to talk about it. The reality shows, however, that many candidates drop out of the competition for a job precisely because they provide incorrect or outdated contact details on the record, thus preventing the recruiter from inviting them to an interview.

  1. A ridiculous email address in your CV

In the text on How to write an email with a CV, we reminded you of the importance of providing the appropriate email address for your contact. Candidates with funny addresses may be rejected by recruiters as this is a sign of a lack of professionalism. Remember that the email address includes not only the username (the part of the address before the “@” sign), but also the domain name (the part of the address after the “@” sign). The best solution is to have an account with an address that includes a first name (or its first letter) and surname. If you are unable to find a meaningful address with the most popular operators (Gmail, Yahoo, MSN, MS Outlook), consider buying your own domain. It should not be associated with high costs, and it definitely helps in building a professional image.

  1. Link to Facebook and Instagram

It is worth remembering that Facebook and Instagram are social networks that should rather be reserved for private purposes. If you do not have company websites on which you build your brand (for example, you present the realizations of your projects), do not include links to them in your CV. When looking for a job, make sure you have a good LinkedIn profile.

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  1. Providing unnecessary private information

Issues such as marital status, religion or health status should not be included in the CV for at least two reasons. First, they take up space that you could use for more relevant information. Secondly, they can negatively affect the reception of you by the recruiter. Everyone, especially a person who has to absorb a large amount of information in a very short time, follows certain patterns. For example, an HR employee may have a hidden negative belief about single people that may affect the evaluation of your application and reduce your chances of success. So it is not worth sharing such information. Moreover, if you are applying for a job with foreign corporations, submitting such data may in principle doom your CV to failure, as these companies do not want to process such data to avoid being accused of discrimination.

  1. Incorrect photo in CV

A CV is a professional, professional document, so it must contain a suitable photo. Remember that resumes that include a vacation photo, a hastily taken selfie or a photo of going out for a beer with friends have no chance of success. The photo in the CV must also be of an appropriate size – not too small so that it is not blurry, but also not too large so that the document can easily pass through email servers. You can learn how to choose the right photo in our article.

  1. Too long CV

The CV should be a synthetic document. Remember that an average recruiter spends 6 seconds on one CV. It is not enough to read the content of a multi-page file. The ability to write a resume consists in selecting only those elements that are relevant in the context of a specific job. Too extensive CV may indicate that you have a problem with one of the competences that is important in almost every industry – information selection. For this reason, your candidacy may be rejected immediately. The best method of matching only the relevant information to your CV is to carefully analyze the job offer and the job description. Based on our experience, we recommend writing a CV for a maximum of 2 pages.

  1. Linguistic errors in the CV

We all make mistakes. However, you must make every effort to ensure that your CV – a document which is a professional business card – is devoid of it. The presence of errors in the resume may indicate that the document was prepared in a hurry and carelessly and create a negative impression on the recruiter. To avoid mistakes, it is worth using special tools.  It’s also a good idea to ask a second person to read your CV. A fresh look can help you find mistakes that the author of the text did not notice.

  1. Dates too general

The employer always expects you to be specific. This is why when describing your work experience, you should use monthly dates (e.g. 06.2021, June 2021) and not yearly (2021). This can be justified with a simple example. Imagine that you were employed by your previous employer from January 2021 to December 2021, i.e. you worked for him almost the entire year, which is well illustrated by the monthly record 01.2021-12.2021. From the 2021-2021 annual record, it is impossible to deduce how long the employment period lasted. For example, a recruiter may think that you have failed in your position and have been fired after a month. It makes a big difference, doesn’t it?

  1. Wrong chronology

It has been assumed that in the “Work experience” and “Education” sections we use reversed chronology, that is, we list the successive stages of a career or learning from the most recent to the latest. The inverse layout makes it difficult for the recruiter to visualize your professional and educational path and thus also to see your full potential.

  1. Too general descriptions of work experience and competences

Here again the specifics bow down. When writing your CV, you have to take into account that someone from the industry will probably read it. To make a good impression on someone like that, you should describe your work experience in detail. Entering that you were involved in programming at company X does not say much, because it is important for the employer, for example, what programming languages ​​you know. So remember that your CV will probably not be read by a layman, but by a person who is familiar with the topics related to the job you are applying for.

  1. No description of professional or educational successes

A CV is a document to help you sell. There is probably no more suitable place to show off what you have achieved in previous companies or at university. By failing to describe your successes, you are throwing the recruiter out of his hand of a powerful argument for inviting you to an interview. Remember that information about your achievements should be specific. It’s worth using numbers here, for example, “Thanks to the online marketing strategies I have introduced, conversion in the online store has increased by 20%.”

  1. Description of education “from kindergarten”

When it comes to describing your education in your CV, there are certain standards that must be followed. Otherwise, you may be exposed to ridicule and accusation of lack of professionalism. If you have graduated, you should not include your high school education on your CV (unless your profile was very similar to the position you are applying for). If you left your education in high school, do not include elementary school.

  1. There is no section of Interest

In the Interests in CV article, we have presented a handful of reasons why you should not give up this part of your CV. Remember that your interests can tell the employer a lot of good about you as an employee and person, for example that you are passionate about the industry in which you are looking for employment, that you are people open to new experiences or that you have some trait in common with the recruiter, and as you know, we automatically like people similar to us.

  1. Lack of clause in the CV on the processing of personal data

In the GDPR era, a clause in a CV with consent to the processing of personal data is an absolute must. Without it, the employer is not authorized to use any information contained in your CV, so for example, cannot make a call to you for an interview. CVs without clause are immediately rejected.

  1. Wrong file format

Have you ever prepared a file and then opened it on another computer and came to the conclusion that (horror!) It looks different and all the images and letters have changed? I guess each of us has a story like this behind us. It is important that it does not repeat itself during the recruitment process. This can happen if you send your CV in an open format, for example, DOC, DOCX, ODT. It is better to save the file in PDF format, which ensures the identical appearance of the document on another user’s computer and prevents the file from being modified by outsiders.

  1. Incorrect file name

The filename is the first thing the recruiter sees, so it should make it easier to identify the candidate. Sometimes employers provide a specific scheme according to which the CV file should be named. If there are no such requirements, use the formula “Firstname_surname_CV_company name”. Random filenames like asdfghjkl.pdf or my_cv.pdf look very unprofessional. If you download the same file multiple times, the system may add numbers to the name.