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What mistakes should you avoid making on your CV?

Posted on 1st June 2015

Here at The Maine Group, as soon as we advertise a new job vacancy, we are often swamped with applications! So what can you do to make sure your CV stands out from the rest and doesn’t get put aside?

If you can avoid making some elementary and avoidable mistakes, you'll be in with a fair chance! A recent study by GSM London and YouGov lifted the lid on what CV errors annoy recruiters the most - so the results are worth bearing in mind before you apply for a job you have your eye on.

Typos and poor grammar: 87% 
Your experience and qualifications might be perfect, but your credibility can fall through the floor if a spelling error or grammatical mistake is spotted. How can a recruiter believe you can do a job properly if you  haven’t taken the time to proofread your CV properly? Attention to detail is everything! 

Incorrect information: 76% 
If details such as the contact name or the name of the company aren't correct, there's a good chance your CV will get  put aside. We will do our homework! 

Important details missing: 74% 

Almost three-quarters of employers and recruiters get annoyed when key information, such as employment dates, job responsibilities and contact details are nowhere to be found on a candidate's CV. Include the detail, we like to see it! 

Too long: 46% 
Employers (and us recruiters) are busy people and they don't want to spend time reading your autobiography. So keep it relatively succinct and to the point - ideally no longer than two sides of A4 paper. But make sure you don't run the risk of making it too short – 26% of employers said they find this particularly annoying!

Too informal: 44% 
You are not writing a personal letter, so adopt a professional tone rather than an informal and casual one. Employers simply want to know your skills and qualifications, not become a close friend with you straight away.

Poor layout: 39% 
If your CV has a font that is tricky to read or a design that's hard to follow, employers simply won't bother giving it a chance and it'll probably get  Ignored straight away.

Not enough focus on work: 29% 
Including details of some of your extra-curricular activities and achievements can help to present you as a well-rounded person, but don't focus on personal information too heavily at the expense of your professional expertise.

Including your photograph: 13% 
Many employers are reacting badly to this growing trend. After all, you aren't being hired because of what you look like, so why are you wasting space on your CV with a pretty picture when you could be sharing relevant and interesting information instead?

It's interesting to see how so many small things can make or break your application before the employer has even started reading your CV in any great depth. It just goes to show that all the experience and qualifications in the world can count for little if you can't present yourself well.

Tell employers want they want to hear and - crucially - what they are asking to hear! So read the job spec and tailor your CV specifically to that role. And keep it succinct rather than waffle on endlessly. You just want to grab your attention - you'll get the chance to go into more detail if  you secure the all important interview!

Remember, at The Maine Group, we are here to help! If you have any questions about your CV, just ask us, we will be more than happy to give you a helping hand! Following the rules above should give your CV a better chance of reaching the ‘yes’ pile!