17 Mistakes to Avoid in Your CV

First, a general mistake people make–you included; is in believing that a CV and a Résumé are the same, but that’s not true.

A Résumé is a summary of your awards, education, and work experience, usually just one or two pages.

People use it when looking for a job. On the other hand, a CV is for academic pursuit and includes more details about what you’ve done.

While scholastic pursuit was the main reason for the CV, these days people use it as cana cover for their Résumé.

However, if you wish to use the CV (I wish to do the right thing), it’s important you know what works and doesn’t.

Today, we’ll discover 17 mistakes that people often make when writing their CVs. Don’t worry, I made it short and simple. Get ready, let’s read!

#1. Unnecessary Personal Details

Your CV should primarily focus on professional information related to your qualifications, skills, and achievements.

Avoid including unnecessary personal details such as your marital status, religion, or political views, as they are not relevant to your application and may lead to unconscious bias.

Instead, include your name, contact information, and a concise summary of your professional background to maintain a professional and effective CV.

#2. Use of Generic Profile Summary

Crafting a compelling profile summary is essential to grab the attention of potential employers. Avoid using a generic, one-size-fits-all summary that lacks specificity.

Tailor your profile to the specific job you’re applying for, highlighting your unique skills and accomplishments that align with the company’s needs.

A personalized profile summary showcases your enthusiasm and understanding of the role, making you stand out among other candidates.

#3. Lack of Research Experience

Continuing from the previous point, a lack of research experience can hinder your CV’s impact, especially if research is crucial for the position you’re seeking.

To overcome this, emphasize other relevant experiences, such as internships, projects, or coursework, that demonstrate your ability to apply critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Additionally, express your eagerness to learn and grow in the field, which can compensate for the lack of specific research experience.

#4. Use of Passive Verbs

When constructing your CV, opt for active verbs to convey a sense of action and accomplishment.

Active verbs provide a more compelling and engaging narrative of your experiences and skills, showcasing your proactive approach to problem-solving and teamwork.

Avoid passive voice, as it can make your CV sound less impactful and may not leave a lasting impression on recruiters.

#5. Use of Pictures in CV (Permissible in Europe)

In certain European countries, including a professional headshot on your CV is acceptable and even expected.

However, before doing so, research the cultural norms and industry practices of the specific country and company you are applying to.

In regions where pictures are not commonly included, refrain from adding one to maintain a more professional and unbiased CV.

#6. Poor Formatting and Style

A well-organized and visually appealing CV can make a significant difference in how it is perceived by recruiters. Avoid cluttered formatting, lengthy paragraphs, and inconsistent styles.

Use clear headings, bullet points, and appropriate font sizes to make your CV easy to read and navigate.

A well-formatted CV reflects your attention to detail and professionalism, setting you apart from other applicants.

#7. Excessive Qualification and Dates

While showcasing your qualifications is important, avoid overwhelming your CV with excessive details about primary and secondary education.

Focus on higher education and relevant certifications that directly pertain to the job you are applying for.

Additionally, refrain from providing dates for every minor achievement, as it may clutter your CV and distract from your core qualifications.

#8. Bad Spelling and Grammar

When it comes to crafting a winning CV, one of the most critical aspects is impeccable spelling and grammar.

According to Jade Thomas, Office Manager at Pure Commercial Finance, spelling mistakes are still alarmingly common, despite the constant reminders.

To ensure your CV stands out for all the right reasons, it’s crucial to thoroughly proofread it yourself or get someone else to do so.

As Simon Bell, the Director and Founder of Careermap, suggests, using tools like Grammarly can help catch any overlooked errors.

Remember, a well-written and error-free CV can significantly boost your chances of landing that dream job.

#9. Making Your CV Too Long

In the competitive job market, keeping your CV concise and to the point is crucial. Most employers agree that ideally, your CV should be no longer than one page.

If that’s not possible, focus on making the first page stand out so employers are motivated to delve into the rest of your document.

As Scott Jones, managing director of Illustrate Digital, suggests, quality matters more than quantity.

Highlight your skills, personality, career aspirations, and education level to make a strong impact in a limited space.

#10. Not Tailoring Your CV to the Position

One of the gravest mistakes both job seekers and scholars make is submitting generic CVs to various employers without tailoring them to specific job descriptions.

Employers, like Simon Bell and Scott Jones, stress the importance of customizing your CV for each position you apply for.

Thoroughly read and analyze the job descriptions, and incorporate keywords and phrases that align with the role.

Showcase how your skills and experience match the requirements of the position, even if they were gained in different roles.

By demonstrating your tailored approach, you can show employers that you’re genuinely interested in the job and the company.

#11. Using Cliches (Without Backing Them Up)

Avoid using generic cliches such as “hardworking,” “team player,” or “results-oriented” without providing specific examples to support them.

Instead, demonstrate your skills and accomplishments through concrete experiences, quantifiable achievements, and tangible results.

This approach adds credibility to your claims and makes your CV more compelling.

#12. Not Including the Numbers

Quantify your achievements and experiences with numbers whenever possible.

Whether it’s increased sales percentage, project completion time, or team size you managed, using numbers adds substance to your CV and provides a clear picture of your contributions.

Numbers make your accomplishments more tangible and help you stand out as a results-driven candidate.

#13. Using the Wrong CV Template

Selecting an inappropriate CV template can negatively impact your application.

Choose a template that suits your industry, showcases your information effectively, and aligns with your style.

An attractive and well-structured template can enhance your CV’s visual appeal and leave a positive impression on recruiters.

#14. Putting the Wrong Contact Information

Your contact information is the “don’t-joke-with” part of your CV, as it allows employers to reach out to you.

Double-check that you have provided accurate and up-to-date contact details, including your full name, phone number, email address, and location.

Any errors in this section can lead to missed opportunities, so ensure the information is correct and easily accessible.

#15. Exaggerating the Truth

While it’s essential to present yourself in the best light on your CV, avoid exaggerating your skills, experiences, or accomplishments.

Being dishonest can lead to serious consequences if employers discover discrepancies during the hiring process.

Instead, focus on highlighting your genuine strengths and achievements to build trust with potential employers.

#16. Lying

Perhaps the most significant mistake to avoid is outright lying on your CV. Fabricating qualifications, experiences, or certifications can damage your professional reputation and credibility.

Employers value integrity, and discovering falsehoods can lead to immediate disqualification or even legal consequences.

Always be truthful and present yourself authentically in your CV.

Mentioning Salary Details: Avoid mentioning salary details, expectations, or negotiations in your CV. Salary discussions typically occur later in the hiring process, during interviews or offer negotiations.

Including salary details in your CV can be perceived as too focused on compensation rather than your qualifications and fit for the position, potentially impacting your chances of being considered for the role.

#17. Writing in the Third Person

Writing your CV in the third person is generally not recommended. Your CV is a personal document that introduces you to potential employers, and writing in the third person can come across as detached and impersonal.

Instead, use a first-person narrative to present your qualifications, experiences, and achievements more engagingly and directly.

By using the first person, you can convey a sense of ownership and authenticity, making your CV more relatable and memorable to recruiters.

Keep the focus on showcasing your skills and accomplishments, and avoid any language that may distance you from your achievements.

A well-written and personalized CV can leave a lasting impression and increase your chances of securing the job you desire.

5 Qualities of a Good CV

At this juncture, aside from the unique uses of the CV and Résumé, both of them require these 5 qualities to be accepted.

Relevance to the Position

A CV is more likely to be accepted when it directly aligns with the requirements of the job applied for.

Tailor your CV to highlight relevant skills, experiences, and achievements that demonstrate your suitability for the specific position.

Clear and Concise Format

A well-structured CV with clear headings, bullet points, and a professional layout is more likely to be accepted. Avoid using overly complex designs or fonts that may make the CV difficult to read. Keep the document concise, typically limited to one or two pages.

Accurate and Honest Information

An accepted CV contains accurate and honest information about your qualifications, work history, and achievements. Avoid exaggerating or providing false details, as employers can easily verify the information during the hiring process.

Demonstrated Achievements

Highlighting your accomplishments and quantifiable achievements adds credibility to your CV. Use specific numbers and data to showcase the impact you made in previous roles and demonstrate your value to potential employers.

Proofreading and Error-Free

A CV that has been thoroughly proofread and checked for errors is more likely to be accepted. Spelling mistakes, grammar errors, and typos can create a negative impression on recruiters. Use grammar-checking tools and ask someone else to review your CV before submitting it.


Should I include my primary and secondary school achievements in my CV?

It is generally best to keep primary and secondary school achievements to a minimum in your CV. Focus on highlighting higher education and relevant professional qualifications instead.

Is it necessary to include references on my CV?

No, it is not necessary to include references on your CV. Save references for later stages of the hiring process when employers explicitly request them.

Can I include a photo of myself on my CV?

Including a photo on your CV is generally discouraged, especially in regions with strong anti-discrimination laws. Avoid adding a headshot unless it is specifically required for the job application.

What is the recommended CV length?

Aim to keep your CV concise and relevant, typically limited to one or two pages. Avoid making it too lengthy, as recruiters often spend only a few seconds reviewing each CV.

Should I use a generic CV template?

Avoid using a one-fit-all CV template. Instead, craft a tailored resume that speaks the language of the organization you’re targeting. Generic CVs are often not considered by recruiters.


While the above ideas on the 17 mistakes you make in your CV are not exhaustible.

However, for those who are joining us no-(no one); I do like to repeat common CV cliches including phrases like “good communication skills” and “fast learner.”

Instead of using cliches, back up your skills with specific examples and achievements.

Do well and avoid including personal information like religion, political views, or marital status on your CV. Stick to essential details like contact information and qualifications.

Be Careful with Infographic-style CVs. They can be used in creative industries, however, ensure that the visual elements are professional and do not compromise the readability of the CV.

To optimize your CV for ATS, use industry-specific keywords(i.e. speak the language of the organization you wish to work or enroll into).

Format your CV with clear headings and bullet points for easy scanning by ATS software. Good luck


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