Looking at updating your CV? Here’s our CV mistakes to avoid!
People often talk about what you must include in a CV but rarely about what not to include!
Whether you’ve started actively looking for work or just ‘seeing what’s out there 👀’, you’ve probably dusted off your old CV and realised it’s not quite fit for purpose…
Once you finally put pen to paper, you might be grappling with decisions on what to put in and what to leave out. Here’s some sage advice, courtesy of Alex, one of the Principal Consultants.
Our top 10 CV mistakes to avoid
Spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors
This is often a big stickler for hiring managers, especially for roles that require attention to detail.
Understandably, some find this more challenging than others, but it’s worth having it reviewed. Whether that’s from a friend/co-worker/family member, or using an advanced tool.
Attaching a picture or headshot
While some countries deem it standard practice, in many places, including the UK, it’s a no-no.
When incorporating a photo, you can unfortunately leave yourself open to unconscious bias. So, better safe than sorry—skip it!
Including irrelevant details
Keep your CV concise. For many people, this will ideally be within 1-2 pages. However, for those with varied jobs and long careers, long CVs are absolutely fine.
The key thing when including information is to;
- Focus on impacts rather than mere responsibilities.
- Ensure everything aligns with the job role you’re applying to.
Poorly formatted CV
First impressions are critical. Aim for a CV that’s both user-friendly and visually appealing, ensuring the hiring manager can swiftly pinpoint the essential details.
If you’re after a helping hand or are short on time, there are some great CV builder tools online now like;
Pro-tip: To retain your formatting, opt for a PDF over a Word doc.
Including overly private information
While this may seem basic, some people are guilty of oversharing in their CVs.
As a rule of thumb, if it’s not important info about your experience or the hiring manager contacting you, don’t include it!
Steer clear of info leading to bias (e.g., age or marital status) and potential fraud avenues (like NI or passport numbers). Even with location, a rough location, such as Central London or Bristol BS3, will perfectly do.
Including salary expectations
While some will disagree, we always say to leave off current salary or salary expections.
We find this can hamstring your negotiation capabilities later in the hiring process. Best to leave salary talk either until you speak with the hiring team, or leave it to your Recruitment Consultant to deal with (if you’re working with one!).
Linking outdated or unprofessional social media profiles
If you’re embedding links, ensure they’re current, professional, and pertinent to the job.
We’ve heard one too many horror stories where people have linked the wrong social platforms.
Side note: When you’re doing this, it’s also worth going through your social platforms to check what a potential employer might see. We’ll leave what you keep or hide up to you…
Writing in the third person
For us, this is a big no-no.
Your CV is a direct communication between you and potential employers. Writing in the first person keeps it personal and straightforward.
This bit of advice goes for your LinkedIn profile as well!
Omitting hobbies and interests
Hobbies and interests are a perfect way to inject some personality into your CV. It’s also a great way to ‘break the ice’ during the interview, as they often create perfect conversation starters.
Just remember: Hiring managers value individuals, not just skills.
Now, this isn’t an all-inclusive list of things to not do, and most are not hard rules – but it’s definitely some of the main things to try and avoid in our opinion.