6 Common CV Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Let’s talk about CV’s. It’s something no one wants to chat about, for a number of reasons. They’re not fun to write, they take ages to update, and your brain keeps telling you to delete bits, only to add them back moments later!

We’d all love to not bother with CV’s, but because they’re the first thing employers see, you need to make yours great!

Please remember the mistakes listed below are extremely common, so don’t panic if it turns out you’ve made all of them. That’s what this blog is for.

We’re here to help!

  1. Not Spell Checking Your CV

Whether you’re an expert writer, or someone who struggles with spelling, we all need to be proofreading our CV. The last thing you want is ‘attention to detail’ as your top skill, next to a paragraph with several mistakes. According to ere.net, 77% of employers will immediately screen out a resume with typos or bad grammar. It seems simple, but it’s a deal breaker!

Want to avoid this? Make sure spell check in Word is on, and take some time to slowly go over your CV. Pro tip: You can get Word to read aloud to you, simply click on ‘review’ and click ‘read aloud’ on the top left-hand side.

  • Using the same CV for Every Role

Even when the jobs you’re applying for are all similar, sending a broad CV out to every employer won’t make you stand out. Make sure your CV matches the keywords in the job ad and let your personality shine.

We’d recommend looking at what the employer is asking for, and then working those details into your ‘skills’ section.

  • Leaving Gaps with No Explanation

Interviewers like to know what you’ve been doing, including things between employments. If you include these periods in your CV, they will completely understand gaps – we’ve all had them at some point in our lives! But leaving gaps with no explanation will leave people guessing, and it might put them off taking your application further.

We recommend briefly explaining why you were out of work, and what you got up to in the meantime. Did you do any volunteering? Were you looking after a family member? Or were you simply putting things in place for a career change? You’ll have gained skills in that gap no matter what you were doing – so let them know about it!

  • Lying on Your CV

It’s easy to think ‘What’s the harm? No one will know’, but this really won’t help you out in the long run. Lying on your CV may initially impress people, and you may even get a job out of it, but if you’ve said you have experience you don’t have, or promised you have expertise in a certain area you know little about – it could get you in a lot of trouble. Suddenly, getting the job may be the worst thing possible.

We always recommend being honest. If you don’t have experience in an area of work you’re interested in, write a cover letter with your current skillset to show how you would be a good fit anyway – the right employer will take a chance on you!

  • Making Unproven Claims

 This is a strange one, but if you have something along the lines of, ‘best product manager in the history of the earth’, or ‘the top recruiter in the whole of the UK’, we’d advise you remove it immediately.

Whilst we’re not saying you aren’t those things, it’s really hard to prove such claims. Not to mention, you’ll look slightly arrogant. Show your qualities off in other ways, with qualifications and experience to back you up.

  • Using Big Chunks of Text

Employers and recruiters are extremely busy. If you have a huge chunk of text listing the skills you’ve learned and responsibilities you’ve held since birth – you’ve probably lost them.

Make your CV concise, with bullet points detailing your day-to-day activities. Let the key information stand out, without it getting lost amongst pages of text.

We hope these tips help for when you next edit your CV. Once again, if you’ve made these mistakes, that’s completely fine – we all have! Recruiters and employers have seen it all. Take some time to reflect on the type of role you want, and what you want employers to see when they view your CV the first time. Final pro tip: cut anything out that’s not needed. Make your skills pop.

We wish you the best of luck in your job search!

Beam Recruit is a specialist accountancy and finance recruitment consultancy based on three principles: transparent, honest and ethical. Whether you’re recruiting for a position or looking for your next role, Beam can help you along the way.