CV mistakes – are you making them? (Part 2 of 2)

Following on from Part 1 of 2 CV mistakes, here are more CV errors to avoid. You only get one chance to make a good first impression so please consider the following;

Badly constructed layouts

The advancement of computer software has enabled many new and exciting ways for people to make their CV look fancy with all manner of design layouts; dialogue boxes, word clouds, scattered paragraph sections, embedded pictures etc. Excessive formatting is not only hard to follow, but also bear in mind that most employers and recruiters use CV parsing technology that can struggle with over-complicated formats. Your CV may look visually stunning, but this is a case of style over substance.

Lack of key information

Surprisingly, I still receive CV’s with limited or no contact details, education information, job titles and dates for each job role. Occasionally there will be no email or contact number at all! Ensure all key information is on your CV and include your LinkedIn details if you have an account. Furthermore, please ensure you are including the most suitable contact details e.g. only include your work email or phone number if you are comfortable with being contacted by employers and/or recruiters.

Note: avoid inappropriate email addresses e.g.!

Are you economical with dates and information?

It’s an obvious and slightly prickly point but always ensure that the information you present is correct and accurate. In an industry like the drinks market, many people know other people and their respective roles and responsibilities. Also, companies know other companies i.e. how they are structured, reasonable levels of responsibility and what candidates would realistically be in charge of etc. Therefore, avoid over egging the pudding. In addition be specific with dates, X working at Y between 2011 and 2014 is far too vague, include months as well. Also make sure your LinkedIn profile is consistent with your CV!

Another point is to avoid unexplained gaps in your CV. If you have been travelling, being on maternity etc. then please be open and upfront about this. There is nothing wrong with this and it is much better than a gap!

Omissions and gaps are frequently honest mistakes, but they stir up suspicion and questions in the readers’ minds.

Concise, compelling and clear

CV’s that contain long blocks of narrative often act as an instant turn-off for the reader. In turn this makes the reader rush through the detail and often undermines the real quality and skills of the author. Be clear and concise with narrative and use bullet points. Make it punchy and avoid bland descriptive text such as “I did X and then I did Y”. Avoid stating the obvious.

Limiting large amounts of laboured text allows for a sleeker CV and will avoid it becoming too long.

Fancy fonts and technicolour palettes

Some CV’s I receive are like works of art; awe-inspiring pictures and a raft of interesting colour combinations. Unfortunately for wannabe Picassos, simple is always best when writing a CV. Black and white, standard font with bolded emphasis on key or header information, ideally in a word document, is best. Nothing makes a CV harder to read than multiple bright colours, random text boxes, in different sizes, in some comedy font, all in bold. It is very distracting.

Maybe there are exceptions to this, depending of the type of role e.g. creative designer, but in our experience simple and plain is best.