Top 5 CV Mistakes Recruiters Regularly Find


Recruiters will view hundreds of CV's a day, so whilst you may have all the skills and experience to make you the perfect candidate for the role, making some of the below mistakes could ultimately cost you the job. Within the first 60 seconds of glancing at your CV, recruiters will have a very good idea whether or not they want to put you forward for the role, so making sure your key skills are easily accessible is essential. Ultimately, the aim of a CV is to accurately demonstrate you have the key experiences and skills that will make the ideal candidate for the role. So when writing your CV, always put yourself in the mind-set of the recruiter and think "what are they looking for on my CV to demonstrate I am right for this job". When you have answered that question, make sure your CV also conforms to this.

The same common mistakes always seem to arise, so be sure your CV does not contain any of the following:

1.) Spelling/Grammar Mistakes

Making a spelling or grammar mistake on your CV can be one of the most damaging mistakes you can make, with 59% of recruiters rejecting a candidate because of this. Whilst it can feel like a simple and small mistake to make, having an error free CV is vital in showcasing you have good attention to detail as well as a decent grasp of the English language. So make sure you read through your CV multiple times and have someone else proof read it for good measure.

When it comes to the actual context in your CV, another thing to avoid at all costs is the use of meaningless clichés. Whilst using jargony buzzwords may make you sound like you have the required workplace skills, in all honesty they are something recruiters would rather not see. Claiming you are "a great team player" and "can work well independently" comes across as boring and unoriginal so try to put the focus on the individual skills and experiences that are unique to you, this is what will make you stand out and be memorable.

2.) Poor Formatting

You have little time to make a good impression with your CV, and the format/design of it will be the first thing a recruiter notices. Making a good first impression is ideal and sets the tone for how the rest of the CV is analysed, so be sure to make sure it is easily digestible. The key with the format is to make it clean and presentable. So fancy borders, small or strange fonts are ill-advised, unless you are going for a creative design role where it may be necessary to some these skills. Keeping the CV concise with good consistent formatting will make it far easier for recruiters to quickly identify the experiences and skills that make you suited for the role. 

If you want more  advise on all things formatting when it comes to a CV, click HERE. 

3.) Lying

Whether it is spotted straight away or later down the line, lying can damage your application with a job. These things are often spotted straight away. However, if a lie in your CV is not spotted straight away, later down the line when you are sacked for not being good enough at a role because you lied about your capabilities, this can affect future employment. As when you are asked why you left the job, it will not look good on your application....well unless you are a pathological liar and lie why you got sacked as well. 

CV's are all about demonstrating your true capabilities and skills so having something that represents you accurately is important, plus lying on a CV counts as fraud and in some cases can actually result in a prison sentence when caught. Ultimately, recruiters are not only looking for people with the best qualifications, experience and personality for the role- but also someone with integrity and honesty to act in the firms best interest. However, as you can see below, even some key features of a CV are lied about constantly.

(Image Source:

4.) Listing Specification Over Achievements

Recruiters will commonly view CV's which will contain and copy and pasted job specification for each of the candidates previous roles. Doing this makes it difficult to see whether you were good at the role and hardly makes you stand out. However, if you give examples of your achievements during these roles and how you added value to the company, recruiters can actively see whether you are effective at the job as you have demonstrated what you bring in terms of productivity.

For example, if you are a Recruitment Consultant and your CV states "finding and placing candidates for well suited role with clients", this may demonstrate what you did and the type of experience you picked up, but it doesn’t show how well you may have done. Whilst saying "I placed 40% of the candidates I put for an interview whilst at this role" actively shows data to how well you have done. This can then be used to show how effective you are-which will ultimately benefit you if you have done well at your previous roles.

5.) Lack of Evidence

When writing up a CV, it is important that any claims or statements you make are backed up with evidence, as this gives your achievements credibility and helps contextualise them for recruiters. If possible try do this in quantifiable terms, as this allows recruiters to compare the figures and get a real understanding of just how efficient you are at the role. Although, don't do this at the expense of the CV's readability- the CV's context needs to flow throughout.

However, finding a balance is key in terms keeping the CV concise. You need to be able to explain your achievements with evidence- but at the same time not waffle and keep it to the point. This is important as it will show to recruiters you have the ability to highlight key points and express them in a succinct and clear manner.

If you have any gaps in your CV- be sure to demonstrate why this is, as having large unexplained gaps can look like you have been doing nothing during that period. Whilst you may well have a good reason such as having gone travelling, taken maternity leave or working part time in a previous role.

Need a CV template to help you structure your CV? Follow this link for more advice and a free template to get you started!

Follow Us