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5 unusual CV mistakes that could cost you the job

Andrew Fennell, author of How to write a CV – The Ultimate Guide, gives his top tips.

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When you’re looking to land a new role, an impressive CV packed with plenty of relevant skills and knowledge is vital. But sometimes the things you omit from your CV, can be just important as the things you include.

It only takes one mistake for an employer to start doubting your credibility, so make sure that your CV doesn’t include any of these lesser known mistakes that might ruin your chances of making it to interview stage.

1: Not doing your research

One of the most damaging CV mistakes that candidates make happens well before they start writing their CV, and that is failing to research their target roles. If you start writing your CV without knowing exactly what your desired employers are looking for in a candidate, then you are setting yourself up to fail.

To avoid this pitfall, take some time to browse through relevant job adverts and make a list of the most important candidate requirements. You can then refer to this list throughout the writing of your CV to make sure you are including all the most relevant attributes.

2: An unprofessional email address

Your CV is a professional document and the very first chance you have to make an impression on potential employers, so it’s a big mistake to brand the top of it with a nickname email address like bazza3000@yahoo.com.

It looks unprofessional and whilst it may not be a deal breaker, it will certainly make recruiters wonder how seriously you are taking the application. If you have a slightly embarrassing email address from years ago, simply set up a new one for your job hunting efforts that is based on your full name.

3: Poor file naming

When your CV arrives in a hiring managers’ inbox, the filename will be visible to them. Saving your CV as something unsightly like myCVdraft32 looks a bit sloppy and won’t give you the appearance of a polished candidate.

Saving your CV in the format Forename Surname CV will not only maintain a professional approach, but will also make it easier for recipients to find your CV once it’s saved on their computer.


Want to boost your CV? Get expert advice from these articles:

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4: Including salary details

The purpose of your CV is to win job interviews by demonstrating you have suitable skills and experience for your target jobs. Including your salary requirements on your CV can not only seem a little forward but it can also damage your negotiation powers when it comes to offer stage.

For example if a company is willing to pay £40k for a role and you have already told them that you will accept £35k in your CV, you will find it very difficult to secure an offer nearer to £40k.

5: Keyword stuffing

Some candidates pack their CVs with repeated key terms and phrases in attempt to ensure their CV passes the CV scanning software that many companies use. However this can often look hugely unnatural and doesn’t make for great reading when a human lays eyes upon it.

CV scanning software doesn’t play as big a part in candidate selection as most people think and your CV will always be reviewed by a real person in good organisations. So write your CV for people first and then make a few tweaks to include keywords if you need to, but don’t overdo it.


Get your CV noticed:

Visit our Careers Advice pages for more free CV templates.

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17 Comments

(All comments have to be approved before they appear)

  1. majed MousaSaturday, 3 Dec, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    I’ve been applying for different companies for the last 12 months, but unfortunately no one reply even am updating my resume with your useful guide. Thanks

    • Tracey huishSaturday, 7 Jan, 2017 at 12:40 pm

      Am the same no one reply back ignore if you ask me

  2. Carole Ann EdmundsSaturday, 3 Dec, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Thank you for the good advice

    I think that I am 80% there with my cv

    Kind Regards

    Carole Ann

  3. Edward NdlovuSaturday, 3 Dec, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    I would like help with my CV could help make it perfect

    • Ian GSaturday, 4 Mar, 2017 at 3:38 pm

      I have two CVs, one is a generic CV that covers basics (Two pages long) and a second one that is more detailed covering in depth (Four pages long) I also include past company logos (Easy for anyone looking at the CV to see who I have worked for) I also included hyperlinks that by a simple click will open a past project or position that I have worked on.
      Advantages are any one looking at the CV can quickly look at is within about 10 seconds, and then if they like look further into it, Cheers Ian G

  4. anonymousSaturday, 3 Dec, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    6. Not getting your finished work properly proof read prior to publication… ” damage your negation powers ” – ‘NEGOTIATION’!

  5. Zahid Anwar AfridiSaturday, 3 Dec, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Web designers work with graphics and images in order to develop websites for clients. A web designer needs to possess excellent skills in graphic designing and need to have a creative thought process to be able to do justice to the job.
    In a sea of generic cover letters for web designer resume, a compelling and targeted cover letter really does make an impact. When you write a generic cover letter, you get lost in this sea. But when you make an effort to clearly and articulately make yourself stand out from the crowd by focusing on the needs of prospective employer, the end results lead you to success.

  6. Zahid Anwar AfridiSaturday, 3 Dec, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    HI i AM Zahid Anwar Afridi

  7. Solomon AdegunSaturday, 3 Dec, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    Many thanks for your offer; however I have just had my CV revised by professional but reduced my 8 pages CV to two pages where must of my experience was omitted
    Kindly advice
    Regards
    Sonny

  8. Wajid KhanMonday, 5 Dec, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Thank you for your fantastic tips and help. Much obliged.

  9. LisaMonday, 5 Dec, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    First of all I don’t expect these comments to be approved but I’ve noticed Mr Fennell appearing on various websites giving advice regarding CVs & no doubt being paid for it yet what a pity he or his company don’t offer the same professionalism for their CV service. I requested a free review over 18 months ago & have not heard a single word from them since; absolutely nothing!! Tried to phone them – same problem. Never in my adult life since having to deal with various organisations I have EVER dealt with a company that is so unprofessional as this one & how they are still in business is quite frankly beyond me!!

    • Andrew FennellSaturday, 17 Dec, 2016 at 9:11 am

      Hi Lisa

      Unfortunately it would seem that we didn’t receive your original message, but if you’d like to email us on hello@standout-cv.com, one of our team will get back to you ASAP

      Regards
      Andrew

    • Sohail YusufSaturday, 4 Mar, 2017 at 10:09 pm

      I have 11.5 years Administrative experience, a degree in Business Studies and done voluntary work.

      I normally apply for jobs if the job description matches the skills I have. If I lack even one or 2 things, I don’t bother because recruiters will simply bin your CV.

      Finally, I have had my CV reviewed by a professional CV company. Although it was good, alot of the terminology used was at executive level. I have specialised in HR but lack the experience yet my modified CV emphasised “an an experienced administrator and human resources expert”. As I have not worked in HR I simply have nothing to back up my knowledge so I didn’t use it. The cover letter was much better though.

  10. StephenSaturday, 10 Dec, 2016 at 12:19 pm

    Don’t you usual mistakes?

  11. Bruno asalaSaturday, 10 Dec, 2016 at 12:21 pm

    I’m looking for delivery van driver

    • Mike HoltSunday, 22 Jan, 2017 at 4:30 pm

      Hi I’m looking for delivery van driver job.

  12. Mr MontezumaThursday, 26 Jan, 2017 at 8:42 pm

    As someone who reviews CVs and holds interviews regularly, I would advise any of my prospective candidates not to embellish their achievements too much. I have had more than one occasion recently when the person sat in front of me paled in comparison to the professional deity portrayed in their CV, and whilst this will get you a foot in the door, a good interviewer will find you out! Be positive by all means, but be totally honest. It pays in the long run.

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