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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

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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Make your CV stand out: Format your CV in the best way possible.

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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(All comments have to be approved before they appear)

  1. majed Mousa

    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

  2. Carole Ann Edmunds

    Thank you for the good advice

    I think that I am 80% there with my cv

    Kind Regards

    Carole Ann

  3. Edward Ndlovu

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

    • Ian G

      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. anonymous

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

  5. Zahid Anwar Afridi

    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. Solomon Adegun

    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

  7. Wajid Khan

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

  8. Lisa

    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 Fennell

      Hi Lisa

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


    • Sohail Yusuf

      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.

  9. Stephen

    Don’t you usual mistakes?

  10. Mr Montezuma

    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.

  11. MichaelFrean

    This tickled me a lot I once interviewed a candidate who showed up 20 minutes late. He barely apologised. At the interview he was asked what were his strengths and said he was always punctual. We panel members were slightly gobsmacked. Needless to say he didn’t get the job

  12. David Hutton

    I I had an “expert” run over my CV the next job I landed was from an old CV that had been on a job search site. Everybody has their own idea of what is a “perfect” CV. There are some obvious dos and donts but otherwise just need to hope the employer and yourself sgree what is a relevant CV.

  13. Alexander Ledingham

    Having worked on the Private sector and the Local authority / Council in my early years. I had the opportunity to work on MOD sites, for which I have been employed for over 20 years. Following redounds. I am finding it extremely difficult just to get to the interview stage.Having applied for approx. 100 positions, I have only had replies from eight. At no time have I been interviewed or got close to one. This is extremely frustrating as I am willing and able with my knowledge to adapt to most management vacancies.

  14. sonia omenogor

    thank you very much for all the assistance

  15. varth vader

    Haven’t worked since the death star 🙁


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