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Everything You Need to Know About Common CV Mistakes

On14/ 06 /18
A great Curriculum Vitae speaks for itself – but nailing its content can be tricky. A successful professional resume sticks to the basics, presents itself well, highlights your skills and relevant experience – all in the form of a clear, well-structured document that stands out. To make sure that you stand the best chance of landing a job, check out four common CV traps below and our tips on how to not fall into them.


Having a clear and relevant summary of your work experience and your personality plays an essential part in your CV’s success. This is because its premium location at the top of the page makes the process of browsing CVs and shortlisting only the right candidates easier for a recruiter. 

To make sure your introduction paragraph stands out from your competition keep it short, sharp and simple. Think about core keywords too – bear in mind that your professional resume is your first chance to make a good impression on a potential employer, so lean toward utilising words such as “achieved”, “developed” and “grew” instead of using general clichés like “enthusiastic”, “passionate” or “self motivated”. 

Irrelevant personal information

According to Undercover Recruiter, “recruiters spend on average 5 to 7 seconds looking at a CV”. This isn’t long, so why overwhelm your potential employer with irrelevant information such as political preferences, religion or marital status? Those details aren’t of interest to a recruiter, and can be even illegal to share under the equality act applicable in the UK. 


When applying for a dream role, people often try to make up their skills. According to HireRight’s employment screening benchmark report, in 2017 85% of applicants were caught fibbing on their resumes. But did you know that including false information in a job application is considered fraud? According to statement released by Gelbergs Solicitors, lying on an employment application is considered ‘fraud by false representation’ in the eyes of the law and can land a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. 

So if you feel tempted to stuff your professional resume with white lies, resist that feeling. Lying about languages you’re fluent in, technical proficiencies and qualifications is never a good idea, so try to think about the transferable skills you possess instead. 

Unexplained gaps

If you’ve got a gap or two on your CV, you’re not alone – we’ve all been there, taking time away from work for a variety of different reasons. And it doesn’t mean that you need to hold back on your next job search – on the contrary, you should be actively seeking your next opportunity to make sure that the unemployment gap doesn’t widen. 

When it comes to attending the actual interview, be honest with the recruiter and explain the reason behind taking a break from employment. Bear in mind that you aren’t obligated to go into much detail, so keep the answer short and sweet by highlighting the positives and leaving out the negatives. For example, if you took a “gap year” from employment to travel, what did learn and experience that helped you develop as a person? Remember that there is a lesson in everything, so make the most of your time off and emphasise how you used that employment gap to gain a different type of experience.   

Struggling to know what should you include and say within your CV? Read our CV & Interview Tips section today for a selection of hints and tips to help you along your recruitment journey. 

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