CV Writing Mistakes

Updated December 2022

Your CV is your first opportunity to impress. As you've no doubt already read hundreds of times: if you want to go further within the recruitment process, it’s important to stand apart from the competition. Your CV needs to highlight your experiences and skills to grab the recruiter’s attention; showcasing why you are the right person for the job.

However, there are common mistakes that people make which can deflect the recruiter's attention and result in your CV being overlooked.

Top CV Writing Mistakes

Spelling Mistakes

Did you know: 50% of CVs contain a spelling mistake? Spelling errors in your CV will make you appear careless and lazy. You cannot rely on autocorrect alone, so ask a friend or family member to read your CV to identify any mistakes.

When writing your CV, consider leaving it a day and reviewing it again the next morning with a fresh pair of eyes.

Article you may find useful: Tools and Tips to Proofread a CV


Using industry-specific jargon may seem like a good idea, but you should never assume that a recruiter will understand any acronyms you’re including.

Tailoring your CV to the industry you’re applying to is essential, however, certain sector-specific phrases or acronyms can differ (even between companies), so avoid any confusion by explaining any acronyms used.


It’s a common misconception that you have to detail all of your academic history while also listing your grades! This isn’t necessary. Unless you’re a graduate or have limited work experience (where providing a detailed overview would be useful), only briefly cover your qualifications.

The chances are a recruiter will not even read all those qualifications listed if this section is too lengthy, so stick to what’s applicable to the role you’re applying for.

Article you may find useful: How Far Back Should A CV Go?


When CareerBuilder surveyed 2,200 recruiters, "best of breed" was found to be the most irritating of clichés found in CVs. But that is not the only phrase you should be avoiding. Statements, such as: “I’m hardworking and driven”, or: “I give 110% in all my work” aren’t adding anything to your CV. A recruiter will have read these thousands of times, so demonstrate your experiences through examples rather than clichés.

Employment: Too Much Information

When compiling your employment history there is no need to provide the address of your employer, details of salary, or reason for leaving. All you need is the company name, your job title and dates of employment.

Add further detail as your explore your responsibilities in each role, including projects you have been involved in, skills obtained and achievements or accomplishments. Stick to the significant detail that will further your application and look to remove items, such as company logos or lengthy detail about the organisation as these will distract from your roles and responsibilities.


Your CV is a personal sales tool. Any available space on a CV is limited and you want to use it to sell your skills and experience effectively. Everyone likes reading, listening to music or socialising with friends. Unless you have done something that will help aid a recruiter in the decision-making process, leave it out.

Article you may find useful: Should You Include Hobbies on a CV?

Too Many Pages

All too often, employers will receive CVs that are too long! A good CV should be no more than around two or three pages (for graduate or more executive positions this may vary). 47% of recruiters have even stated that CV length has been a factor in declining a candidate’s CV: the more there is to read, the less likely it is that all your skills and qualities will be noticed. Try to decipher between what information is relevant to the job you're applying for, and what is not.

For example, it isn’t relevant to mention a part-time job you had at school when you’ve got ten years' experience. As a guide, look to add more detail to your most recent positions and then only briefly summarise as you work backwards. Your CV should be engaging and entice a recruiter to read on. Don’t make it so exhaustive that it becomes tedious to read.

Poor Structure

A recruiter spends 10-30 seconds on their first glance of your CV. If it’s poorly structured this could make the recruiter lose interest.

Keep vital information at the top of the page (such as contact details and personal profile) to compel the reader to find out more about you. Don’t hide details at the bottom of the page where they can be missed. Do not format your CV using columns or text boxes, either. Avoid large blocks of texts that become boring to read and break up your experiences, qualifications and skills by using bullet points, headers and defined sections.

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