Common CV mistakes founded by our consultants

... by Gemini Personnel 28th Jun, 2019


At Gemini Personnel, our consultants receive a lot of CV’s for a wide range of positions, from junior to executive levels across many countries. A survey in 2012 revealed that recruiters and employers spend on average just 6 seconds reviewing a CV. Others claim that the average time is somewhere between 20 seconds to 1 minute to make a decision on whether or not to invite a candidate for an interview.

To help you improve your changes and personal branding with your CV, we spoke to our consultants and asked them about some of the common mistakes they find. In this post, you will find the common mistakes our consultants found.

1. Spelling and grammar mistakes
This may be the number one reason why candidates are rejected at the first stage. Bad spelling and grammar gives recruiters and hiring managers a bad impression of the candidate’s attention to detail. Spelling and grammar mistakes on a CV can often lead to rejection, even if you are qualified for the job.

2. Applying for jobs you are not suited to or qualified for
This point should not be taken as a suggestion that you should never aim for a higher position, or to transition into a different industry. The mistake that candidates make on this point is that they apply for every job that they see advertised, without looking at the job description or the candidate requirements. This can lead to job seekers spending a lot of time applying for many jobs regardless of the salary, location or role and then feeling frustrated when they do not receive any response.

3. Inappropriate photo
Some companies ask candidates to include a photo along with their application. Most of the times it seems like an easy thing to do, but it’s also an easy thing to do wrong. Your photo can give a hiring manager a good or bad first impression about you before they have even read your CV, so choose wisely.

4. Your CV is too long or too short
This can be a tricky balance to get right. If you have 30 years of working experience, then it can be a challenge to list all of your achievements in just 1 or 2 pages. Similarly, if you are a fresh graduate with no work experience, how do you fill half a page?

As mentioned at the beginning of this article, your CV is likely to be reviewed for a few seconds. Therefore it’s important to be clear and concise when highlighting your capabilities, whilst being too short and not providing enough information.

5. Listing your job responsibilities, not your achievements
When giving a summary of their previous work experience, some candidates will simply list the job responsibility of their current and previous roles, without mentioning what they actually achieved in these roles. If you are applying for a new job in the same industry, then it’s likely that the hiring manager will already know about the roles and responsibilities that you do in your current position. What they are actually looking for is how you perform, and how this will benefit their company.

6. The layout of the CV is messy
Your CV is your first impression; therefore it’s essential that it looks good. We dress to impress for a job interview, so your CV should be no different. If your CV has a mixture of different fonts, formatting, and styles, then it probably looks quite messy on the page or screen, which makes it difficult to read easily. If you are in a creative industry, then it is fine to show your creative flair and present a unique CV that shows your individual style. But if creativity is not your strong point, then it’s best to keep it simple.

7. Not investing enough time in your CV
If you’ve read this far, then you are obviously interested in improving your CV, which is great! Many job-seekers take on the task of writing or updating their CV with the same enthusiasm they do with having to clean the bathroom – it’s just a task that needs to be done, and done quickly! For experienced consultants, it can be very easy to spot candidates who have taken the time to really work on their CV and those who just want to get it written and then sent out ASAP.

We will follow up on this post with tips to avoid these mistakes and write the perfect CV, so keep an eye on our website and social media channels!

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