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21 Reasons Your CV Sucks

Updated: Jul 12, 2023

Not many people leave an interview patting

themselves on the back and thinking,

Help! My CV sucks!
Help! My CV sucks!

“Nailed it!” Most of us either speak a mile a minute or trip over our words, spouting absolute gibberish while trying to smile and be charming. You’re talking yourself up until you’re sure you sound like a complete douchebag who no-one in their right mind would hire. And then you leave feeling vaguely humiliated… Which is why

if there’s one thing you have to have going for you, it’s a fantastic CV.


Now you might actually be the kind of person who charms the pants off an interviewer, who speaks effortlessly and answers difficult questions like a pro. And if so, you’re incredibly fortunate – but in order to get in front of a recruiter or prospective employer, you still need that fantastic CV. I know that no matter how badly I stutter in the interview, my CV is strong enough that the interview is a mere formality (to see if I’ll fit in with the company culture).


Most employers know by the end of your CV whether or not they’re likely to employ you, and it’s the deciding factor in calling you in for an interview…


How not to write a CV

A CV should be a profile of who you are – your skills, your education, and your work experience. It’s not a design portfolio or a dating profile. There’s a standard and traditional CV layout for a reason. It’s easy to scan and an employer can see at a glance what they need to know – they don’t have to go searching through your designer CV to find out what your qualification is or where you’ve worked.


So you’ve been to an arty school and you think you need to make your CV stand out from the rest… If you’ve caught my eye with your neon-coloured-boldly-going-10-sizes-bigger-font-than-any-applicant-ever-before CV … you better make sure that it is 100% free and clear of spelling or grammatical errors. Because as soon as your font is size 20, your mistakes are front and centre for the world to see.


Don’t make these 21 mistakes


So here are are a few of my favourite faux pas, that I have literally seen in CV submissions. Basically, if you commit these CV crimes, no-one should hire you, ever!


1. You’re allergic to capital letters. I shouldn’t even have to explain this one. If you’re starting sentences with ‘i’, just know that somewhere out there, an HR person is playing ball with your scrunched-up CV, tossing it straight into the bin.


2. “I have a mobile numbers”. Is text speak acceptable in CVs now? No. And also, if you’re applying for a job in the 21st century, I’m going to go ahead and assume that you have a mobile phone.


3. “Don’t ask me why…” Obviously, I’m going to ask you why … well, that’s if you had made it to the interview – which you didn’t.


Your CV should stand out for the right reasons


4. “I believe experience have now evolved into how well one can uses Google as a search engine”. I kid you not, someone wrote this.


5. “See how popular I am on social media…” Seriously? But in all seriousness…seriously?

Unless you’re applying for a job as a social media influencer, this doesn’t qualify you for much.


6. “I’m awesome so hire me.” Prove it. How are you more ‘awesome’ than every other awesome candidate?


7. “I admittedly still have to evolve, but everyone does everyday.” What does this mean??


Your CV is your first impression


8. “It is much more ‘spicier’ than the traditional CV”. More spicier? Please, no. No recruiter is looking for a spicy CV unless they’re looking to hire exotic dancers.


9. “My id/barcode is these several numbers”. You have your own barcode? Neat.


10. When your CV is a badly pixellated collage of images and handwritten post-its, into the bin it goes (after first being passed around the office for laughs).


11. “I can speak English; i do most of the time.” What do you speak the rest of the time?


12. When describing what you did in previous positions, you say “sales and marketing” for each one. Don’t tell me what that involves please, I like to use my imagination!


How to be unsuccessful


13. “I am available for hire from today.” Don’t sell yourself as ‘for hire’, unless it’s by the hour, in which case you probably won’t need a CV or portfolio of work…


14. You should not have a photo of yourself at the beginning of your CV looking like a member of KISS. Do you really want that to be your first impression?


15. “I went to school in 2008”. Just that one year?


16. “I received a certificate with resulted in me going to get a bachelor degree”. I have a hard time believing that.


17. When you have no paragraphs and have fitted a five-page essay onto one page, you guessed it – no callback for you.


Burn it and start again


18. “Master of Google search”. I have no words.


19. “I came in as their first attempt at creating a meaning brand existence”. So there was a second attempt by someone else right?


20. “The year of 2004 marked the year is I spent as a perfect”. If you were a ‘prefect’, I might expect your grammar and spelling to be ‘perfect’.


21. “I have become capable and knowledge”. You are the embodiment of knowledge? Wow.Better luck next time


Better luck next time

Now I’m not saying you won’t be successful or get a great creative job… All I’m saying is that you won’t get your CV past anal retentive people like me. So spend a little time with spell check or a dictionary, and maybe get someone else to read your CV before you send it. Your CV is your first impression – don’t stuff it up with stupid mistakes.


* Originally published here: Blonde Ambition.

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