1. Poor spelling and grammar.
It’s a cliché, but there really is no second chance to make a good first impression. Get your CV checked and checked again. It has to be perfect.
2. Too lengthy.
Keep it to just 2 pages (or 3 as a maximum for those in more senior or academic positions) and make full use of each page. Never leave a half page.
3. Complex formatting and gimmicks.
Avoid shading, boxes, tables, columns, highly stylised fonts, pictures and colours etc as they will not read, fax, copy or scan well. Simplicity of design will help your CV to look like the professional document that it is.
4. Writing in the first person (using ‘I’ and ‘my’ etc).
This informal style is fine for your covering letter, but less professional sounding in your CV.
5. Heading it with ‘Curriculum Vitae’.
This is no longer necessary as it is obvious what the document is – head it with your name instead, centred and in bold capitals for real impact.
6. No personal profile.
Having one is highly recommended as it’s a great way to catch the reader’s interest. It’s a short 3-4 sentence selling statement summing up your career background, areas of expertise, key skills and motivations whilst conveying a little of your personality.
7. Work experience written like a job description.
This section should show how well you do your job, quantify your achievements and demonstrate the benefits of employing you. Back the statements up with facts, figures and a couple of endorsements.
8. Information in the wrong order.
It’s crucial for a recruiter to see the most relevant information first. Consistently put the content of each section in reverse chronological order and place the most important information on page one.
9. Inclusion of unnecessary or negative information.
For example: reasons for leaving jobs, salary, non value-add interests i.e. ‘reading, music and socialising’, political, religious and sports team affiliations plus personal details such as gender, marital or parental status and age – none of which have any bearing on ability to do a job.
10. No mention of IT skills.
IT is increasingly prevalent in most industries and recruiters like to see that you can find your way around a PC. If you’re actually in the IT industry then full details of your technical skills need to be on page one.

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