8 Things Wrong with your CV.

Your CV is usually aimed at time-impoverished professionals, thus it’s no surprise that research conducted by Ladders found that recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds actively looking at CV’s during the initial shortlisting phase.

It took you more time to read this article’s introduction than  a recruiter will actively spend examining your CV.  

Thus, it’s up to you to make it easy for them to conclude that you are a strong candidate and want to take a closer look at your CV. Here are 8 things you should probably avoid doing to make your 6 seconds meaningful.

1. Not proofreading

Go through your CV carefully and thoroughly. After you have finished, get a friend, family member or colleague to do the same. Check for spelling mistakes, inconsistent or erroneous information, and grammatical errors as these easily put off recruiters.

Date of Birth
So many abilities for one not born

2. Not having Sections & Headings

Psychology recognizes a process called chunking. Chunking is a term referring to the process of taking individual pieces of information (chunks) and grouping them into larger units. Chunking allows people to take smaller bits of information and combine them into more meaningful, and therefore more memorable, wholes.

By ‘chunking’ the information on your CV and using Section Heads such as;

  1. Personal Profile
  2. Work Experience
  3. Education
  4. Memberships & Associations
  5. Interests & Hobbies
  6. References

You give the recruiter a clear road-map of where all your information is and actually make it easier for them to remember you and your information.

Education Good
Good Chunking
Education Bad
Bad Chunking

3. Using Chronological or worse off No order

The recruiter might appreciate abstract art but probably not on your CV. Present your information in a logical and orderly fashion. Make sure to include dates (months and years) related to your various information.

Most recruiters prefer the use of a “reverse chronological” format. Basically, your most recent experiences (work and education) should come first, with the later experiences coming further along in the document. This, more often than not, works in your favour as your most significant qualifications are usually the latest, and they will be the first to catch a recruiters eye.

Reverse Chronological Order
The MSc is seen before the GCE

You might also choose to be brief about your earlier experiences so you can describe your more recent roles in greater detail.

4. Assuming your CV is a thesis

According to Reed, the most effective CVs aren’t just informative, they’re also concise. Try and get straight to the most pertinent points, and ideally take up no more than three pages (this is subject to experiences). Don’t put your life story on your CV. Every single sentence there should play a part in your possible recruitment. If it does not, chuck it!

5. Having the wrong font

Choose a professional font. This ensures that your CV can be easily read and simply scanned. A few recommended fonts are;

  1. Garamond
  2. Times New Roman
  3. Cambria
  4. Calibri

Comic Sans is not your friend.

6. Having a picture on your CV

Having pictures on CV’s is a great source of contention in the HR community, I say don’t do it, unless it is required or VERY PROFESSIONAL. The recruiter will probably spend 3 of your 6 seconds looking at your picture instead of your educational background. I once handed someone a CV with a picture and they looked at it and said “ooooohh who is this Slay Queen!’, not that being a ‘slay queen’ is a bad thing. It however, changes the narrative from who is this qualified professional, which is what you want your CV to say.

Selfies are not meant for the CV.

7. Including information that might discriminate against you

Unfortunately, recruiters are people too. Your age, tribe, marital status, religion, and sex may serve to disadvantage you. Stereotypes are constantly at work, you might have the best educational backing and work experience but the fact that you are single may deem you as ‘playful’ or married as ‘unable to fully commit to the job’. Unless this information is specifically requested, don’t include it. To reiterate

Every single word on your CV should play a part in your possible recruitment. If it does not, chuck it!

Let them find out if you’re male or female when they call you in for an interview. Noted that this is easier to do if your name is Musonda as opposed to Mary.

8. Lying

Don’t lie about your qualifications or work experience, it’s almost comical how small the world is. The truth shall prevail and the lies will only serve to make you unemployable. Also, try to avoid hype and generalities.

It’s AMAZING how many CV writers are born leaders and strategic thinkers with excellent communications skills!

Don't exaggarate
It will be a lot to achieve for an Intern. Note the grammatical errors as well.

If you found this helpful, you might also want to read these other articles

Dear 20 Somethings: Twenty Interview Do’s & Don’ts

I love you, but not in that way: What to do when you don’t get the job.

17 thoughts on “8 Things Wrong with your CV.

  1. Questions :
    1, when we are writting the cover letters should we includes sex,age,and marital status?
    2, when they ask us questions like tell us about yourself during the interviews what do they really want us to tell them?
    3, on our CVs should we also include our achievements?


  2. Am very happy to be properly guided by your articles especially on interviews. You are a woman of the moment may grace of God be upon you to leave longer.
    Question , is it a must that name must be indicated on the CV?


  3. Am very happy to be properly guided by your articles especially on interviews. You are a woman of the moment may grace of God be upon you to leave longer.


  4. Very helpful, i once review led a cv with a picture on it… She had so much much cleavage in said picture we spent half the time wondering if she was really an architect or a vixen.

    Keep up the terrific work.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s