10 Biggest CV & Resume Mistakes To Avoid (Research)

CV

Job hunting is usually a tiring process that leaves you stressed and can more often than not lead to burnout. What if we knew how to make it easier on you by giving you helpful tips about resume mistakes to absolutely avoid making?

A study by OfficeNeedle discovered which CV and resume mistakes hiring managers and employers consider as deal-breakers, resulting in the rejection of a job application.

Biggest CV & resume mistakes you should not make 

MISTAKE No. 1: SENDING OUT GENERIC APPLICATIONS

Out of desperation, many job seekers think it is a good idea to send out the same CV or resume for different job openings. Wrong! Around one in two employers (47%) will reject your application if you use the one-size-fits-all approach. Yes, even when companies use a recruitment software, you can be declined for this reason.

Instead, you should check out individual job descriptions and tailor your resume or CV to each one of them, by highlighting that you have the required skills and experience.

MISTAKE No. 2: MAKING YOUR APPLICATION TOO LONG

Time-pressed hiring managers do not have a lot of time on their hands when reviewing applications and choosing which candidates to invite for an interview. As a result of this, it is not surprising that 25% of employers take under one minute to decide whether your application meets the requirements for the next step in the hiring process or not.

If you write a long resume, in such a short available time, the hiring manager will have a hard time finding the most important information. Moreover, 57% of employers say they are likely to reject an application longer than two pages.

It is ideal for candidates with under 10 years of experience to make a one-page resume, while more experienced candidates should stick to not making it longer than two pages.

MISTAKE No. 3: NOT CHECKING FOR GRAMMAR AND SPELLING MISTAKES
Up to 75% of employers are likely to reject your CV or resume if they find typos or incorrect grammar use. This gives off a bad impression, as it seems like you didn’t spend enough time reviewing and proofreading your application before submitting it.

To tackle this, use spell-checks to find out whether you have misspelled any words. As for grammar, list important facts as short bite-size information without the use of pronouns (such as “I’ or “my”). Finally, stick to using the past tense.

MISTAKE No. 4: SHOWING YOUR DUTIES INSTEAD OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Not enough job seekers think to show what they have accomplished, but instead, stick to solely listing the duties they had at their previous jobs. Around four in 10 (43%) employers admit that this leaves a bad impression on them.

What you should do instead is show your accomplishments to give your potential employer an insight into how you could contribute to their business. To do that, write about the accomplishments as a result of your skills. It is a good idea to quantify your impacts by using numbers and figures.

MISTAKE No. 5: USING INCONSISTENT FONTS

A CV or a resume should not be an eye-sore for the hiring manager. To achieve that, make sure to leave enough white space on the pages and not make them very crowded with words. Moreover, using one easy-to-read font will help here.

Applicants often think it is a good idea to put more than one font on the CV and to use fancy fonts in many different sizes. However, 46% of employers are likely to reject a candidate whose application consists of more than one font.

MISTAKE No. 6: DETAILS OF THE CONTACT SECTION

The contact section of the application is usually one thing job seekers ponder which information to include in. Over 90% of surveyed employers say job seekers should include their phone numbers. Make sure it is your current number so you can be easily contacted when necessary.

Should you include your social media handles? Preferably not, if you only use them for private matters. On the other hand, only around 14% of employers say they want you to include your social media profiles.

Finally, also consider the email address you include in the contact section of your CV or resume.  Around 21% of employers are likely to reject a candidate with an unprofessional email address, such as a sk8er_boi@hotmail.com.

MISTAKE No. 7: INCORRECT ORDER IN LISTS

The education and the experience sections of the CV and the resume have to show your overall education history, as well as how extensive your experience is. When listing those, make sure to start from the latest role or the latest information regarding your education, before you make your way down to the earliest experience and education information.

It is important to list your experience and education that way, as around 60% of employers surveyed in this study admit candidates leave a bad impression on them if they list the oldest education and experience history at the top.

This way, any hiring manager and employer get to evaluate your latest skills and knowledge easily. Make sure to put more detail into the latest roles and education history than make your way down to your earlier experiences and education information.

MISTAKE No. 8: USING MEANINGLESS CLICHÉS

Almost every job seeker is guilty of describing themselves as a “team player” or a “hard worker” in their job applications. Such meaningless clichés leave a bad impression on around 60% of surveyed employers.

Instead of writing down these descriptions, you should prove you are productive and that you can manage time well to show that you are hard-working, indeed. Instead of saying you have “good communication skills”, show it by stating that your pitches sold products to new clients, etc.

MISTAKE No. 9: EXPLANATION FOR GAPS

Some job seekers are going to have periods in their lives when they could not secure a job, or when they simply focus on some other aspects of their life. For example, someone might have been traveling the world or battling sickness.

Only around 18% of employers will want to see you give reasons for those gaps in your resume or  CV. However, they might bring it up during an interview, or you might include it in your cover letter.

MISTAKE No. 10: UNRELATED SKILLS

Due to the lack of skills that a hiring manager is looking for as stated in the job description, some job seekers will compensate for this by listing many unrelated skills to the job opening. This survey found that around 28% of employers say listing unrelated skills leaves a bad impression on them.

Furthermore, any hiring manager might be suspicious of the skills that you have obtained, but that are not related to your work experience or your education. That is why around one in five employers (21%) admit it is not good to include those skills. If you do mention them, chances are you will get asked about them sooner or later.

Are you ready to update your resume to secure more job interviews?

Now that you know which CV and resume mistakes might potentially set you up for a disaster, it is time to do something about it. Open your latest CV or resume document and do a most-needed spring cleanse.

After you have finished including accomplishments, getting rid of fancy fonts in different sizes, and removing those meaningless clichés, your CV or resume should be able to secure you some phone interviews or face-to-face job interviews. Just make sure you tailor it to each position you are applying for.

AUTHOR BIO

Mateja Vukomanović is a Senior Writer for OfficeNeedle, a website dedicated to anyone who wants to kickstart their own business or further improve their current business. She conducted a survey where she found which CV and resume mistakes make employers reject candidates. She strives to uncover business trends by conducting research and bringing the latest news to business audiences.

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