CV & Resume Mistakes To Avoid When Applying For Jobs


Your CV or resume is an important document that you should put enough time into writing before you apply for any job opening. 

Employers and hiring managers sometimes get tens or even hundreds of applications sent in, and the goal is for yours to stand out among the rest. 

To achieve that, you will have to pay attention to how you approach writing certain sections of the application while being careful not to make any fatal mistakes. 

When we say fatal mistakes, we really mean those mistakes that employers hate to see. To explore which mistakes in resumes employers love to see the least, recent research asked 2800 employers to identify those to make the life of job seekers easier.

Here are the mistakes that you really should avoid making when writing your resume or CV:

  1. Submitting the same application for every job

Job hunting can be stressful and demanding, kind of like a job in itself. That is why many job seekers often succumb to the temptation to send in the same CV or resume to many different job positions that do not have a lot in common. Almost half of the employers who took the online survey (47% of them) admitted they reject resumes and CVs that are not related and tailored to the job opening. 

Each time you are to apply to a job opening, you need to make sure that your application relates to the job description advert. You can use a few keywords from the description and highlight the required skills that you have. Tweaking the resume should not take too much time. There is no need to write a new one from scratch for every application, but just make sure it relates to the job you are applying for. 

  1. Not proofreading and checking for grammar mistakes 

Bad grammar, as well as spelling mistakes, are cardinal mistakes according to the large majority of the polled employers. Three-quarters of the employers (75%) who participated in the survey are likely to reject you for this. Typos can happen, even when you are careful. But they should not give you too much pain if you use spell check once you have finished writing. 

Besides spell check, it is also important to check for any improper grammar use. You can read the contents of your application sentence by sentence, but by starting from the last sentence on the page. If you cannot find any mistakes, also ask someone else to go over the CV or resume for you just to be sure. 

  1. Listing your experiences from oldest to latest 

The majority of the surveyed employers (61%) admit that you might leave a bad impression on them if you start your experience section by listing the oldest roles first. As you want to avoid this, start by writing about your latest job position and use a lot of detail to explain what that role entailed. After that, you can also include your older roles. You don’t need to make their descriptions as detailed. 

By listing your latest experiences at the top, hiring managers shouldn’t have a hard time finding out about your latest skills. They want to know about your current state more than what you had done at your first job ever. This is because you have probably advanced and developed since then. 

  1. Saying what your duties were instead of achievements 

Your potential employer is not interested a lot in what your duties and responsibilities were at a certain job position. Instead, they wish to know about what you have accomplished while obtaining those duties. That is why 43% of the employers in the survey are likely to reject your CV or resume if you fail to show your impacts and accomplishments. 

To demonstrate your value, you can tell the employers that you helped your company accomplish something by using figures and numbers. That way, they can also see how you could help their company and their brand if you were to join the team. 

  1. Not paying attention to the layout

Resumes and CVs need to be easy to read and pleasant enough to the eye. This means that you should not use too many colors, have big chunks of text, or use multiple unreadable fonts. Every section of your application needs to be easily found by skimming the page. 

Different fonts, such as Times New Roman or Verdana, are easy to read and that is why they are commonly used when writing a CV or a resume. Make sure to also use them at their standard size and not to use more than one font on the same page. Otherwise, the study found that around 46% of the employers are likely to reject you for using more than just one font. 

It is also important to organize the pages so that the layout is not messy. Poor design could also cost you the job, as almost one-third (32%) of the employers stated that poor design might lead to the rejection of the applicant. 

  1. Writing too many pages

As some jobs are popular in demand, hiring managers get even hundreds of applications sent in for them. Because of this, and many other reasons, they cannot dedicate a lot of time to each CV or resume they receive. If you send a resume longer than 2 pages, 57% of the employers who participated in the survey could reject you. Additionally, the surveyed employers mostly spend between 1 and 5 minutes reviewing every application.

Now that you know that every employer and hiring manager is pressed by time and other factors, you should tailor your application so that it is both short and concise enough. If you have a lot of experience, you can make your application up to 2 pages long. However, if you have under 5 years of experience, there is no need to make it longer than a page. 

  1. Giving incorrect and improper contact information

In the contact section of your application, you should include your name, phone number, as well as your email address. Over 90% of the polled employers said they want you to include your phone number so that you are easy to reach. Your phone number contact should be up to date and correct. 

When including your email address, make sure it sounds professional enough. For example, embarrassing names such as “” simply should not find their place on a resume or a CV. Moreover, the study found that 21% of employers are likely to reject you for such an email address. Instead, create an email address that includes your first and/or last name to appear professional and credible. 

Besides the phone number and the email address, many debate whether they should also include their social media profiles when searching for a job. Unless they are important for the job you are applying for, there is no need to include them. For example, if you only use it for private reasons. Likewise, only 14% of the employers stated they want you to include your social media handles. 

  1. Mistakes In The Education Section

When listing your college experiences and diplomas, you should start from the latest education experience and then move down towards older education history. The majority of the employers said they don’t like it when job seekers don’t list their education history from the latest to the oldest. 

Another thing to keep in mind here is that employers want you to include the full names of the educational institutions you have attended. Instead of writing NYU, say that you went to New York University, for example. 

Final Thoughts

Writing a CV or a resume does not have to be so complicated if you follow the rules. Moreover, fixing some of these mistakes could also help you make the job hunt more effective and faster. Once you have mastered your CV or resume and been invited for a job interview, you should start learning how to prepare for it