Top mistakes job seekers make when writing career CVs

It takes time to design the ideal job application, and it's disheartening to imagine that your CV could be refused at the first hurdle due to an easily avoidable mistake.

Job Seeker Illustration 169149 Vector Art at Vecteezy

While most of us understand how to write a CV, it's shockingly easy to make simple errors - and if you're not aware of them, they could cost you a job.

  1. Improper formatting

Employers are turned off by CVs that aren't straightforward and easy to read. Employers spend an average of eight seconds checking each CV, giving you no time to make a positive first impression.

When considering how to structure your CV, it's vital to help the reader get to the most pertinent information as quickly as possible.

As a result, it is important to keep your CV brief so that it can be easily absorbed. The template you use to build your CV should be eye-catching while remaining uncluttered. Avoid using different fonts and sizes, and avoid using misleading formats.

Don't use anything smaller than a size 10 font, and leave plenty of white space.

In an effort to stand out, I see the use of ratings using stars or bars on CVs. These are often linked to hard or technological skills. Even if they look good, an employer wants to know how you can put those skills to use.

Take a look at some latest job vacancies in Nigeria.

  1. Failing to personalize the application

One size does not suit everything when it comes to CVs. Anything you include should be fully customized to the organization and job for which you are applying. Recruiters would be able to easily see that you are the ideal candidate as a result of this.

Employers can tell right away if you've done your homework on the job specifications. There's nothing worse for a recruiter than getting a CV that conveys a lack of interest, attachment, or time spent on it. Evaluating which of your skills most effectively fit the work specification will give you the best chance of success.

Don't be afraid to be ruthless when it comes to eliminating irrelevant encounters. Even if you're applying for similar positions with different organizations, make sure you review their precise criteria and adjust your CV accordingly.


Consider your CV to be your personal highlight reel, containing the most important details for each position you're applying for. You may have a master CV with everything on it, but you should customize what you submit for each application, particularly if you're applying for jobs in different industries.

Tailoring demonstrates that you are involved in the job enough to put time and thought into your application. It reflects your inspiration, which is an important part of what employers seek.

  1. Incorrect spellings

Even if English isn't your first language, there are no reasons for spelling errors. An error-free CV is essential for demonstrating your precision and attention to detail, so double-check everything, including your contact information. Don't forget the squiggly red lines that your spell-checking app uses to detect errors in text. Double-check what they're saying and consider if the alternatives they give will add or subtract impact from your writing.

Reduce your chances of making mistakes by taking your time - never put off writing your CV until the last minute. Examples that are rushed are easily identified and discarded.

Most professional CV writers also advises you to double-check your tenses. 'Because CVs are updated on a regular basis, tenses may get mixed up and not be updated to represent the current situation. Is the experience you're writing about happening right now, or is it a part you played in the past? Check that you're using the proper present or past tense.'

To see if there is a spelling or grammatical error, temporarily change the font, scale, and color - this will trick your brain into believing it's a new piece of writing, allowing you to spot errors you might have overlooked previously.

CV CLUE provides some additional useful advice. 'Print your CV and read it aloud; this will slow down your thinking process and encourage you to concentrate on specific words.' Others can stumble through clumsy sentences if you do. You may also read your CV from bottom to top to ensure you don't miss something. This makes the flow less familiar, making it easier to spot errors.'

  1. Lies

While you're trying to get a foot in the door and impress future employers, it's tempting to stretch the reality because, after all, who's going to check?

That is incorrect. Since the information on your CV is easily verifiable, never presume that recruiters would not inquire.

Lying about your Alma Mata, pretending to have completed university when you haven't, lying about your current job title, or embellishing a time of work experience would not help you in the long run. Your lies will be transparent at best, and your CV will be dismissed outright. At worst, you may be invited to an interview in which you will either trip yourself up or be asked questions to which you will be unable to respond.

  1. Inadequate proof

When you're trying to reach a tight application deadline, it's easy to make generic, hollow statements on your CV. However, failing to successfully demonstrate your talents, accomplishments, and experiences may be a costly mistake.

'It's critical to back up how you meet the criteria because an employer can't be sure that you're capable of doing the job effectively without this knowledge,' explains CV clue. 'You can't be the safe pair of hands an employer is looking for unless you can easily clarify how you've used specific skills or acquired experiences.'

Concentrate not only on what you did, but also on what you accomplished. Most likely, your previous experience was temporary, voluntary, or part-time, with duties such as 'tidying the office' or 'filing and data entry.' You want to highlight how you took on such responsibilities and went above and beyond to make a difference. For example,'shortened average closing time with efficient clean up' or 'held office running smoothly with fast data entry' may be examples.

'Don't assume that an employer can see how good of a communicator you are only because you say you interact with people on the phone. 'It is your responsibility to demonstrate how you do it effectively,' CVclue says.

  1. Failure to clarify 'why'

It is not enough to simply state your credentials; you must also demonstrate them by explaining why you have chosen to engage in such activities for your personal and professional growth. You can then go into greater detail about the skills you've learned as a result of your efforts.

Discussing your extracurricular activities, for example, is critical if you pay special attention to any positions of responsibility you've held and detail what you've gained from the experience.

Average CVs, on the whole, offer you the 'what' - for example, the degrees or jobs the person has had. Great CVs also include the 'whys,' such as why the individual chose that degree or society.


  1. Ignoring gaps in your employment history

Gaps in job history are fairly common, and as long as they are clarified, they are rarely a concern.

You don't need to think about breaks of a few weeks, but if you've been out of work for months (or even years), you must justify why simply and concisely. Any unexplained absences of this length will be viewed with suspicion by prospective employers, giving the impression that you were idle during this time.

Don't be afraid to tell recruiters that you took time off to volunteer, care for a sick relative, or travel around the world. There is also no shame in telling employees of a time of absence due to sickness, a medical condition, or redundancy.

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Thanks for the article, to be honest, I often made these mistakes, because no one explained to me how to write a CV correctly. Because of this, I can't find a job that would suit me. Now I use Jooble to find what I need. I've found some interesting job openings here, so I'll make sure to save these tips to use when I interview.


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