Common CV mistakes that undermine your job application

Posted: 24 Apr 2019

Common CV mistakes that undermine your job application

Even the best candidates miss out on opportunities to advance their career by failing to correct these common CV mistakes.

When submitting your CV to a recruiter, it is important not to overlook key information or make basic mistakes. Set out below are some of the most common mistakes we find on CVs submitted by candidates applying for roles in the IT sector.

  • Subject line of email does not reference the job you are interested in. We deal with more than one vacancy at a time and receive lots of CVs every day so it vital to be clear about which role you are applying for. The subject line of your email should contain your name, the job you’re interested in and indicate that your CV is attached.
  • Basic information missing from email body. The body of your email should briefly explain your suitability for the role you are interested in. Remember to include your phone number and indicate the best times to call.
  • CV not attached and/or poor file naming of your CV. Before clicking send, double check that you have attached your CV. How you name your CV file is also important. “Jane Smith CV” is good. “My CV draft 5” is not good!
  • Out of date contact information. This sounds obvious but it’s amazing how often candidates update a previous version of the CV and forget to check that their contact details are still correct. Remember that the recruiter may separate your CV from your email when submitting it to an employer so you should always make sure that your contact details are up to date and correct on both.
  • Including photographs or graphics. Unless requested for a specific purpose, you should not embed photographs or graphics in your CV.
  • Not tailoring your CV to the position you’re applying for. Your CV should highlight that your experience and skills match the requirements of the role for which you are applying. When describing your current position, use the present tense to briefly explain your role, key responsibilities and relevant results. For previous roles, limit these to the most recent, relevant roles and use the past tense.
  • Failing to highlight achievements. It’s important to highlight the impact of your contribution so keep the focus on achievements rather than simply setting out a list of duties.
  • False claims. It’s important to be honest about your qualifications and experience. If you exaggerate or lie, this will most likely be found out during the recruitment process.
  • Inconsistent with your LinkedIn profile. Keep in mind that potential employers may check your LinkedIn profile so it is important that this is up to date and consistent with your CV. Make sure you have an appropriate professional photo on your profile.
  • Including confidential information. Confidential information such as religion, sexual orientation and marital status which employers are not allowed to ask for should not be included on your CV. Depending on how CVs are screened for a particular role, if you provide this type of information, it could result in your CV being rejected.
  • Out of date skills. Listing out of date skills makes you seem out of touch. Employers are not interested in your proficiency in outdated systems or applications.
  • Poor presentation. Many candidates submit CVs that are too long, contain spelling mistakes and are poorly edited. Rushed preparation leads to typos and mistakes so when drafting your CV, you need to read it, read it again, get someone else to read it, wait a day, then read it again. Remember you only get one chance to make a first impression.

Now that you know how to avoid common CV mistakes, what’s the next step?

Previously on this blog we shared tips on how to write a successful CV when applying for jobs in the IT sector. We highlighted that the best CVs are relevant, informative and brief. Currently, there are a wealth of opportunities for talented IT professionals at all levels in companies across Ireland. So, if you are interested in finding a role, or advancing your career with a new employer, check out the jobs our website and contact one of our specialist consultants who will help you find the one that’s right for you.


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