5 Fatal CV Mistakes to Avoid


Do you regularly apply for jobs you’d be perfect for but rarely hear back? Perhaps the problem isn’t your skills, but the way you’re phrasing them on your CV.
To help you on your way to job-search success, I’ve compiled a list of the five fatal CV mistakes that could be harming your career prospects & some simple solutions to help you land the interviews you deserve.
So here’s what to avoid…


1. Submitting a generic CV

If you want to save time applying for jobs, you may be tempted to fire out generic CVs to multiple vacancies. However, sending a generic CV decreases the quality of your application and is more likely to jeopardise your chances.
Instead, try tailoring your CV to each role you’re applying for. Remember, tailoring doesn’t mean you have to re-write the whole thing. It’s simply about understanding the qualities that are important to that particular job and tweaking your CV to make them stand out.
So, take some time to understand the job requirements and compare them with your CV. Ensure it directly expresses these requirements as it will show the recruiter you’re a great fit for the role.
Don’t panic if you’re not ticking every box; just make sure the skills you do have are mirroring those listed in the job spec. It’s also worth arranging your experience and skills in order of relevance so recruiters immediately recognise you’re a great match.


2. Including too many buzzwords

It’s good to use some buzzwords in your CV; however, too many will push recruiters away because they’ll fail to provide genuine substance regarding your ability. Therefore, if you’re going to use buzzwords such as “passionate”, “diverse” or “motivated” to describe your skills and attributes, you need to use them in the right way.
Firstly, make sure you use buzzwords sparsely and only when relevant. Secondly, ensure you back up the buzzwords with an explanation of skill. So rather than just stating “I am a motivated individual”, you should say why— for example: “I am a motivated individual, proven by my ability to reach or exceed my sales targets every month”.
By backing these up with evidence, you’ll increase your credibility and are more likely to land an interview.


3. Failure to demonstrate your accomplishments

When tackling the employment history section of your CV, you need to ensure it highlights your accomplishments, rather than just your responsibilities.
Your responsibilities can almost always be assumed from your job title. For example, you can assume that a Sales Executive’s duties will involve approaching new leads and engaging with current clients.
However, listing responsibilities such as these doesn’t reveal anything about your performance or results, and therefore is not beneficial to your job application.
So, instead of focusing on solely on your duties, you need to emphasise how well you performed in your roles and support these statements with evidence where possible. For example, you may choose to say you are “skilled at chasing and developing new leads, proven by consistently meeting your targets each month”.
By showing the recruiter your abilities and skills, you’ll stand miles above applicants who have simply explained their generic duties.


4. Submitting a CV longer than two pages

Did you know hiring managers have about 20 seconds to scan your CV? Therefore, you need to provide them with the most relevant details quickly and clearly.
If your CV is longer than two pages you could be harming your career prospects, because recruiters won’t have time to look at every part of your CV and see how great you’d be for the job.
So, what to do about it?
You need to remember that your CV doesn’t need to be any longer than two pages because it’s not supposed to document your entire employment history, just the most relevant recent history.
Your CV is a document designed to advertise and sell your abilities. Therefore, you need to detail the most relevant and most recent accomplishments concisely to prove to someone why they should choose you for the job.
Don’t forget that your CV isn’t the only component in your job application. If you’re panicking that you won’t be able to showcase your talent on two pages or so, remember that you have room to expand on your abilities in your cover letter.


5. Spelling and grammatical errors

There are no two ways about it – if you have spelling and grammatical errors in your CV, you’re going to appear unprofessional. Therefore, proofreading is essential.
Once you’ve finished writing your CV, give your eyes a break and then return to give it the once over. It’s worth reading aloud while proofing as you’ll be able to spot what sounds wrong much easier. However, if you doubt your own proofing ability, get a friend or family member to scan their eyes over it instead.



Ensuring your CV is on point is the simplest way to achieve job-search success. Stay aware of these five CV mistakes and you’ll reduce harming your career prospects significantly.


Good luck! 😀



Laura Slingo

Laura Slingo

Digital Copywriter for the UK’s leading independent job board, CV-Library.

For more expert advice on job searches, careers and the workplace, visit their Career Advice pages.



For more tips on preparing for job applications:

Writing your CV
Tailor your application
Do your research