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7 Common CV Mistakes According to This Senior Recruiter

Find out which CV mistakes could be stopping you from getting job interviews.

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Find out which CV mistakes could be stopping you from getting job interviews.

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The importance of a CV can never be understated because it determines whether you succeed or fail in your job applications. But many people fail to get feedback from recruiters and when they do they get an email of regret because of their CVs.

According to Career Addict, there are common CV mistakes that job seekers always fall for and recruiters punish them severely for those mistakes. These mistakes can be avoided. If you’re wondering why you never get responses from the companies you have applied to work in, these blunders could be the reason why according to James Makau, a Senior Talent Acquisition Specialist at Fuzu.

Failing to tailor your CV

One of the biggest mistakes that any applicant could make is sending the same CV for all the job vacancies they come across. Different recruiters/companies have different needs and so are their roles.

Recruiters will disqualify your resume if it doesn’t reflect that you meet the exact profile of the kind of talent they’re looking for. Your CV needs to show that you meet their needs and you have the qualifications, skills and experience that their company needs and even offer more.

Failure to tailor your CV brings you out as lazy and impersonal. Every job vacancy has specific keywords that the hiring managers are looking for. If the keywords are missing, the recruiting management software will discard your CV even before a human recruiter lays their hands on it.

Ensure that you personalize the CV to the needs of the recruiter. Analyze the vacancy or job post meticulously and evaluate your competencies to see where the two converge. Only include the experience and skills that will be relevant to the job. You may have a lot of experience and skills but you’ll only get noticed when you focus on the experience that’s relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Failing to include relevant keywords in your CV

The first stop that your CV makes when you send in an application is the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). ATS sorts the CVs that have been sent in. It automatically eliminates applications that don’t have the qualifications that the recruiter is looking for.

If you want your CV to make it past the ATS, you have to study the job vacancy in earnest. The job posting contains keywords that the ATS will use to qualify or dismiss the application. One of the most common mistakes is applying for a job just for the sake of paying little attention to detail.

A career coach from Fuzu will bridge that gap and show you how to place keywords in a balanced manner. Balance is key because some people go overboard and stuff their CVs with too many keywords. This ends up working against them.

You also need to organize your CV in a neat manner according to Career Addict. The content should be well highlighted and grouped into clear subtopics.

“Make sure the formatting of your CV is clean, organized and easy to follow. Use headings to separate CV sections, and avoid adding images, charts and tables to your CV,” writes Chris Leitch, a career expert and an Editor-in-Chief at Career Addict.

Lying in your CV

In an attempt to look good in the eyes of a recruiter, many applicants resort to lying. People lie by exaggerating their qualifications while others create roles that they never worked in. There are applicants who also fabricate employment dates to cover up for employment gaps or extend their work experience.

Chris Leitch says that the truth has a way of coming out such as when the former Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson had to step down from his role. In 2012, it was discovered that Mr. Thompson, who previously was the CEO of PayPal, never obtained a Computer Science degree.

The consequences of lying could be detrimental to your career because it could even attract legal action against you and you end up in jail. Safe o say this could be the biggest CV mistake that could cost you your reputation. 

Employment gaps

If you have employment gaps, it’ll be wise to be transparent about them. The hiring manager will listen to you if you give a plausible explanation. For example, you were laid off and you took time before finding another job or you took time off to study full time. These are all good reasons that the recruiters will understand.

However, if you extend your employment times so that you appear favorably to recruiters, you could be found out. Many times recruiters conduct background checks for integrity purposes and if you lied, the truth will come out.

James recommends eliminating months from the dates if the employment gaps were short. For instance 2016-2017 instead of August 2016- March 2017.

Focusing on duties rather than career achievements

The other common CV mistake is being tempted to show how big your previous role was so that you can score more points. The recruiter is not too keen on what you did more than what you achieved. View your previous role as a pedestal to show how you used your authority and position to garner incredible results.

Since those who are hiring you are professionals and have been in the field for a while, they already have a rough idea of what your role entailed.

Show how you achieved results by including numbers. For example, Published more than 5000 articles which grew our readership by 40%.

Failing to use action verbs

Career experts recommend starting your sentences with action verbs instead of using bland sentence starters that don’t capture attention. For example, “Led a team of 10 engineers to implement and complete the project fully”. That is better than “Was responsible for ensuring the project was completed”.

Writing long CVs

When you lengthen your CV it becomes too tasking for the recruiters because they have a huge number of applications to evaluate. Therefore, they will discard it and favor the summarized one which is precise and comprehensive at the same time.

If you have a lot of years of experience you can let your CV be two pages long but ensure that your points are concise and straight-shooting. Otherwise, if you want to leave a lasting impression and raise curiosity, consider making your CV a one-page document.

The very busy recruiter who is in a hurry to beat deadlines and targets at best scans or schemes the document. That’s why an interesting summarized CV will work for you because it will leave them wanting to know you more which will necessitate calling you for an interview.


These common CV mistakes may appear small but they end up costing you the opportunity that you have always dreamed of. To avoid those pitfalls, don’t be in a hurry to apply. Take enough time to review your CV and ensure that it is a perfect document. If you have to read through it five times to finesse it, do so. The results will be worth it.

Also, ensure that you keep reading and researching the best practices for writing a CV. Get a career coach to review your CV and use professional CV templates to get your application noticed by employers.

Written by

Wahome Ngatia

Peter Wahome Ngatia is an all rounded Marketing Specialist who deals in Graphic Design, Social Media, SEO and Content Writing. My passion is to use my skills and knowledge to help African businesses grow and thrive so that we can create employment for the youth. I also want to churn helpful content that inspires millennials to go hard after their dreams. Mantra: You learn more from failure than success.

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