The 5 Most Common CV Mistakes And How To Avoid Them

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The worst CV mistake I’ve ever made is sending a weird document with a picture of my face attached to it to a creative job that asked us to be inventive with our applications.

I thought I was being innovative and showing them that I can use Photoshop, but sometimes I still think back on it and cringe. We’ve got some revolutionary tips for job hunting here, if you need them!

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A CV filled with unrelated jobs will make me think you haven’t read the advertisement properly.


I prefer to see writing experience right at the top of a CV than anything else.


Please don’t use your first ever email you made when you were 14, anything with ‘baby’ or ‘xoxo’ in the email screams unprofessional,

We’ve all made (and continue to make) some mistakes on our CVs because we were told to do them a certain way at school, but in reality, if you want to make sure your CV is actually read, you need to change things up a bit. Trust me, I’ve been reading an awful lot of CVs recently, I’m kind of an expert now.

Work on your personal description.
I told prospective employers I was personable, reliable, independent, a team-player, enthusiastic and friendly. I knew it was nothing groundbreaking but thought that’s what they wanted to hear. But everyone says the same thing! Be bold and talk about you. What strengths do you have that aren’t the same as everyone elses? What have you done that you’re proud of? This is your chance to write a paragraph that will make me want to hire you just by reading it!

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Watch Cluse Watches

Make sure your recent experience is relevant.
This is a tricky one because nobody wants to hand in an empty CV. If you’ve been working since 2010 in retail and are applying for a job in web design, it might be better to make the retail section smaller and make anything related to web design big and bold. Even if you’ve only been doing it a few years, or doing it voluntarily, I prefer to see writing experience right at the top of a CV than anything else. A CV filled with unrelated jobs will make me think you haven’t read the advertisement properly. Check out our guide on kickstarting your career while you’re still in education for more info.

Proof read it really well.
Seems like an obvious one right? Wrong. 80% of the applications I’ve checked over have had spelling mistakes in their cover letters or CVs. In the case of an editorial position, it’s an immediate rejection – and it’s sad because I want to give everyone a chance. The most common ones are ‘their/there’ and ‘Career Girl Dialy’. You can even copy/paste the text from your CV into Grammarly and get it all auto-checked. Simple.

Is it good looking?
Ok, controversial I know but an unorganized CV is really hard to read. I’m sure we all know this, no matter what sector you’re applying for it should be more than a word document with paragraphs or an excel spreadsheet (yes, I received that once!). Take some time to find a CV template that works for your sector, I know the majority are better for creative jobs but there are some basic ones that are still appropriate for other sectors, it really makes a difference – trust me.

What’s your email again?
The last mistake I keep seeing is in the email line of people’s CVs. Please don’t use your first ever email you made when you were 14, anything with ‘baby’ or ‘xoxo’ in the email screams unprofessional, so make a separate email for job applications if you really can’t part with your old favorite. My email has ‘bethrox4eva’ in it, so I know what I’m talking about here girls! While you’re at it, you might as well optimize your online presence to make sure you get the job, read our guide for an in-depth how-to!

Photography by Johnny Fonseca for CGD

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  • Ann

    Could you give an example of a good cv template, maybe one for the business world?
    Also I agree on the things you write about personal description, but how do you avoid gong overboard and be unproffesional? Could you show how you would write your personal description in your cv?
    Thanks for the good tips btw :-D

  • Camille Beygui

    This is such a helpful post ! Thanks for sharing

  • bekswhoknits

    If you use hotmail you can actually create an alias so emails sent to that still go to your main email.
    If you’re in gmail you can set up a redirection.
    Not much use in creating a whole new professional email and then forgetting to check it!!!!

    • Great tip! I just created a whole new email because I wanted to delete and BURN my old stupid email account! I only use it for promo emails now x

  • RobynLouiiise

    This was so helpful thank you. I totally agree with the email thing. I deal with all of our companies field staff and some of the email addresses given over to their employers are incredible.

    Robyn |

  • Marsya Jauzi

    Thank you for this great post! :D

  • Cynthia

    These are great! A good practice for me is usually “keep it simple”. For me, this comes in during the resume editing process. I tend to overcomplicate everything and get waaaay too detailed when describing my job responsibilities. So when updating my resume, I let myself do the word vomiting thing, and then I go back and edit each position down to the main tasks. Save the details for the interview.

    Likely By Sea

  • Gabi Valladares

    These are fantastic tips. I’d also say nothing over 2 pages if you have less than 10 years of experience in your field. I’m getting intern applications at work that are 2-4 pages and it’s mind boggling that no one helped them out and told them they should be sticking to 1 page!

    • Joycelyn

      Is it okay to add blogging in the writing experience if you don’t have as much writing experience?

  • Cassandra at AyeMiLady

    Great tips. I am a strong proponent for all of this advice!

  • Lauren B

    Pardon my ignorance, but what is a CV?

  • Sara

    Resume templates make the whole process easier and you can concentrate on the content. Great tips, thanks.

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