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Home / Career Tips

5 CV mistakes that could cost you your dream job

  • We’ve all heard about the obvious mistakes that you’re told not to make on your CV, such as spelling or grammar.
  • But there are some other things that can lead to the door closing before you’ve even put your foot in. Here’s a list of what to avoid.

1. Listing objectives and what you’re looking for

Here’s the type of thing many people write in their CV: “As an experienced X, I’m looking for a job which gives me a challenge and will allow me to further my career”.

There is no need to write such a statement because it can actually have the opposite effect. What if the job doesn’t allow for career progression? You’re ruling yourself out of the job by default with such statements. Instead, write about what makes you fantastic because that’s what the hiring manager is going to want to read.

2. Paragraphs (other than in the opening profile)

There should be no paragraphs in your CV. Managers scan CVs before actually deciding to read them. Time is of the essence for any hiring manager. So don’t write an eight-line paragraph about your job — instead break up it up into bullet points, with each one being no longer than two lines.

3. Separating responsibilities and achievements in career history

Remember, managers hate reading CVs just as much as you hate writing them. So now imagine a manager scanning through your résumé — if they see the achievements section, their eyes are automatically going to be drawn to it. Now you might think that’s a good thing, but it isn’t. That’s because they’re just going to be focusing on your achievements without grasping the correct context in which they were made. A sub-heading called ‘Responsibilities and achievements’ will work better. This allows the reader to get a better understanding of the correct context of what you achieved, and how amazing it was.

4. Including full references

No one is going to contact your referees prior to you being offered the job. Just put “References available on request”.

5. Stating salary or reason for leaving

If you’re stating your salary, you’re putting yourself in a more difficult negotiation position because they know that you’d happily move for less. With reason for leaving it’s similar. You’re bringing up an issue that doesn’t need bringing up. If they want to know the reason, let them bring it up — your job is to ensure your CV focuses on the positives, and not things which could possibly have a negative impact.

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