The main purpose of a CV is to convince the prospective employer of your skills, compatibility and suitability to the prospective job on offer, and then invite you for a job interview. This means that your CV is a very important document as it literally will help to determine your future. It is therefore imperative that candidates spend time making sure their CV is representative of who they are, their skills, achievements and what they can offer, so they stand out from the rest.

On average, it has been said that recruiters spend about seven seconds scanning a CV… Should it not grab their attention within that timeframe, or they have to search for the what they are looking for, the chances are they will quickly move onto the next candidate’s CV.

We have compiled a list of a common mistakes made by candidates on their CVs…

  1. Either no Contact Details or Incorrect ones!
    It is imperative that you have contact details on your CV, and that they are the correct ones. As recruiters, we come across so many CV’s which are missing these basic details… And think about it, how can a recruiter phone you for your dream job when they are not able to reach you?
  2. Spelling errors!
    Another absolute no-no! If this is our first impression of you, well it’s not a very good one. Spelling errors on your CV show that you do not pay attention to detail and who wants an employee who couldn’t even be bothered to check their work for errors. As recruiters, we don’t want to waste our time with your CV/Application if you can’t even get the basics right.
  3. Unnecessary details
    Personal details such as your religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, hobbies, interests etc are not necessary unless they specifically impact the position you are applying for. Recruiters are looking at your previous work experience, the companies you have worked for, your previous duties and your skills to see if you would be a suitable match for the roles we are recruiting for. Because as much as you may love them, generally recruiters are not terribly interested in how many cats you have and what their names are – rather save that for social occasions!
  4. Bad photographs!
    Many candidates like to add a photograph of themselves on their CV’s. Although this is a personal preference, it is most often unnecessary unless you are applying for a modelling position. Should you however choose to add a photo to your CV, please make sure it is a professional picture. We come across so many terrible photographs of candidates – many are blurry, some pics that look like the cat dragged them in, wedding pics and our best to date was a photo of the candidate holding a shot of tequila! Hardly a good look when you are trying to put your best foot forward and secure a job…
  5. Not being specific enough and giving enough details
    Sometimes candidates feel the less you say the better and that is simply just not the case. Remember you are trying to sell yourself on a piece of paper, and thus us as recruiters need to know your skills and what duties you have been exposed to – these include current and previous responsibilities. For example, you cannot just put “marketing” as one of your responsibilities, you must include more details by stating what duties you performed under that banner and what you were responsible for.
  6. Highlighting responsibilities as well as accomplishments
    Turn your responsibilities to accomplishments, listing your past or present responsibilities does not make you stand out from the rest. You need to state how you have contributed, shown initiative, and added value to your current and previous organisations. In other words, you need to show how you performed the duties better than others by included the challenges that you came across and how you solved them. Quantify your accomplishments so that they are more realistic but do not lie as these can be verified.
  7. Making use of clichés
    Avoid using words such as ‘hard worker’, ‘team player’, ‘out-of-the box’, and so on. 99% of candidates make use of these words on their CV but they literally are irrelevant. Instead of using these words rather say how you are team player, how you work hard, what you did previously that makes you “think out the box. This carries weight and will make you stand out above the rest.