Are You Making These Scarily Fundamental CV Errors?

In 14 years' experience we have seen and heard it all and we do not scare easily! We understand that putting a CV together can be difficult, especially your first CV. Trying to get your whole life on a few pages can be tough.

Obviously, we are going to just assume that you can use spell check and that you are going to read and re-read the CV to check your spelling and grammar. This is a gentle, friendly reminder!  


We have found these are the most urgent errors to address:

Generally speaking, the ideal length for a CV in the UK is just 2 pages.

We have seen many CVs that are from just 1 page to 21 pages! With CV writing the most important thing is to put yourself into the shoes of the reader. Just imagine you have 300 job applications and just 1 role on offer. As a Recruiter, if you receive a document that is too long do you think that you will give it enough attention to ensure that you understand the candidate?

Similarly, if a CV is too short, with lots of blank space and does not contain the information you require. If it is a Nursing position that you are recruiting for you would need to know exactly what specialist Nursing areas, they have previous experience with. If the CV that you have in front of you does not contain the relevant information, would you then go the extra mile and invite that person to interview so that they can expand on their experience and skills?

We feel your CV should contain Profile, Key Skills / Core Competencies, Achievements, Career History and Education / Training sections

There is a lot of differing advice out there. We speak to a lot of people who are confused by articles they have read, friend's advice or other companies who ‘never use a Profile’. Just put yourself in the shoes of an employer: where would you like to start if you were required to assess a CV? We find a short summary at the beginning starts the CV in a professional manner. A Profile can be tricky to write as ideally you would like to draw attention to your main skills in just a few lines. Writing the other sections such as Achievements have their challenges but we feel they are necessary.

We include these to make it easy or an employer to navigate the document. The placement, emphasis and size will vary depending on the individual. Everyone is different and you will require a completely different CV from anyone else. However, employers are always going to want your employment information in a clear, easy to read and understand format.  If you are not sure about how to approach this, please give is a call on 0800 772 0939.

The CV should always be targeted to the actual job that you are applying for

We do not create ‘Generic’, bland, untargeted CVs and neither should you. This becomes of more importance as the salary increases. When applying for a Senior role the CV should be a bespoke document as the requirements of the role will be very specific.

If you are targeting just one type of position, for example Retail, then you should slightly update the CV if the individual role requires it. You should carefully read through the information they have provided on the role and check that you have covered all of the points and keywords they require.

If you are targeting more than one job area, we advise creating a separate CV for each job area. For example, although Finance roles are broadly similar. If an employer is looking for a Payroll Clerk and a Sales Ledger Administrator, they will be looking for different skill sets for each of the roles. Initially you should have one clear CV with all of your information. You can then update the CV and target it to ensure that it is relevant to the types of job that you are looking for. For each CV, you want to make sure that it is appropriate for the role and contains the relevant keywords and competencies.

Essentially, you want to ensure that you have demonstrated that you understand and can fulfil the requirements of the actual job that you are applying for. 

Written and researched by Rachel, Professional CV Consultant with Impressive CVs. We provide all CV and related services and have 14 years’ experience in helping people like you move forward in your career. You can call us on 0800 772 0939 for a confidential discussion about how we can help you. Alternatively, if you would like a Free, professional review of your CV please call 0800 772 0939.