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21 reasons your CV sucks

Not many people leave an interview patting themselves on the back and thinking, “Nailed it!”

Not many people leave an interview patting themselves on the back and thinking, “Nailed it!” Most of us either speak a mile a minute, or trip over our words, spouting absolute gibberish, and talking yourself up until you’re sure you sound like a complete d-bag.

And then we leave feeling vaguely humiliated… Which is why if there’s one thing you have to have going for you, it’s a fantastic CV.

Now you might actually be the kind of person who charms the pants off an interviewer, who speaks effortlessly, and answers difficult questions like a pro. And if so, you’re incredibly fortunate – but in order to get in front of an interviewer, you still need that fantastic CV.

I know that no matter how badly I stutter in the interview, my CV is strong enough that the interview is a mere formality (to see if you’ll fit in). Most employers know by the end of your CV whether or not they’re likely to employ you, and it’s the deciding factor in calling you in for an interview.

Write this down…

A CV should be a profile of who you are – your skills, and your work experience. It’s not a design portfolio or a dating profile. There’s a standard and traditional CV layout for a reason. It’s easy to scan and an employer can see at a glance what they need to know – they don’t have to go searching through your designer CV to find out what your qualification is or where you’ve worked.

So you’ve been to an arty school and you think you need to make your CV stand out from the rest… If you’ve caught my eye with your neon-coloured-boldly-going-10-sizes-bigger-font-than-any-applicant-ever-before CV…you better make sure that it is 100% free and clear of spelling or grammatical errors. Because as soon as all your font is size 20, your mistakes are front and centre for the world to see.

Don’t make these 21 mistakes

So here are are a few of my favourite faux pas, that we have literally seen in CV submissions to DigitLab. Basically, if you commit these CV crimes, no-one should hire you, ever.

1. You’re allergic to capital letters. I shouldn’t even have to explain this one. If you’re starting sentences with ‘i’, just know that somewhere out there, an HR person is playing basketball with your scrunched-up CV into the bin.

2. “I have a mobile numbers”. Is LOLcat speak acceptable in CVs now? And also, if you’re applying for a job in social media, I’m going to go ahead and assume you have a mobile phone.

3. “Don’t ask me why…” Obviously I’m going to ask you why… well that’s if you had made it to the interview. Which you didn’t.

4. “I believe experience have now evolved into how well one can uses Google as a search engine”. I kid you not, someone wrote this.

5. “See how popular I am on social media…” Seriously? But in all seriousness…seriously?

6. “I’m awesome so hire me.” See above.

7. “I admittedly still have to evolve, but everyone does everyday.” What does this mean???

8. “It is much more ‘spicier’ than the traditional CV”. More spicier? Please, no.

9. “My id/barcode is these several numbers”. You have a barcode?

10. Your CV is a badly pixellated collage of images and handwritten post-its. I’m not even kidding.

11. “I can speak English; i do most of the time.” What do you speak the rest of the time?

12. When describing what you did in previous positions, you say “sales and marketing” for each one. Don’t tell me what that involves please; I like to use my imagination!

13. “I am available for hire from today.” NEVER sell yourself as ‘for hire’, unless it’s by the hour in which case you probably won’t need a CV or portfolio of work…

14. You have a photo of yourself at the beginning of your CV looking like a member of KISS. You really want that to be your first impression?

15. “I went to school in 2008”. Just that one year?

16. “I received a certificate with resulted in me going to get a bachelor degree”. I have a hard time believing that.

17. You have no paragraphs, and have fitted a five page essay onto one page. Where to start…

18. “Master of Google search”. I have no words.

19. “I came in as their first attempt at creating a meaning brand existence”. So there was a second attempt by someone else right?

20. “The year of 2004 marked the year is I spent as a perfect”. If you were a ‘prefect’, I would expect your grammar and spelling to be ‘perfect’.

21. “I have become capable and knowledge”. You are the embodiment of knowledge? Wow.

Better luck next time

Now I’m not saying you won’t be successful, or get a great creative job… All I’m saying is that you won’t get your CV past anal retentives like me. So spend a little time with spellcheck or a dictionary, and maybe get someone else to read it through. Your CV is your first impression – don’t stuff it up with stupid mistakes.


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