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5 Mistakes That Kill Your CV And How To Fix Them

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

Your CV should be like fireworks! BOLD, EXCITING and leaving the viewer feeling 'WOW' - I want to see more.

Writing your CV can feel like a huge effort - especially when it was the last thing you were expecting to do (pandemic related redundancy anyone...)?

It needn't be a huge feat to accomplish when you know exactly the errors and common mistakes to avoid.

I have reviewed thousands of CV's over the years - both as a hiring Manager in retail and now as a Business Owner. There are common mistakes that stop candidates from securing interviews and I'm about to unravel those, right here!

1. Taking up space with 'nice to know' (or not needed at all) information

Marital status? Doesn't matter

Date of birth? Doesn't matter

Hobbies? Nice to know...but doesn't matter

Ask yourself, is this relevant to the hiring manager? If the answer is no, don't use precious space. Would you write your favourite meal or food allergies? No of course not! Stop writing you enjoy long walks and watching netflix. If the reader wants to know more about you, they'll look you up, that I can almost guarantee!

How to fix it:

At the top of your CV you simply need to write your name, contact number, email address and location (the town/city is fine). Double check the information written is correct then get straight into your professional summary

2. Professional Summary that is self-serving

The reader doesn't care how highly motivated you are or that your objective is to climb the corporate ladder and work at a brand that values you.

The reader wants to know what value you can bring to them. Think about the reader here.

How to fix it:

These first 2-3 sentences are the HOOK to catch the readers attention.

Narrative should play to your strengths and strike curiosity with the reader - inspire them to want to read more!

Instead of 'my objective is to...' try 'to contribute at your business would be a huge honour'

Now, you may cringe at that - but this is not to serve you, it is to inspire the reader!

The reader suddenly wakes up and feels excited and engaged by your profile. Win!

3. Chronological Order

The hiring Manager doesn't need to see your first role first. This is not relevant and rubs the reader up the wrong way (even in the most subtle way). They now have to scan to page 2 or 3 to find your most up-to-date experience.

You want the hiring Manager to read at ease.

Subtle enhancements throughout your CV will make the reader feel great about you!

How to fix it:

Simple. The most recent employment must lead your narrative.

A small header stating 'Career Experience' then straight into the current role, business name, location and dates.

4. Sending the reader to sleep with boring bullets

There is nothing worse when reading through a pile of CV's than to see the same dreary, dull and lifeless bullet points, over and over again.

Think about this - if you have made it to the pile of 'maybe' CV's, you are now in the pile with 20-30 candidates. Here is where you need to stand out and get noticed!

Too many bullets per role (think 7+) is just, too much.

Not enough is, you guessed it - not enough.

How to fix it:


What is your personal brand? HOW to you get results, HOW do you communicate, HOW to do you get stakeholder buy-in, HOW do you facilitate, HOW do you drive continued growth. You can list a million things of what you've done, you can drone on with corporate jargon all day long - but how is this different to the next qualified candidate?

The difference is YOU - so pepper in some personality to truly connect with the reader.

This is our speciality at The International Retail Academy. In a sea of sameness, we make you the shark! You stand out, get noticed and get hired.

5. Too many logos, graphics and URL's

The reader at this stage doesn't need your Twitter handle. They also don't need to see pie charts of your skillset or logos next to each hobby.

The hiring manager wants to learn about your experience and if you can do the job you've applied too. The recruiter wants to see is you will fit in with business values and if you have the energy, drive, resilience, enthusiasm to be successful in the role.

How to fix it:

First thing, many ATS platforms (applicant tracking systems) have a hard time processing logos, photos and URL's and with a third of companies using these platforms you want to stick with a basic word document that scores high - with the use of keywords relating to the role you are going after.

The job of your CV is to connect with the reader and inspire them to take action

You deserve the chance to be interviewed - you have all the skills and relevant experience. NOW is the time to take your CV and LinkedIN profile to the next level so that you are noticed and hired!

If you'd like to explore our professional services, check out our:

Once you reach the interview stage, check out this blog:

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