CV blunders hit jobseekers' chances of securing employment


"Your CV is your shop window" - says Director of the National Careers Service Joe Billington

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Jobseekers are hurting their chances of securing new employment by not spending enough time on their CV, according to a survey.

The most common mistake is sending a general CV to employers, rather than tailoring it to a specific role, according to research by the National Careers Service.

Two thirds of careers advisers said this stopped people securing new jobs.

More than 60% of advisers said spelling mistakes were a common error.

CV howlers

  • A 17 page CV including every detail from when the applicant was born
  • Use of wording that the person whose CV it was did not understand because he had paid a firm to produce the CV for him
  • Using an inappropriate email address e.g. iamgreat@
  • A CV typed entirely in capital letters
  • A company name spelt incorrectly throughout the CV

Joe Billington, director of the National Careers Service, said: "People know they are making mistakes, but they are not spending enough time on making sure their CV is fit for purpose."

"A CV is an applicant's shop window. With the right advice and support anyone can turn their CV from a careers void into a careers victory."

Most careers advisers believe people should spend an hour a week working on their CV, but fewer than a third of jobseekers agree.

Examples of the types of mistakes encountered by advisers for the National Careers Service include a 17-page CV, a CV typed entirely in capital letters, and the name of the applicant's current employer spelt incorrectly throughout.

The report was based on polls of almost 200 careers advisers from the National Careers Service and over 2,000 jobseekers.

The National Careers Service, which provides information and advice on learning, training and work opportunities, says jobseekers should follow some basic steps to improve their CVs:

  • Ensure the email address you send your application from isn't quirky as it is not likely to be taken seriously
  • Check your CV carefully for spelling and grammar mistakes
  • Avoid common clich├ęs such as "team player" and "results driven"
  • Make small adaptations to your CV to target the specific requirements of the job you are applying for.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 572.

    As an employer I find it amazing what job applicants think that employers think. Leaving off any of the obvious items like age looks either careless or that the individual is self concious about it. For most jobs these items don't make a diference - top of my list are things like work ethic, integrity, enthusiasm. Spelling mistakes are not good for an admin assistant but are ok for other posts.

  • rate this

    Comment number 395.

    I have taught for 32 years. My son signed on for a two week period at the local job centre before securing another full time position. His CV from high school was detailed, comprehensive and specific to jobs he applied for. When he went to the job centre they informed him that he needed to do a much shorter generic one. It didn't even mention that he had 7 GCSEs at A* - C. Appalling advice.

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    Luckily I work in a specialist area where it is mostly about qualifications and experience so the initial filter is easy. Once person I recruited ended up becoming my boss. My only possible response was 'shows how good a judge of applicants I am'!

  • rate this

    Comment number 121.

    CV's are not hard to put together. If you apply for one type of job, e.g admin and secretarial only, a general CV to describe your skills is fine. If you are applying for more wider range of jobs then yeah common sense should tell you to edit it. People that want jobs badly enough WILL get them! I am only ever out of a job for 2 weeks or less, WHY? because i actually look properly!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 119.

    I never put my age or marital status on my CV, employers will think I want to have babies if I did, which I don't. I never put my referees on my CV either, if they are interested in interviewing me I will give them references if successful. Applying for a job is as much me determining if I want that job as it is for the employer to decide if they want me.


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