What Not to Put in a CV: 10 Recruiter Pet Peeves

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Recruiters read a lot of CVs and they know how to assess whether someone looks good for a role or not relatively quickly. They are essentially CV experts and can shed some light on what not to put in a CV.

CV-Library have surveyed over 200 recruiters to find out what their biggest pet peeves are when it comes to CVs. This is what they found:

what not to put in a CV

1. Spelling mistakes

It’s obvious that your CV shouldn’t have any spelling or grammatical errors. You may get away with one or two, but more than that and your CV isn’t going to win you an interview. There’s no excuse for errors, so check and double-check your CV before sending it.

2. Being massively underqualified

Job adverts are usually pretty clear on what experience is required for the role. If you tick the vast majority of the boxes, then go ahead and apply. However, if you’re missing half the requirements don’t waste your time applying.

3. Lists of unrelated skills

Recruiters want to see that you have the skills that are required for the role. Listing or talking about skills that are completely irrelevant is not going to help your application. The job advert should tell you exactly what skills they are looking for.

4. Too many jobs over a short period of time

Job hopping puts recruiters off your CV. Why? Because it raises a lot of questions about you. It may suggest that you weren’t doing a good job in your previous roles, or that you don’t know what direction you want your career to go in.  It also suggests that you won’t last long in your next position.

5. A CV that is longer than two pages

No matter how much experience you have, your CV shouldn’t need to be longer than two pages. Everything on there needs to be relevant to the role you are applying for and you can definitely squeeze a lot into two pages. Recruiters have a lot of CVs to read, so a six-page document is not going to look inviting.

6. Your picture

What you look like has nothing to do with your application (unless you’re going for a modelling job). So why include a picture?

7. A CV littered with buzzwords

‘Team player’, ‘great communication skills’, ‘organised’. While recruiters want to see that you have these skills, simply listing them doesn’t mean that you have them. Use your experience to demonstrate the skills that you have rather than just throwing in buzzwords.

8. A CV that is ‘too creative’

CVs should be well-formatted and easy to read. If you’re going for a creative role, then a bit of creativity is suitable but make sure that it doesn’t make your CV difficult to read. If you’re not applying for a creative role, then stick to a standard format.

9. No cover letter when the application requires one

This one is pretty simple. If the application requires a cover letter, submit one. Not sending a cover letter will show that you can’t follow instructions and suggests that you’re not really serious about your application.

10. No social media presence

While you will want your personal profiles to stay private, recruiters will expect to see some form of presence online. A LinkedIn profile, in particular, is great to have!

Once you’ve perfected your CV, be sure to upload it to CV-Library so recruiters can get in touch with you about relevant roles.

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3 Comments

  1. I agree with this a lot, as someone who works in recruitment, I can’t stand it when a CV is over two pages long, it is so unnecessary!

  2. But surely some people are too busy to write a cover letter for every job they apply for. It seems a little harsh to penalise people for that!

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