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Ten Things Recruiters Hate about your CV

Every day recruiters are receiving hundreds of CV’s and resumes from job applicants. Though there is no perfect recipe, there are some general guidelines of what a good CV should include. Keep in mind that most recruiters will only spend a few minutes scanning your CV, so your front page needs to be compelling.

In a recent LinkedIn discussion between recruiters, there was an interesting discussion about what frustrate recruiters when they review CVs or resumes. Here are ten things that recruiters hate about your CV:

  1. Spelling mistakes and poor formatting immediately distracts from your experience and ability to sell you as a good candidate. Even with spell checks you can still have “diary” instead of “dairy” company, unless of course you worked in the stationary industry.
  2. CVs those are too long and detailed, with too much focus on past experience and not enough information on the last 5 to 10 years. As you update your CV, don’t simply add another page.
  3. Too much description of responsibilities and not enough information on achievements and skills, making it difficult to assess fit and suitability.
  4. Gaps between jobs that are not explained and create uncertainty and doubt. Start with most your most recent job and check that dates are all correct.
  5. Using strange or too many different scripting fonts, too many colours and makes the CV look busy and messy.
  6. No personal summary or description of what role the person is looking for, which is further complicated if the person has been in various roles or different industries.
  7. Including the phrase – References will be furnished on request. This is redundant and should be excluded, as recruiters will ask for references during or after the interview.
  8. Writing in paragraph form and complete sentences, instead of using bullet points for each position, which is more effective and easier to scan quickly.
  9. General laundry lists of skills, accomplishments and training, followed by a brief breakdown of work experience and roles. This is a potential risk of functional CV’s.
  10. Personal information such as hobbies and interests, as well as any other information personal and family details. Any information that could be potentially discriminatory – age, gender, disability - should be excluded.

The Career GPS includes a comprehensive CV Manager, including a CV library with CV components to quickly organise and customise your CV.

CVs should be kept short and sweet with just enough information to make a potential employer curious and interested, so they invite you for an interview. Your CV is not a book about yourself - it is a brief summary of your work experience.

Travel safely!

Charles van Heerden

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Charles is an HR careers expert with a strong focus on talent management. He has been an HR Director in three countries, a senior line manager and a consultant. Charles holds a degree in Psychology and has completed advanced studies in HR and change management.

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