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The seven deadly CV sins

Writing the perfect CV is a fine art, however not all of us are masters. Here Alec Ryan from outlines the seven deadly CV sins and what you can do to avoid them

Don’t write like Jane Austen

One of the most important things to remember when writing your CV is that you are writing it for a fellow human being. The person you are writing for is neither a literary critic nor a character from a novel. Avoid the flowery language, when you want to say ‘I enjoy meeting new people’, say ‘I enjoy meeting new people’, don’t go: ‘I’m a veritably social person and human interaction is extremely important to me’.


Don’t Lie

This is a very simple point to make. If you lie on your CV you will, more then likely, get found out.  We can’t change the past, so just because you think you’ve been to the ‘university of life’, it doesn’t mean you can put a 2:1 from Oxford down on your CV.

Don’t sound weak

One of the worst things you can do on a CV is to come across as not confident in your own ability. Some of the worst examples of this include people saying, ‘I think I am a good communicator’ and ‘I consider myself to be motivated.’
As soon as potential employers read this alarm bells start ringing in their head. And who can blame them, if you are not confident in yourself, what chance have you got of other people being confident in you?

Stand out and get to the point

The average employer will receive between 15-20 CVs a week, if yours doesn’t grab them straight away it will probably end up in the circular filing cabinet commonly know as the bin. Attaching a picture of yourself always makes you stand out, as does getting to the point quickly about why you should be employed. Also in this digital age emailing CVs is the easy option, if you post yours you will distinguish yourself from others.

Make your ‘other interests’ interesting

A common trap people fall into when writing their CV is leaving the ‘other interests’ section until last thinking it is somehow less important – it isn’t.
You should never say ‘my hobbies include walking, reading and food’ as this will make you look unimaginative and extremely dull. In fact you may as well write, ‘my hobbies include breathing and maintaining a pulse’ By giving employers some idea of what you do outside the office, you are giving them a better picture of what makes you tick and ultimately, what you are like as a person.

This is a CV not your life story

Sob stories may work on the X-Factor but they don’t on CVs. Your potential employer doesn’t want to know how you overcame the school bullies or how you’re doing this for your dead gerbil. They want to know your skills and how they make you suitable for the role, so don’t think you can ever guilt an employer into giving you a job.

For heaven’s sake proof read it

Nothing, and I mean nothing, will put a potential employer off more than spelling and grammar errors in your CV. Your CV is you in paper form, so leaving errors in it would be the same as turning up for an interview scruffily dressed and in need of a bath. Never sign your CV off until you have had at least five different people proof read it, that way you can be sure it is error free.


  • Maurizio Sammarco

    Dear Alec,

    your suggests are very useful to avoid that your CV is immediately thrown away, but don't help to stand out in 300 CV ! Yes, this is the number that we are facing in some positions !

    So, how we can get an interview sending a CV ?


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