How to avoid the ultimate sin; a disaster CV
CV writing can be difficult! This disaster CV courtesy of Domycv.com is a perfect example of what not to do when writing your own. Obviously due to the sheer amount of mistakes this is an extreme version but many people fall foul to at least one of the following errors (don't let yourself be one of them):
- Jim’s CV is rife with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Any spelling errors — even minor or common mistakes — make your CV look bad. Our example may be extreme, but one noticeable error could have your CV thrown into the “No” pile without a second glance. Spellcheck enough times to be absolutely sure.
- The format of this CV is sloppy and disjointed. Jim uses bold, underlines and italics inconsistently and it makes the information difficult to read. Use them sparingly, and have your CV in one easy to read font. Do not use creative fonts, even for titles as they look unprofessional.
- The order of Jim’s CV is not sensible. Your best achievements (probably academic at this point) should be towards the top, followed by all other skills and experience. Remember that an employer will just glance at your CV before deciding to read more, so make sure you catch their eye for the right reasons.
- Jim’s CV starts with hobbies, which is not a good idea. Hobbies or interests should be left until last, and should be the first thing to be cut if you run out of space. The things you choose should show you off as a diverse, intellectual and well-rounded person. Don’t choose things that make you seem lazy or uninspiring.
- Never swear in your CV, and always choose language that is positive. Jim had a good achievement about bettering the sales script, but instead chose to phrase it in a way that made him look bad. Complaining about old jobs or duties will make your work ethic look poor and demonstrate an inability to look versatile.
- Never highlight things you cannot do or qualifications you don’t have. Jim mentions that his spelling and adding are poor, and this is not necessary. We all have weaknesses, but choose to highlight only your strengths — remember you are selling yourself, not apologizing or begging!
- Only pick qualifications that show off your skills and ability. Jim did not need to include his old A-Level results, and should have just included the retake results as they are much better. It would also be a safe assumption to say that Jim has some GCSEs, so these could have been included. You can omit anything you like, but do not be tempted to lie. It’s better to say “Four GCSEs grade A-C” and omit the bad results, than lie and pretend all 11 were great!
- The formatting of Jim’s jobs section in this CV is terrible. It is all bunched together and difficult to read. His Virgin Media description is overloaded with information, whereas his British Gas description doesn’t show any transferrable skills. Try to get a good balance by bullet pointing some key duties from each job to show off your skills.
- Jim doesn’t explain the gap in employment between Dec 09 and Jan 13. It is fine to have gaps, and it’s also not frowned upon if you didn’t work through university. But always explain and make clear exactly what you were doing in that time to make yourself look proactive. Jim was at University for 4 years — was it a sandwich course? He should explain the situation to avoid an employer thinking he failed a year.
- Jim forgot to include a telephone number, which is a huge error as employers are more likely to call than email. Whilst he did include an email, this is at the end of his CV (it should be at the top with your details) and is an unprofessional email address. Make a new, professional email to replace the one you made when you were 12.
Jim states his date of birth and marital status, which shouldn’t be included at this stage. Your name and contact details are all an employer should need. He also doesn’t include any mention of references, which looks careless. You do not have to include details but you should at least state that references are available on request.