Why if your CV sucks your career will too


Okay, so that’s pretty harsh. But the experience of the job search can be harsh too, and it’s a process where you generally only get one chance, at the CV stage anyway.




Throughout your life, your CV is going to be a crucial personal marketing document. That’s right. You are marketing yourself; your skills, your strengths, your attributes and hopefully making yourself desirable, valuable, even irresistible to an employer.

So what is the impact of a poor CV?

1.       If your CV, looks rushed, shows spelling or grammatical mistakes and errors, what does this say about your attention to detail and quality of work?

2.       If your CV shows minimal effort, sits in a blatant copied standard template with generic information, what does this say about how much you want the job or how hard you’ll work?

3.       If your CV doesn’t differentiate you with highlights, achievements and interesting information, why would a potential employer have their interest sparked and want to meet you?

4.       If your CV isn’t tailored carefully towards the job or career you’re pursuing it will be weak, show little effort and you could show a lack of understanding of the role if you’re sending the CV out to multiple employers.

5.       If you’re registering your CV with online job boards, if you don’t include the keywords of person criteria employers will be looking for, you could lose out. But don’t keyword stuff – it will read badly, just use sensible relevant phrases.

6.       If you use too many clichés, recruiters or employers will simply gloss over it rolling their eyes. Keep your strengths real and evidence based. Don’t tell them you think outside the box without strong examples of where you have demonstrated creative thinking.

7.       If you go a bit quirky with pictures, colours and tone, you could be taking a risk unless you are going for a very creative/quirky sort of role. Play it safe with a professional layout and tone; the recruiter is not your mate and the content not the style should do the ‘selling’.

8.       Cheaters never prosper. Embellish…okay, but outright lying, no. If you weren’t the university rugby captain, don’t say you were. The lie will catch you up. And for heaven’s sake don’t lie about your qualifications; this could leave you in really hot water; it’s illegal after all.

9.       Gaps will raise suspicions and almost certainly questions. If they are for perfectly valid personal reasons, a sensibly phrased line indicating this with the dates will be sufficient to satisfy the recruiter.

10.   Pointless hobbies and interests will distract the recruiter from the important information. So unless your hobbies and interest demonstrate a valuable skill or attribute likely to be valued by the employer, such as highly accomplished in sport or music, coaching or voluntary work, don’t bother. Socialising with your friends, or supporting timbucktoo united football team will be of no interest whatsoever.

Many graduate schemes may require an online application but they may ask to see a CV as well. So don’t be complacent and don’t assume you won’t need one.

According to an article in Business Insider UK, Paul Breen, Senior Lecturer in Academic English at the University of Westminster, told them why text speak is damaging young people's job prospects.

He said that social media and text language is having a great impact on modern communication.

"The spelling, the grammar, and the punctuation have changed. Students use bad grammar and bad structure in their CVs and job applications, and they are not getting taken as seriously as they should be."

Your CV may be the first impression a potential employer has of you. Make sure it’s a good one.

If you’re looking for some CV writing tips you can find them here.

If you want the chance to have your CV written by a professional writer for free, sign up to enter our competition for a Weekly Free CV now.