How to avoid common CV mistakes

Although the title might suggest this article is intended for you out there looking for your first internship or job, we believe it can be also useful to seasoned professionals who did not have the opportunity to update their resumes recently.

Sure, some of you may ask, why do I need this when the jobs I want to apply to should or do have easy apply option on LinkedIn. Yet, for one reason or another, CVs are seemingly still here to stay. And a lot of businesses who have this easy apply option, usually in some further selection stages ask for an actual CV.
So, without further ado, let’s move to the points which you should pay attention to.

If your CV is already accepted and you are waiting for an interview right now, jump to our post 5 Tips for Online Interviews.

Spelling mistakes: check, check, and check once more

  • No matter how this point is mentioned in almost all guides you can find on the Internet, you would be surprised how omnipresent it is. Of course, if English is not your mother tongue and you need to apply for a job in English, this might be even more challenging. But not necessarily, of course.
  • Having a perfectly spell-checked example of your resume is highly desirable but there are some cases when it can be overlooked or put a smile on the CV reviewer’s face. Yet if a position requires attention for details, or furthermore, if you noted it as one of your featured qualities, it certainly will not leave a good impression.
  • Beware of the spelling mistakes in the following parts of your resume as well:
    • contact details – let your email address be flaw-free,
    • template text is a big no, too.

To include a photo or not?

CV mistakes
  • Although there are a lot of visuals nowadays present everywhere, and despite the trends in previous years, photos in the CVs are not really a must-have these days. Actually, the opposite might be true.
  • The reasons for that are copious:
    • recruiters are becoming more and more cautious to avoid unconscious bias,
    • The photo may look unprofessional to a recruiter’s eye,
    • It may distract the recruiter from focusing on your actual skills,
    • Besides corporations, a greater number of mid-sized companies opt for applicant tracking systems. And let us just tell you, they are not CV photo-friendly. Rather the photo may confuse them and even if you are one, they may not recognize you as a top candidate when and which, ats system, no one really looking.

What about listing hobbies?

Hobbies for sure add that personal quality, and can be a way to connect with the interviewer even before meeting them, but have in mind to:

  •  put the ones you really like, there’s always a chance the interviewer would find it interesting to ask you a question or two about them. If you noted you like pets, but don’t have a pet, OK you will not lose chance because of it, but it might indicate that some other parts of the CV are not so genuine, too;
  •  drop them if you are struggling with the length. If you are the right candidate at the moment, you will get the chance for small talk during the interview.

Just tell the truth

How to avoid common CV mistakes
  • This one should go without saying, but still, the real-life examples tell us it is not the case. Avoid putting skills you don’t have. More and more interviewers won’t go for a typical list of interviewing questions. Or maybe you will be interviewed by someone who is not basically from the HR department and they prefer open-ended discussion. If you put Spanish among the language skills, there is always a matter of time when some of them would ask you Cuál es tu comida favorita? and you go blank.
  • Again not a deal-breaker but certainly a red flag. Bear in mind the interviewer is only a person and a victim of living fast syndrome and chances are they will not bother to ponder whether there is a pattern of telling lies or that was just a benevolent one. Generally, they will usually go for the first one. Especially in companies where there are tens, hundreds, and thousand of applicants, this means automatic disqualification. Not because you could not remember what your favorite food is, but because of the deeper implications.

Irrelevant work experience

Again, remember, your goal is to showcase why you are the right candidate. If you are applying for a developer role, the fact that you worked in a bakery can be a good ice breaker and an interesting story, but it hardly can be a relevant working experience.


No need, really. Because references are something that will or might be relevant when it comes to the final stages of the hiring process.

Date of birth?

Besides other buzzwords recently, age discrimination has a relatively high spot. And having that in mind, similarly as with photos in the CVs, the recruiters will do their best to resist unconscious bias.

Length of a CV

Some general rule of thumb is to make it one page long, yet some may go for 2 pages, but longer than that should be a yellow flag and a sign to go over it and check the priorities and relevance of the listed points.

Generic CVs

Of course, no one imagines you have 5 completely different copies of your resume, but again, do your best to tailor the template to a specific job opening. Do some research of the companies you are applying to, more importantly at this point, the specific job opening you are interested in, and try to highlight the relevant skills.

Keep it updated (yes, there is LinkedIn but CVs are still a thing)

CV mistakes

Whether you are intending of changing your current job or not, some general advice is to keep your CV up-to-date. So try to make a record of when something significant happens in your career.

Also, if you want to keep some generic tech and soft skills updated, you can read more about that in another article on our blog page: Essential Skills For Programmers

And finally, good luck! 😊

P.S. Take a look at our career page to see the current openings.


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