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Common CV mistakes

By TheStudentGuide
Common CV mistakes

Once you've taken a look at our advice on Structuring Your CV and chosen the best format for you, be sure not to fall at the final hurdle! Here are a couple of common CV mistakes to avoid.


If you use abbreviations, most probably for qualifications, then bear in mind that people may not automatically know what they mean.


You shouldn’t include too many specific marks, for example for your GCSEs, put: 10 GCSEs A − C including English, Maths and Science. Do include your A level subjects and corresponding grades though.

Guessing game

Account for gaps in the timeline of your CV. An employer looks for consistency so if you leave a big gap such as taking four years to do your degree, they may assume you failed and retook a year when in fact you had a year out working. If you leave off your degree classification an employer will assume it is very low and actually notice it more than if you had just included it.

Make up with other skills rather than leaving it off.


Please don’t write the classic line: 'I like socialising with my friends, watching films and listening to music'. Employers have seen it many times before. This is your chance to show your individuality.

Don't stand out for the wrong reasons

Keep your CV formal. Unless you’re specifically applying to a creative job, such as a designer, don’t send a colourful, crazy CV.

Even for creative jobs make sure to send a traditional CV along too as you don’t know whether a designer or the top boss is going to be reading it.

Don’t joke. At this stage it is not appropriate as you don’t know them enough to know how they will take it.

Spell check! Typos make you stand out for all the wrong reasons and will usually get your CV thrown in the bin instantly. To catch mistakes print out your CV and re-read it, it is much easier to spot mistakes on paper than on screen.

CV Example

We’ve prepared a rather royal example of how a decent CV should look. You can view our model CV here.

For more in-depth careers advice and info about life after graduation, check out your FREE e-copy of the Graduate Guide 2011 magazine.

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