5 CV mistakes that could cost you an interview

5 CV mistakes that could cost you an interview

Here’s what recruiters don’t want to see on your CV

29 November 2021

It’s competitive out there and you need to stand out — but you don’t want to stand out for all the wrong reasons. We took some time to speak with our Team Lead, Angus Mackintosh, who explains the things that turn recruiters off CVs. 

Mistake #1 having a CV that’s more than 3 pages 

Aim for a CV that’s roughly two to three pages long, and no longer, says Angus — if you have 10 years + experience and have difficulty condensing your CV down, his suggestion is to stick with only the most relevant experience for the job you are applying for. No one needs to know you were a waiter through university if you’ve got relevant job industry experience.

Extra tip: don’t stretch your margins as thin as humanly possible, and always type in a regular-sized font. Teeny tiny font is hard to decipher.

Mistake #2 including a picture of yourself

Angus advises against having a picture on your application form or in your CV. Although we all dream of a world without unconscious bias, it still exists. People judge, they make snap judgements based on what you look like, they make assumptions when their focus should be on your experience. 

Many recruiters are now removing the candidate names from applications, too, this approach is called ‘blind recruiting’ and helps achieve a level playing field.

Mistake #3 using a word doc

Don’t send your CV as a word document as the formatting can look very different on different computers. If your doc is opened and the formatting is skewed (making it difficult to read), the recruiter is not going to spend time correcting it so they can read it. 

Instead, check out something like CV Template, Canva or CV Designr where there are plenty of free CV templates to choose from. When you’re done, download the doc as a PDF. Then you know it will look the same to anyone who opens it.

Mistake #4 not showing your personality

The skills and experience you have might not be unique, but your personality is. The weirder the better with this one says Angus. The recruiters want to see your personality seep through. Recruiters are looking for a culture fit, as well as an experience fit. You never know what the recruiter might be interested in outside of work, you might bond over that one line — making you stand out from all other applicants. 

Mistake #5 not proofreading your CV

Although you might not be applying for a grammar-based job, it’s important to spellcheck and proofread your CV to make the best first impression (and to show you’re observant!). According to a survey, nearly one-third of CVs analysed contain at least one spelling mistake. 

Angus’s tip for tackling this: use free grammar tools and read it out loud. The best way to understand whether a sentence is too wordy or just doesn’t make sense is to read it aloud. And using free tools like Grammarly can help you catch any missing commas, misspelt words and other punctuation gaps.

Before you go

It’s good practice to keep your GitHub profile updated, regardless of where you are in your job hunt journey. By showing as many side projects as possible, some employers can waive the need for you to do a tech assignment. And that’s the dream, right?!


Our specialist tech recruiters are poised ready to help you find your next role. Whether it’s backend development, frontend development, digital marketing or UX. We’re here to help. Learn more.


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