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8 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing CVs

Have you been wondering why your applications keep getting rejected by recruiters?. searching for jobs in today’s job market, especially in Africa can be very stressful regardless of your academic qualifications and job experience. Sometimes the thought of giving up after 100’s of attempts is inevitable.

But in this article let’s look at some reasons why your CV or application is like to get rejected by recruiters.

What is a Curriculum Vitae (CV)

A curriculum vitae in simple terms is a document that allows you to summarize your education, skills, and experience enabling you to successfully sell your abilities to potential employers. This makes the CV an important tool for landing a good job.

1. Prepare Your CV with a Position in Mind

Everybody needs a CV, yes! everybody does. But not every CV can land you the job you are looking for. The first mistake most job seekers do when applying for a job is submitting one CV for every job opportunity that comes their way without the recruiter’s intent in mind.

Remember, no two job descriptions are the same. Every job demands something unique a recruiter might be looking for from you and you must figure that out. This will give you the upper hand in securing a call for an interview.

You must make time to read and understand the position of the job you are applying for as stated by the recruiter in the job description. This helps you to narrow your cv to meet the recruiter’s intent.

2. Providing Too Much Personal Information

Too much personal information can and will harm your chances of getting a job. Most often than not recruiters are interested in identifying what you can bring to the table first and that should be your focus. filling out the first page of your CV with too much of your personal information like your date of birth (DOB), Place Of Birth, Marital Status, Age, Height, Eye Color, and the likes is just pointless. Unless otherwise, the job description is stated clearly, this information can deny you a chance for a job interview to start with.

3. Focusing on Duties and Not Achievement

Achievements in your area of specialization or previous work in one of the main selection criteria recruiters use in selecting their candidates for a job interview or even awarding them employment.

but in most of the trends in CVs making ways to stand out among the rest, all you see is a long list of duties performed. This becomes even more pointless for recruiters when they are singled out in bullets without justification. Example;

  • Data Management
  • Report Writing
  • Filing

This shows no consideration as to how that particular responsibility affected the bigger picture. Ask yourself – what was the result of these duties carried out? This is what recruiters are looking for.

It’s easier to list achievements in roles where the results are quantifiable, e.g. in Sales or Marketing you could say ‘grew sales by 45%’ or ‘grew sales by GHs300,000’.

A CV with a good laid out achievement can have about two or three bulleted points highlighting key responsibilities achieved. it is your achievements that differentiate you from your competitors and not your duties.

4. Irrelevant Experience

In almost every recruitment process there are 100s of CVs to go through by recruiters in other to make an informed decision on who is most qualified. Therefore sending a CV that does not need the job requirement could get your CV blacklisted. Save yourself and the recruiter time by sending CVs to jobs that you are qualified for.

If you have experience in the said job you are applying for put your skills to match all the given criteria and make sure you only include the experience you earn in your previous job, the responsibilities, and the achievements that are only relevant to the job advertised when writing your CV.

5. Copying and Pasting Job Responsibilities

This method is one of the simplest ways to meet the requirements of a job. Yes, the above is true, but ask yourself. Do you think the recruiter does not know what he/she included in the job description? Now, this makes you look very bad in the sight of your recruiters and your CV might get rejected right away.

Never copy the job descriptions to your CV to beat time or whatever the reason might be. Never copy and paste your previous work role without having what your recruiter wants in mind.

what your recruiters what to see is creative enough to blend his role from his previous experience to suit the current role he/she is applying for. Copy and pasting imply sheer laziness and will surely irritate most recruiters.

6. Grammatical Errors and Spelling Mistakes

Never rush in submitting your CV. Make sure you have read through your work thoroughly looking out for grammatical errors and spelling mistakes.

Do not forget your CV is a summary of your personality and what recruiters should expect from you. So submitting a CV fill with grammatical errors and spelling mistakes creates a picture of your person in their eyes.

If you don’t give your CV the level of attention it deserves, then how much attention will you give your job? As much as you need a job, always give much attention to your CV to create a first-hand impression.

7. Using Ridiculous Email Addresses

Email addresses are free to come by. Everyone can have or create as many emails as possible. But remember in the eyes of recruiters, it is always not so. Not every email is allowed on a CV and you will be surprised how often CVs get rejected because of the use of ridiculous emails.

Most Preferred Emails

[first name], [first name].[last name]

Non-Preferred Emails

[], []. These emails can be used for other social media activities but as much as possible never include them on your CV.

8. Poor Formatting

Poor formatting makes your CV look very messy and does not create the first impression you need to make before your recruiter. Remember you have to keep your CV to 2-3 pages unless otherwise stated hence you must make maximum use of the limited space. Reducing the size of text is not a good idea, as it makes your CV hard to read. Keep the font size between 10 and 12 and make use of the full page, and also keep our margins to 0.75-1 inch (2-2.5 cm).


Always remember your CV is the first chance you get to impress and make a statement in the hands of your recruiter. Make sure it speaks well of the person you are and what you are capable of offering. Spend time with your CV to avoid all the above mistakes and you are sure to be set on the right path to success.

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