Job hunting? Avoid these CV blunders like the plague...


1. Waffling on

“Most bosses only take 30 seconds when reading a CV,” says John Lees, author of Why You? CV Messages To Win Jobs. “Therefore, all critical info such as your achievements need to appear in the first 75% of the first page. And if you’ve ever worked for any well-known organisations, highlight these in bold, as they tend to leap out on the page.”

2. Sloppy structure

Get busy with the cut’n’paste tools before sending your CV acoross to Dragons’ Den tycoon Duncan Bannatyne. “I still read CVs,” he says. “But I like easy to read ones. After your personal details, always put the last job you’ve had at the top, then work backwards. And ditch the boring hobbies stuff – it’s not always relevant.”

3. Sloppy presentation

Tips culled from ‘career coach’ wisdom include: use plain, serif-free fonts such as Arial or Helvetica, have plenty of white space on the CV and mix up the graphology with long and short lines. And never send it on coloured paper or attach a photo unless you want it to end up on the pile marked ‘care-in-the-community cases’.

4. Lies

A whopping 69% of people lie on their CV, despite the increasing tendency for companies to screen applications. However dressing up the odd detail can be okay, says careers expert Rebecca Corfield ( “If you’ve failed an exam or a degree, don’t put the result in. Fluff it up by saying you ‘studied BA English’. Very few employers will ask for the grade.”

5. Bad Proofing

“There’s no excuse for bad spelling,” booms Duncan Bannatyne. “On one covering letter my name was spelt wrong twice on the same page! That’s extreme incompetence.”

6. Too much info

“The ideal length for a CV is two pages, definitely no more that three,” opines John Lees. “I even know one chap who sent a 57-page CV with its own references and footnotes.”

7. Sending one copy

“Always send a hard copy and an emailed copy,” reckons John Lees. “And always make sure you provide an e-mail address on your CV, too. Otherwise HR managers will think you’re allergic to technology.”



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