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Top 10 CV Halloween Horrors

CV Horrors

Andrew Kingsley

At Kingsley Recruitment, we have seen millions of cursed CVs, doomed to failure from the first word. This Halloween, we are sharing some of our top ten nightmare errors and ghoulish gaffes.


1. Outrageous Lies

According to a CareerBuilder Survey, 75% of employers have found lies on CVs. Some of the most outrageous lies have included a 22-year-old claiming to have three degrees; one that he was the former CEO of the company and another that he won the Nobel Prize. Don’t lie, you will be found out eventually and it could do lasting damage to your career.  


2. Photos on CVs

Do not use them.
Except on LinkedIn. It's ok on LinkedIn.


3. Adding in irrelevant jobs

Leave out any work experience you did at the local fire-station twenty years ago or the time you worked selling ice-cream at the roller disco. If it is not relevant to the post you are applying for - leave it out. However, if you have a job that has some useful transferable skills, make sure to mention them and detail what you achieved.


4. An unprofessional email address

Some are frankly too horrific or rude to repeat. Bottom line, anything that isn’t your name and some random numbers is not acceptable.


5. Cliches

“I am a hardworking, organised problem solver, with excellent interpersonal skills. Driven worker able to multi-task and be a team player. Experienced in IT. Highly motivated self-starter who takes initiative. Also extensive experience of being a leader. An outgoing and friendly personality who is very social.”

While this all sounds great, this statement includes the top 10 most over-used buzzwords on a CV. To a recruiter, this is just a load of unproven statements. Avoid the empty cliches. Don’t just say ‘team-player’; give an example of how you have been a team player and what you achieved.


7. Too much information

Don’t go over 2 pages. Recruiters will scan CVs looking for a match to the job description. If they are having to review 7 pages and hunt for the information, it is likely it will go to the bottom of the pile. Cut the bloat words. Remove all waffle, and use bullets to list your achievements. Use the STAR method (i.e. Situation, Task, Action, Results) to help structure your job history.


8. Odd or extreme hobbies

“Judging by the CVs I see, everyone has run a bloody marathon or climbed Mount Kilimanjaro nowadays. These activities have become the new CV clichés.”

Nick Parker (quoted in The Telegraph)

Drinking, ferret racing and hacking are definitely not ones to include. Ever!

The exception is with hobbies that have transferable skills. These can often make up for not having work experience in that area. Evidence of leadership in some charity work, or team-work your weekend stint at the RNLI are relevant and are worth mentioning.


9. Ghoulish font and horrific formatting

Comic Sans and Times New Roman should be banned. Use a modern font and a modern template.


10. Heinous bad spelling and grammar

Ahhh. The horror. Use online tools like Grammarly to check your text and Hemingway for readability. And get someone, anyone to review your CV.


Now we’ve given you some nightmares, visit our website to get a treat and find out how to you craft a really impressive CV.