10 Reasons Why a Recruiter Hates your CV? By Jonathan Burston – Interview Expert Academy (IEA).


10 Reasons Why a Recruiter Hates your CV? – Interview Expert Academy//

Your CV or Resume is your first impression with a recruiter. It can leaving a lasting impression – both positively and negatively.

CVGet it right and the likelihood is that you’ll get an interview. Get it wrong and that’s the last you’ll hear from them. You won’t get the chance to meet them face to face.

What can you do to make sure that you get an interview?

Well, the starting point is to avoid the following pitfalls. Too many times candidates fall into one or more of these traps. Take time to craft your CV or Resume. Remember it’s your brochure. It represents you and is your first impression.

10 CV / Resume Pitfalls to Avoid

1. Poor Layouts or Odd Formats

Now I’m not a big fan of the traditional black text on white background as a way of ensuring that your CV or Resume stands out. I like to see a little bit of creativity to show that you’re different from everyone else.

Regardless of whether you go the traditional black text on white route or something more creative, be careful. Your CV or Resume needs to be easy on the eye of the recruiter. They need to be able to glance at it quickly and find the information they need. They will not spend a lot of time searching for information.

Put time and effort into crafting your CV or Resume. Just remember that its purpose is to get you an interview.

2. Too Many Fonts

Whilst I’m a fan of being creative to stand out from the crowd, it does not mean using lots of different fonts to do it.

Stick to 1 or 2 fonts. No more.

If you do use more than 1 font make sure that it looks appropriate and easy to read next to the main one.

When we read text our eyes adjust to the font and its size. Too many fonts becomes difficult to read. It increases the likelihood that you’ll end up in the ‘No’ pile.

3. Spelling Errors

Make sure that every word that you’ve used is spelt correctly. Use a dictionary or spellchecker on your computer to double check a spelling. Then have someone else check your CV to make sure everything is spelt correctly. Sometimes spellcheckers aren’t always right.

Don’t leave it to chance. Recruiters want to see that their potential new recruit is proficient in the use of language.

4. Grammatical Errors

Avoid long sentences. Keep your sentences short and to the point. It’ll make it that much easier to read.

Be careful with punctuation, commas and full stops.

Again once you’ve completed your CV or Resume have it checked for grammatical errors.

5. Weak Personal Statement

Personally I’m not a big fan of personal statements at the top of CVs or Resumes.


Because they generally say little about a candidate. Rather they appear like a bucket list of everything that the candidate is e.g. ‘great working as part of a team or working on my own’ or that they are ‘innovative, creative….’

I really dislike them!

Do you get the idea? But many recruiters like to see them. So if you’re going to use one make it relevant to the role you’re applying for. Tailor it. Be specific. Use it to draw a recruiter in to reading more about you.

Just please don’t use it as a bucket to throw every cliche into.

6. Meaningless Words

CVs and Resumes have a tendency to include meaningless words.

Words that we think sound good. Words that sound powerful and impressive.

Unfortunately those words create the opposite impression. I wrote about this in ’28 Overused Meaningless Resume Words’. Take a look at the most popular meaningless words.

Be specific in your language. Make it easy to read and understand.

7. Lacking Relevance

This is a real bugbear of mine. Far too many CVs or Resumes are prepared once and then used for every job application. No two jobs are the same, so your CV or Resume cannot be the same for each role. Make it specific to the role you’re applying for. Make it relevant.

Read ‘Tailoring your CV in 4 Easy Steps’.

8. Highlighting Tasks Not Achievements

Recruiters want to see what you’ve achieved.

Too many CVs and Resumes list the responsibilities or tasks for a job role.

Your emphasis needs to be on what you achieved. What value you brought to the role and the tasks.

9. Gaps

Recruiters hate gaps on CVs and Resumes. Gaps in employment usually raise alarm bells for a recruiters.

It may not stop you from getting an interview, but chances are you will get the question, ‘Why is there a gap between ‘x’ date and ‘y’ date?’

You’ll need to be ready with an answer.

Better still explain the gap in your CV. Show that you’ve used the time wisely and positively. For more information read ‘Explaining a Gap on your CV’.

10. Too Long

How long is too long for a CV or Resume?

Well it depends.

Some recruiters will tell you to stick to 2 pages, but sometimes that just isn’t enough space to detail everything about you.

One thing is for sure, 8 pages is too long! I had a candidate with a CV that lasted 8 pages. Far too long!!

The point of your CV or Resume is to interest and intrigue a recruiter. A CV or Resume is not your life story. Make sure that is contains all the important points. It’s long enough to cover them, but short enough to keep a recruiter interested.

CV Pitfalls

If you’re about to put together your CV or Resume or if you’ve already crafted it, take some time to review it against these 10 pitfalls. Does yours fall into 1 or more of these? If it does change it.

Remember you want to stand out for the right reasons, not the wrong ones!

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