4 types of CV's that recruiters HATE reading

If you have sent out countless CVs but you’re still not getting any responses, you could be making simple mistakes that are turning recruiters off.

Recruiters review hundreds of CVs in the search for that one ideal candidate who stands out from the crowd. But you don’t want to be standing out for all the wrong reasons, so it’s important to know what to avoid before submitting your next application.

Check out the 4 types of CVs recruiters hate – and, instead, learn to create a CV that recruiters will love to read:

The generic CV

You’ve read one, you’ve read them all, is a feeling most recruiters get daily. Blending into the crowd with a generic CV is the quickest way to have your CV discounted.

With so much competition, it’s vital to grab a recruiter’s attention from the get-go - and by simply submitting the same CV to each employer, you’re likely to get overlooked.

If writing a CV isn’t your strong point, writing a one-size-fits all document might seem like the best idea - but you should avoid this at all costs. Each CV you submit should be tailored to the specific job and company you’re applying to; reflecting why you’d make the perfect fit for their requirements.

So, instead make sure your CV reflects how your unique skills and abilities make you a great match for your target role. Stop the copy and pasting and use the job description to inform your CV, demonstrating how your experience, strengths and qualifications make you the ideal candidate.

The eyesore CV

If you’re looking to progress to the next stage of the recruitment process, you need to get the recruiter on your side. An eyesore CV which is difficult to read, cluttered or has a lack of structure could result in you falling at the first hurdle.

Large blocks of text that are difficult to read, confusing formats and no clear structure can all lead to recruiters deselecting your application. Recruiters only spend seconds on their first glance of your CV, so you need to avoid burying key information in a poor structure and design.

Instead, spend time working on a clear CV structure which allows recruiters to navigate through with ease. Make sure each CV heading is clearly formatted for attention. Reflect on components such as the font size or typeface you use to ensure readability, whilst breaking up lengthy chunks of text into small paragraphs with bullet points.

The cliché-ridden CV

Your CV is all about selling yourself, but there’s nothing worse than a CV jam-packed with clichés. Yes, you might be hard-working and dedicated but do recruiters really have a reason to believe that you ‘always give 110%’?

Recruiters aren’t impressed by these overused and meaningless statements that they have seen so many times before. By filling your CV with one-liners and exhausted phrases, vital information that makes you the right candidate is going to get missed.

Instead of stating you have ‘amazing customer service skills’, you should aim to actually show a recruiter how you’ve demonstrated these skills, for example: ‘Consistently reviewed customer feedback and implemented positive changes, boosting customer satisfaction by 40% in just 6 months.’.

Give examples of your strengths and back up your claims with facts and figures. Recruiters aren’t just looking for bold statements, but rather want to see examples of your core competencies.

The all style no substance CV

You might think dazzling a recruiter with your fancy CV is the way to go, but there needs to be more to your CV than a unique design. Reconsider the vibrant colour palettes, fancy fonts and overwhelming imagery and go back to the basics.

Your content is key and your CV format should emphasise this, rather than distract from your skills, qualifications and experience. Consider readability and avoid hard to read fonts or overly elaborate designs and instead opt for a clear, simple CV design that naturally flows through your experience.

Yes, if you’re going for roles as a graphic designer, creative marketer or an artist, it might be worth stepping out of the box to make a big impression. But for most roles, less is more.


About the Author 

Andrew Fennell is the founder of CV writing advice website StandOut CV – he is a former recruitment consultant and contributes careers advice to websites like Business Insider, The Guardian and FastCompany.

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