Top 5 CV Blunders

The one thing common to most job applications is the curriculum vitae. This two- to three-page document is expected to contain the applicant's employment history, special achievements and relevant personal details. Unfortunately, many applicants still fail to write their CVs properly and end up failing to snag the job interview. What are the top five blunders that job applicants make when designing their CVs?

By Linus Tham

1. Making the CV too fanciful
Many job applicants think that the CV is an invitation card or a fashion art piece. They put in fanciful font, insert little shapes and pictures, and even change the font sizes, all the time thinking that this demonstrates creativity on their part. However, it is important to remember that the CV is actually a formal document for consideration. It may not sit very well with an executive recruiter who is not in the mood to joke. An overly fanciful CV may also tell the recruiter that the applicant is not professional and is not serious about the job.

2. Overemphasising their job responsibilities
Some job applicants have significant job experience. When they write their CVs, they list all their previous positions and make a long list of the responsibilities that they held in a certain position. This makes their CV long and boring, especially for the recruiter which has to read through thousands of résumés. Overemphasising your job responsibilities may also make the applicant seem like a braggart.

3. Divulging sensitive information
Some job applicants think that the more personal details they give, the more accessible they would appear to the recruiter. They put in details such as their NRIC number and all their contact numbers. Some of these details are not even useful when the recruiter assesses the candidate’s suitability for the job. Another problem is that the applicant's privacy may be compromised if overly private information like the NRIC number is made available to many companies at a time.

4. Omitting contact information
A few job applicants prepare a well-written CV with most of the important details. Everything is present: employment history, references and education history. The only thing missing is the contact number. Imagine that an employer who looks through a candidate's CV is impressed by all his accomplishments and experience. He is about to ring him up for an interview, but lo and behold, there is no contact number on the résumé, and nothing on the cover letter. Even with the best intentions, the recruiter will never be able to meet this candidate.

5. Using a generic CV
The average jobseeker submits his CV to more than one company. The only problem is that the same CV is used for all the job applications. In this generic CV, the candidate tends to list all his skills and experience. The only problem is that the employer is looking for a candidate that can fulfil specific job requirements. All the skills listed may not be relevant to the job. As a result, it is important that the applicant looks into designing the CV for specific jobs, and tailoring the CV to its requirements. Writing a CV is definitely not a walk in a park, and neither should it be written simply. Jobseekers should always make sure that their CVs are adequately detailed and there are no language errors that may compromise their chances of getting a job interview.

Written by Linus Tham, Founder and Director of the C.V Plus Group, a CV writing and design consultancy. The C.V Plus Group specialises in CV and cover letter design, post-interview Thank You letters and junior CVs. For more information, please visit or call 6270 9028. (Email:; Blog:

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