CV Fails and How to Avoid Them

The all important CV. Your selling points & experience all whittled down on to 2 concise sides of A4, however what shouldn’t you be putting on it? What is hindering your job prospects by some of the content you are including or the extra detail/statements you are adding?

Below are some of the factors that you should avoid in order to keep your CV the concise, engaging & interesting document that your CV should intend to be to guarantee that next stage of the job interview process.

What you should include:

Personal details

Job experience



What you shouldn’t include:

The words ‘Curriculum Vitae’:

This is something that you are probably taught first about writing your own CV where you put this as a title at the very top of the page. However this is a habit that needs to be reigned in.

Replace with:

It is fairly obvious to anyone reading your CV that it is in fact a CV, so just stick with your name as a title.

Clichéd Statements

‘Solutions focused’, ‘dynamic’, ‘problem solver’, ‘passionate about’, ‘results driven’ – just a sample of clichéd statements that inevitably slip into CVs as throwaway statements. Who isn’t solution focused, your interviewer will judge whether you are dynamic or not, are you a problem initiator, you are more likely to be interested in that passionate and finally do you not aim for anything.

Replace with:

Generally, these clichéd claims are misplaced, individuals who are truly any of the statements above don’t feel the need to proclaim it.  If you are a ‘problem solver’ then explain that through a real world example.

Vague personal statements:

These are the first things normally on your CV and everyone wants to add sentences such as ‘I am a hard-working, reliable, dedicated member of every team’. The best way to read this back to yourself is by adding ‘So what?’ or ‘Says Who?’ to the end of every statement. These commonly over used words need a justification if they are to sit pride of place on your CV.

Replace with:

Your personal statement needs to be filled with sentences that gives  yourself the initial ‘wow factor’ to your reader. If you have a reason for following the job direction you are on, this is a great place to say it. Why do you genuinely want to do the job you’re applying for, what are your career goals and most importantly, keep it positive.

Lists in your Job Descriptions:

Don’t use your work history section as an opportunity to list every task you’ve ever done in the role, use this as an area to describe what you’ve achieved and how. This shouldn’t be saying that you were part of a team who won an sales award.

Replace with:

This should be an area where you explain how you were an integral part of team and how your work ethos was pivotal to the success of the recognition award.


When trying to add a personalisation factor to your CV, then try and relate it to the job you are applying for. If you are a member of a club that could promote your teamwork, this is a perfect opportunity. Don’t use your hobbies/interests section to simply list things you enjoy doing.

Replace with:

Differentiating yourself from the market by pitching your hobby such as sailing, which will be a great icebreaker in that potential interview, as an activity which helps you to constantly analyse your surroundings and strategically plan for the day ahead is a big plus.

Most importantly, tailor your CV to the roles you are applying for, content not clichés.

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