Top 6 graduate CV mistakes to avoid

March 18 2019 , 0 Comments

CV mistakes

Recruiters and employers look through dozens of graduate CVs on a daily basis—which means that you’ll want yours to stand out. But there’s nothing worse than a CV that stands out for all the wrong reasons. With this in mind, here are six graduate CV mistakes to avoid at all costs.



Not proofreading

With all the grammar checkers and proofreading technology out there, this really is one of the most crucial errors you could make. Many graduate recruiters have more applicants than they can ever hope to consider, so they introduce screening processes to narrow down their options. Among the first applications to be screened out are those with any spelling or grammar blunders. It’s a good idea to run your CV through your preferred spelling and grammar checker, as well as reading it aloud to yourself, and passing it on to a friend so they can double check. It may seem laborious—but it will be worth it!



Not tailoring your CV

As tempting as it is to spend an afternoon sending your CV to every single job you come across online, it probably won’t get you very far. Employers are looking for graduates who have carefully considered the role and the company they want to work for, and have tailored their CV accordingly. Read the job description carefully and ensure that your CV addresses all of the criteria.



Not telling your referees in advance 

It’s standard practice to include the names, email addresses and phone numbers of some former employers, teachers or mentors who could provide a positive reference for you. In order to do this, however, it’s crucial you contact the references in advance so they’re prepared for an email or phone call. You’ll want your referees to sing your praises, rather than sounding taken aback or confused about being contacted!



Too long… or too short!

A lot of applicants worry about how long a graduate CV should be—after three (or more) years at university, you’ll probably have amassed a lot of experiences to include. But it’s important that your CV doesn’t stray beyond the two-page marker, as the employer is likely to get bored beyond this point. The longer the CV is, the greater the chance it includes some waffle somewhere down the line. On the flipside, don’t make your CV too short—it’s unlikely you’ll have provided an accurate overview of your experiences and qualifications in a half-page or one-page CV.



An unappealing format

It’s no good having a concise, detailed, spell-checked and grammatically accurate CV if the employer can’t figure out how to read it. This often happens when unappealing formats are used. Plan out your sections in advance and stick to them, and make sure that everything is divided up in a way that makes sense. When choosing your font, choose one that’s easily readable on-screen: more and more graduate recruiters will review CVs digitally, so make sure you’re doing what you can to make that an easy process for them.



Outdated information

It’s likely that your CV is an ongoing document you’ll come back to at different points in your life. Be sure to fact-check all of your qualifications, achievements and work-experience information: has anything changed since you wrote this? Of course, the same diligence should be applied to your phone number, email address and home address.



Becky Kells is a writer and editor for – a leading source of jobs and careers advice.

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