5 Reasons Your CV Sucks & How to Improve Your CV

No matter what they say, first impressions count and they count big – especially when we are talking CVs, Portfolios, and interviews.

Believe it or not, some statistics say that the interviewers/employers/HR experts/recruiters won’t take longer than six to ten seconds looking at a CV unless they find something catchy and interesting on (and in!) it.

So, if you’ve been rejected one too many times and have absolutely no idea why it’s pretty possible your CV is a recycle bin-worthy piece of an element.

You disagree? Okay, it’s up to you. Still, read through the elaborations below and see if any of it relates to your resume and how to improve your CV. If it doesn’t, good for you – the right job is about to happen sooner than you think. If it does – take matters into your own hands (or someone who knows how to do it) and give your CV a makeover.

It’s Sloppy

Here, in the Recruiter Land, things are scarier than you can possibly imagine; we get all kinds of job applications through our software, from those super neat to those impossible to understand or even read through.

One of the main reasons we’ll reject an applicant is a CV done in a careless manner, one that looks as if it was just taken out of the trash. Yes, most job applications are submitted electronically but we can still see if someone put an effort into fashioning the CV or they put it together just so they have a CV.

Here’s some advice: don’t ever submit a CV that’s formatted wrong, has a multitude of unmatched fonts, weird templates, grammar/spelling mistakes and hectic previous job listings and explanations.

Go neat. We love our CVs neat.

The Timeline’s All Wrong

Some candidates believe listing their previous jobs by importance rather than timeline makes better sense which it, sometimes, does.

However, the safest option is to go clean and clear when your job positions are concerned. Make sure you list your jobs with accurate start and finish dates; stipulating the month and year is enough.

Unless your CV contains this information, the recruiter will presume you are trying to hide something leading to your CV being rejected.

War & Peace

No matter what they say, there IS something that’s TOO LONG and your CV may be one of those.

Although opinions on the CV length vary, we’ll recommend never going over two pages. Your CV should be clear, simple, concise and easy to read. The elaboration on your experiences and responsibilities you were entrusted with should be reserved for the interview.

Stick to the last 5 to 10 years of your career, and recent few positions you are currently engaged in. No matter what, don’t waffle! If you have over 10 years’ experience, list your jobs by company and position. However, don’t strip your CV of self-promotion; a resume that’s too “blah” is just as equally recycle-bin as a CV that’s too much. Find the balance and work it to your advantage.

Plus, in case you feel the CV isn’t doing you justice, you are always welcome to include a motivational letter with your CV and job application.

Misleading (read: FALSE) Information

Recent years have been crazy in terms of open business markets, job seekers and recruiting; with a huge inflow of professionals and almost too little job posts open for those professionals to occupy, us recruiters had to find a way to filter CVs fast, process candidates even faster and make sure we don’t omit important information that could potentially cost an employer an amazing worker and the worker – a potential job.

Teamed up with HR services, online software services and highly experienced recruiters, more and more businesses are committed to doing a thorough background check on the candidates prior to taking anybody on board.

We understand candidates want to embellish their CVs and make them more appealing to the recruiters; however, going too far by stretching the truth and putting misleading information on CVs is plain wrong simply because – WE KNOW WHEN YOU ARE LYING.

Apart from common sense, we like to rely on software services provided by Anomadic and similar services that give us the opportunity to unmistakably filter candidates and establish if they’re truthful in their resumes.

If we fail to catch a lie, the software won’t – that’s for sure. Stick to the truth, it’ll set you free (and get you do the job).

Here are some of the inaccuracies we keep seeing:

  • Jumbled dates covering up unclear gaps in employment or job hopping
  • Inflated salaries
  • Overstated education achievements
  • Exaggerated job titles
  • Blatant lies/exaggerations in regards to job responsibilities and career achievements

Weird Hobbies and Bizarre Personal Traits

Everyone’s under pressure to fashion CV recruiters everywhere will like, and we get it. However, we keep seeing candidates that are trying too hard to be “different” and “special”.

While we are all for standing from the crowd, try not to stand out in a weird, scary way. Listing interests like collecting stuffed cats, an interest in murder scenes, collecting knives and guns (to name a few) aren’t going to give the impression of a balanced individual.

If you really do happen to love weird stuff like that, keep them to yourself. Obviously, we’ll know if you are a psycho either way but just in case you are not – get yourself the first interview at least and let us make sure you are a mentally fit individual to work with.

Also, for a while, we kept seeing CVs written in the third person: he’s an organized person, she’s in love with literature, she understands organic production better than the next person, he is the right person to hire for your accounting, etc. What on Earth were these candidates trying to do? Too bizarre.


Well, there you go. The things we discussed are more common than you think… and we do hope your CV has any of the examples we’ve listed. If, however, it does – you know what to do… like, NOW! Go and improve your CV!