CV Mistakes, or How to Quickly Ruin Your Chances of Employment


You have outstanding professional experience, graduated from a prestigious university, completed numerous industry courses, and perfectly fit the requirements for a given position, yet you don’t even receive an invitation for a job interview. What could have gone wrong? In such a situation, the problem usually lies with an unprofessional Curriculum Vitae (CV). Your CV is your professional calling card and the first point of contact with a potential employer. It is a crucial element that largely determines whether you will be qualified for the next stage of the recruitment process. How can you stand out among dozens, and sometimes even hundreds, of candidates? We present the most common CV mistakes that can jeopardize the employment chances of even the best candidate! Because despite the many discussions about the rules of writing application documents, errors still occur frequently!

CV is Your Business Card

CV is Your Business Card Every candidate would like to make the best impression on a potential employer. So why do many of them not pay more attention to the appearance of their CV? Its format is just as important as its content. Sometimes, rich professional experience or an excellent cover letter may not be enough to land a great job. A poorly formatted CV, full of errors or unnecessary elements, is unlikely to gain the recruiter’s approval. On the contrary, it will most likely be rejected immediately.

Remember that your CV is your business card, reflecting your professionalism and approach to potential employment. A well-prepared, neat, informative, and eye-catching document helps create a positive image in the job market. Preparing an aesthetic CV is the first step in building a good employee brand and successfully finding satisfying employment.

Too Much Information

One of the most common CV mistakes is including too much information that is not relevant to the recruitment process but unnecessarily fills space. Maiden names or marital status hold no value for recruiters. Every extraneous detail distracts from what truly matters.

The perfect CV contains only the information that is useful for a potential employer. Focus primarily on your relevant experience, skills, and qualifications that can facilitate the performance of the job in question. The “Education” section should be expanded only when the candidate lacks experience. Otherwise, it’s advisable to skip information about high school or vocational school and focus solely on completed degrees.

All information should fit on one or at most two A4 pages. No recruiter will want to read a 3-4-page resume—even if the candidate believes it is incredibly interesting. When constructing a CV, it’s essential to exercise moderation and common sense.

Chaos in Curriculum Vitae = Chaos in Life

An unorganized and chaotic CV without a clear structure is perceived as unprofessional. When the description of education intertwines with experience, margins and divisions are missing, and it’s challenging to find relevant information, even a candidate with extensive experience and excellent qualifications can be eliminated right from the start. After all, doesn’t chaos in the CV suggest chaos in life? There’s something to it.

So, what should a proper CV look like? Current standards emphasize clear grouping of information. The document should include categories such as personal information, education, experience, skills, and interests. Additionally, you can include a brief professional profile or a list of relevant courses completed for the position you are applying for.

Make sure to pay attention to aesthetics. Use a maximum of two fonts, avoid fonts without Polish characters, and refrain from using too many colors. To emphasize selected information, use bold text.


Lack of Specifics – a CV Mistake That Hampers Employment Decisions

Not providing specific dates of the start or end of employment, as well as descriptions of the positions held, is a significant mistake. Recruiters won’t spend their precious time searching for answers. Instead, they will reject the application, taking away your chance of employment.

The person reading your CV wants to know precisely what you were responsible for, what you can do, and how long you worked in specific roles. Make it easier for them by appropriately expanding the experience section. Your CV should include all relevant information.

Lies Will Catch Up with You

Research shows that nearly half of candidates include false information in their CVs! The most common lie—and interestingly, the easiest to verify—is the level of proficiency in foreign languages. A brief conversation in the claimed language is enough to assess a candidate’s actual skills.

Among other frequently appearing lies, recruiters mention extending the duration of employment, attributing successes, or exaggerating professional achievements. Sometimes candidates change job titles, include incorrect information about promotions, or add references from friends to their CVs. Another lie is concealing employment gaps caused by maternity leave or extended periods of job searching. It’s essential to remember that any experienced recruiter can quickly check if the information presented by the applicant is accurate.

Holiday Photos or Selfies are a Real Faux Pas

The debate about whether to add a photo to your CV has been ongoing for some time. One thing is certain: an inappropriate photo can completely ruin your chances of employment.

A grave mistake is adding vacation selfies, party pictures, or mirror selfies to your Curriculum Vitae. Such photos might be fine for social media, but they look unprofessional in a CV and reflect poorly on the candidate. Inappropriate choices also include blurry or outdated photos.

The photo in your application document should be tailored to the position. It doesn’t have to be very formal and serious. The best choice is a photo where you appear approachable and friendly, with a subtle smile. The background should be light and uniform. Also, remember to wear appropriate, business attire.

Forced Creativity – How to Ruin a Professional CV

Many people believe that a good CV should be creative and unconventional. They think such a document makes it easier to find a job because recruiters receive dozens of CVs every day. Therefore, those who want to stand out must add a creative touch to their CV.

In reality, the best and most effective documents are those that are clear, creatively emphasize the candidate’s strengths, and cater to the specific needs of the employer. The appearance of a CV matters, but an overemphasis on style over substance can have the opposite effect of what’s intended. Focus on professionalism, moderation, and subtle creativity.

However, there are exceptions! If you’re applying for a job as a graphic designer or content specialist, you can deviate from the usual templates and use unconventional formats. Still, remember to exercise moderation!


Linguistic, Spelling, and Other Common CV Mistakes

Another crucial aspect is linguistic, spelling, punctuation, stylistic, and other errors. While a single typo won’t ruin your CV, if there are too many, a recruiter may reject your candidacy. Why? Because you’ll come across as careless and lacking minimum commitment to what you do. When writing your CV, double-check the text for correctness.

Other common CV mistakes that can eliminate you right from the start:

Linguistic, Spelling, and Other Common CV Mistakes Another crucial aspect is linguistic, spelling, punctuation, stylistic, and other errors. While a single typo won’t ruin your CV, if there are too many, a recruiter may reject your candidacy. Why? Because you’ll come across as careless and lacking minimum commitment to what you do. When writing your CV, double-check the text for correctness.

Other common CV mistakes that can eliminate you right from the start:

  1. In your CV, include professional contact information. It seems simple and logical, yet many documents still contain email addresses from high school or affectionate nicknames. Unfortunately, this seemingly minor mistake makes you appear childish and ridiculous. Any active professional should use a professional email address, e.g., Also, make sure that the provided email or phone number is up to date. Outdated contact information can eliminate your chances of participating in the recruitment process.
  2. The file format of your CV matters. The best choice is to use a universal .pdf format. This ensures that the document remains intact and readable on any device. Send a .doc file only if the recruiter explicitly requests it.
  3. It’s essential that your CV is tailored to the specific job offer. Generic, one-size-fits-all CVs written “for everyone” won’t do the job. Choose a professional profile and customize your document to match its requirements. Don’t mention completing a culinary high school or teamwork skills if you’re applying for a sales representative position. If you’re looking for jobs in various industries, prepare several versions of your CV.
  4. The last mistake that immediately ruins your chances of employment is omitting the current data protection clause in your CV. Consent to the processing of personal data is an essential element of every application document. If it’s missing, the recruiter is not allowed to contact the candidate—even if they perfectly match the requirements in the job posting. The clause is a kind of permission for the recruiter to contact the candidate. Therefore, it must not be omitted! Where should you place it? Ideally, at the bottom of the document or in the footer.

While a well-edited and clear CV won’t guarantee you a job, it can significantly ease your presence in the job market. Mistakes in your CV can jeopardize your chances of landing your dream job. Avoid them, prioritize professionalism in content, remember the principle of transparency, include a cover letter with your application, and you’ll likely achieve success!