Insights and Pitfalls to Avoiding Common CV Mistakes

It was back in 2010 when I first stepped into the realm of recruitment, having just finished my degree in Human Resources from a reputed UK university. Over the past decade, I’ve encountered a plethora of CVs – some impressive and some filled with UK CV errors. Today, I want to share some vital UK job application CV tips to help you avoiding common CV mistakes coming straight from the heart of UK recruiters.

Let’s dive into the essential CV do’s and don’ts UK style, highlighting the Common CV Blunders UK job seekers often commit.

Top 10 Common CV Mistakes Observed by UK Recruiters

Top 10 Common CV Mistakes Observed by UK Recruiters

Poor Formatting

In the digital age, presentation is everything. Poor formatting can lead a recruiter to sideline your CV, from chaotic fonts to jumbled layouts, even before properly reading it. For anyone needing UK CV formatting guidelines, it’s advisable to keep things simple and professional. For instance, Arial or Calibri are universally accepted fonts.

Spelling and Grammar Errors 

Mistakes in grammar and spelling reflect carelessness. The term attention to detail is meaningless if your CV is laden with typos. I once had an applicant spell responsibilities wrong. CV Tips UK always emphasize the importance of proofreading, maybe even using tools like Grammarly to catch those sneaky errors.

Being Vague

Employers want to see your achievements, not just your roles. Instead of stating, Oversaw marketing campaigns, say, Directed a marketing campaign that boosted sales by 20% in Q4 2021.

Overloading with Job Duties 

While it’s good to mention your roles, focusing solely on duties makes your CV sound like a job description. UK CV writing advice often suggests highlighting your achievements and the difference you made in your roles.

Unprofessional Email Address 

I remember chuckling at It’s cute but perhaps best saved for personal use. Stick to something straightforward, like Using professional e-mail is crucial for avoiding common CV mistakes and crafting an effective CV.

Length Issues 

Best practices for UK CVs state that while there’s no one-size-fits-all, a fresh graduate having a three-page CV or a seasoned professional condensing theirs into one page can be red flags. Find a balance that ensures your most significant achievements stand out.

Generic CVs 

Perfecting your UK CV often means tailoring your CV for the UK market. If you’re applying for a managerial role, highlight leadership achievements. For a technical position, focus on relevant skills and certifications.

Missing Contact Information

I came across a brilliant CV but no contact details in my early days. It was a missed opportunity. Always double-check!

Using Clichés: Phrases like team player or result-oriented are so overused that they’ve lost their impact. Instead, show through examples how you exemplify these traits.

Leaving Out Key Skills

If you’re proficient in Python, ensure it’s there for a tech role! Likewise, soft skills like ‘conflict resolution’ can be game-changers for managerial roles. Hence, maintioning the skills properly is crucial to create a good impression and effectively avoiding common CV mistakes

Inability to Follow UK Employment Laws

Navigating the UK job market can feel like tiptoeing around landmines, especially when unaware of the laws that could affect your CV’s content. The UK has stringent regulations, ensuring no potential bias or discrimination in the hiring process. So, understanding these laws is the first step in crafting a flawless UK CV. Moreover, if one is unsure about the quality of their CV, opting for a professional CV Writing Service can be a strategic move.

CV Mistakes in Light of UK Employment Laws and Regulations

CV Mistakes in Light of UK Employment Laws and Regulations

Our recruitment process in the UK has been shaped significantly by employment laws. CV pitfalls to avoid UK also encompass legal pitfalls. Being aware of these will give you an edge:

Including Age or Date of Birth 

The age-old tale of John, a brilliant software developer overlooked due to his age, is a stark reminder. It can trigger age discrimination concerns.

Personal Details 

Believe it or not, I’ve seen CVs mentioning marital status, kids, and even hobbies like ‘Sunday Church.’ Such personal insights, however well-intended, can lead to perceived bias.

Stating Religion or Beliefs 

Your beliefs are personal. While you might be a proud member of a community or group, such details have no place in a professional CV and can trigger discrimination biases.


Sally might be perfect for the job with her beaming smile, but her photo could lead to unconscious bias. UK CVs traditionally omit photos to avoid this.

Health Status 

Avoid mentioning health conditions unless it directly impacts your role. It’s protected information and can be a potential discrimination pitfall.

Irrelevant References 

Jane’s friend, a baker, might vouch for her character but isn’t the best reference for a banking role. CV mistakes to steer clear of in the UK also include not selecting the right references.

And if you’re still uncertain about the quality, remember there’s always a benefit in seeking professional help, perhaps even a Crafting the Perfect CV service.

Recommendations for Avoiding Common CV Mistakes

Around 500 words into this piece, let me now pivot to some of the UK curriculum vitae mistakes and advice that I personally consider important. Gathering insights from UK recruiters and drawing from personal experience, here are nuggets of wisdom:

Prioritise Clarity

Keep a direct approach. If you’re an expert in data analytics, state it. Avoid jargon that could be misunderstood.

Quantify Achievements 

Numbers pop! Increased sales by 30% is more apparent than helped improve sales.

Use Active Language 

Show enthusiasm. Words like spearheaded, championed, and curated are compelling and show initiative.

Stay Updated 

The tech course you finished last month? Add it. The freelance gig from three years ago? Maybe not as crucial. Continuously update, refine, and prune your CV.


Navigating the UK job market might feel daunting, but with a solid CV, you’re already ahead of the pack. Top CV errors UK job seekers make can be easily avoided with awareness and diligence. Remember, your CV is your ambassador. Let it showcase the best of you! 


How long should a UK CV be? 

Typically, 1-2 pages for most professionals. However, senior roles might need more detailed CVs.

Should I include references on my CV? 

It’s common to state, References available upon request. Save space for more pertinent information.

Is it essential to customize my CV for every job?

Absolutely! Tailoring your CV can significantly increase the chances of catching an employer’s eye.

Can I use creative designs for my CV? 

While visually appealing CVs can stand out, it’s crucial to ensure clarity and professionalism, especially for non-design roles.

Should I mention my salary expectations in my CV? 

No. Salary discussions usually come later in the recruitment process.

What if there’s a gap in my employment history?

Be honest. You could state that if there were personal reasons, like health or family. What’s vital is how you’ve kept updated during the break.

Do I need a different CV to apply outside the UK? 

Often, yes. Different countries have different CV conventions. Always research before applying internationally.

How important are soft skills on a CV?

Incredibly! While technical skills get the interview, soft skills often get the job. Showcase them, but avoid clichés.

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Jessica Lamb
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