5 cv bloopers that will put you out of business in no time

Numerous articles have been written about how to write an attractive resume. But let’s be honest, there is no general guideline that applies to all.

What does apply to all are the cv slip-ups…. those will make you stand out from the crowd but not in the way you want to.

Here are my 5 bloopers that are a fast track to the dreaded ‘not withheld’ e-mail.

· Language blunders

Despite all the spelling- and grammar checks, a vast amount of CV’s still contain errors. These language blunders become especially embarrassing when combined with the reference to your eye for detail or perfectionism. The proverb ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating’ truly applies here.

Get at least one other set of eyes to review your CV, no matter how good a proofreader you are. Once you’ve found your perfect job opportunity, you don’t want to miss out over one misplaced comma or misspelled word.

· The wrong picture

Whether you should include a picture in your cv will always remain a topic of discussion but if you decide to add a picture, make sure it is the right one.

Too often the picture contains palm trees in the background or a merely cut off girlfriend …there is nothing wrong with a professional picture, with a clean background and a smart outfit. Just don’t take the picture from your badge…. that usually is a mugshot.

· A little white lie

Tempting as it may be to play a little with the dates of employment, the little white lie is never a good idea. The truth has the very bad habit of surfacing when you least expect it.

In the same category falls the 3-day online course that you followed at a famous business school. It is never a good idea to make it look more important or bigger than it actually is.

· Reference woes

Choose your references carefully, select reliable sources who will present you in the best possible light. You don’t want me to call one of your references only to hear ‘who is that person?’ or even worse ‘I really cannot tell anything positive about him or her’. In fact, eliminate references on your CV altogether. Supply them only when asked for.

· Getting too personal

Your resume gives me an insight in who you are but remember that I want to get to know you on a professional level, not a personal one. If you like wining and dining with friends, there is no need to mention that on your cv. It does not add any relevant information.

If you have hobby’s that are relevant to your working life such as being a soccer trainer or having a boy scouts’ history then it is of course ok to mention this. It will tell me that most likely you are a team player and capable of coaching a group. Beware, it can also backfire…. maybe the hiring manager does not like soccer or got bullied when being a boy scout….

Your CV should first and foremost be a reflection of who you are. It should, at a glance, provide me with some insight on your experience and personality, on your achievements and aspirations for the future.

A well-written CV will not guarantee you to land a job but a resume containing bloopers may put you out of business before we even meet.

If you want more information on how to find a new opportunity as an experienced candidate and some additional tips on how to write a cv or update your Linked In profile, you can review the webinar I did with Els Deboutte from Make Me Fly through the following link Webinar (only for Dutch speakers though…. maybe one day we’ll do a similar one in English).

And as I want to keep things light in current dark times, I’ll be sharing with you in the next blog the bloopers that put you out of business during a selection process.

In the meantime, enjoy the Christmas holidays! I think they are well deserved for each and every one of us.

And as always…. I look forward to hearing from you,


5 cv bloopers that will put you out of business in no time was originally published in Secrets of a headhunter on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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