Recruiters receive hundreds of CVs everyday from job applicants hoping to get noticed. But with so many to look at, it comes as no surprise that recruiters will only spend a few minutes scanning your CV.

With this in mind, it’s important to understand the things you should avoid putting on your CV to ensure that you have a good chance of standing out.   

We’ve put together a list of some of the things that recruiters hate to see on your CV so get your checklist at the ready…

1. Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors

This is perhaps the most obvious but you’ll be surprised at the number of careless spelling errors and typos that seem to crop up on CVs on a daily basis. Everyone makes mistakes from time to time but a recruiter won’t take kindly to errors that could’ve easily been avoided. It also shows that you haven’t really proofed your CV in detail before submitting it which isn’t a good sign.

If you really want to stand a chance at winning over a recruiter, proof your work a few times and even pass it on to a friend or family member to proof, just to be doubly sure it’s good to go!

2. Too many pages

Recruiters are busy people, so when it comes to writing your CV, make sure you don’t ramble on for pages and pages. There are a few key areas that recruiters will focus on such as employment history, experiences etc., but there will be other sections that they simply might just scan.

In order to make your CV stand out before a recruiter has even started reading it, cut it down to two sides of A4 and only talk about things that are current and most important. You might’ve done some voluntary work ten years ago when you were in school which is great, but it isn’t going to be very relevant now.

Stick to the things that are the most recent and relate to the job you are applying for.

3. Your social media accounts

Unless you’re applying for a digital or creative job that will require a recruiter to see how well you work on social media, including your social media accounts on your CV isn’t a good idea. A recruiter might see photos you’re tagged in on Facebook, Twitter posts that might be inappropriate or any other information that might paint you in a bad light.

First impressions count so don’t throw away your opportunity to shine by letting recruiters see something that might put them off. For example, if you’ve written negative comments on your social media about your previous job, it won’t make you look appealing to a recruiter who is in the process of considering you for an interview.

4. Gaps in your work history/previous employment

Most people, at some point in their careers, might take time off due to various different circumstances. Perhaps personal reasons lead you to take a break or you took a period of time off to travel. In any case, make the recruiter aware of why you have a substantial gap in your work history.

This will stop recruiters from thinking you have just been lazy and couldn’t be bothered to look for a job. If there are long periods of time where you didn’t work, make sure you mention in your interview that you were spending lots of time job hunting, as this will show recruiters that you were being productive during your unemployment.

5. Information that cannot be backed up with evidence

This is fairly obvious but under no circumstances should you lie on your CV. You can get yourself into a lot of bother if you land a job because of something you have falsely portrayed on your CV – especially if the truth comes out at a later date.

You might be asked a question in an interview regarding a piece of false information you’ve put on your CV and if you don’t have a response, it’s going to look quite obvious that you’ve messed up. This can relate to things like being able to speak another language, knowing how to use a computer programme or pretending to be knowledgeable in a topic that you know nothing about.

6. A range of confusing fonts and sizes

When a recruiter first glances at your CV, they will immediately see the structure of it before they read the opening line. If you use a range of fonts, sizes and colours it won’t look visually pleasing and will more than likely make the recruiter not want to continue reading.

There isn’t a set rule for how to construct the perfect CV, but using a simple layout and a single font throughout will make it much easier for a recruiter to read and they will be less likely to swerve your CV in favour for another, less confusing alternative.

Also, consider photocopying. Writing in colour might hinder the quality of your CV and as a result, might make it unreadable. Your recruiter may download your CV in a certain format and using different colours, images and shapes will look messy.

7. An out-of-date email address

We’ve all been there – having an embarrassing email address that you created in high school won’t look good on your CV, especially if you’re applying for a professional role. If you have to, make a brand new email address just to put on your CV so that recruiters will take you seriously as a potential candidate.

Another advantage of creating a brand new email address is that any emails you receive about new jobs can now be stored in the same place. This will help you stay more organised when you start job hunting so you can keep track of where you have applied for and who you’ve received responses for.

8. References

This one can divide opinions as some recruiters prefer ‘references available on request’, while others don’t want you to include anything. There’s no harm in arranging your references for your own benefit but most employers won’t contact your references until you’ve gotten the job.

You could even email the company personally to ask what they would prefer before submitting your CV just to be on the safe side.


Looking for a job can be difficult if you don’t know where to start but that’s where we come in!

Here at Time Recruitment we have a team of dedicated professionals who can steer you in the right direction when it comes to applying for the right job. We also help recruiters find the right candidates to join their company so you don’t have to do the hard work.

If you’d like to speak to one of our friendly team members, get in touch today.