Resume Tips – 7 Worst CV mistakes to avoid

For most job seekers, having an effective resume is only the first step of your job search but it is your ticket to that coveted interview. The next step is having a robust job search strategy and it is really critical especially if it is an employer’s market. 

In this article, Citadel Search will list out some of the common mistakes we had seen in candidate’s job applications.  Hiring Manager also shared with us their horror stories of the worst mistakes job seekers made in their resumes. 

In addition, we will also share resume tips to shift your paradigm.



7 Worst Resume Mistakes To Avoid


#1 Missing Introduction Information

Some of the worst resume mistakes we found in job applications could be as basic as failing to include email, phone number or any other form of contact. This is almost intuitive but yet such fundamental errors are made. 


Apart from the usual email address and phone number, include your LinkedIn profile link as it aids the Talent Acquisition team to have a well-rounded understanding about your relevant skills, experience, accomplishments, and your professional personality. You could also add your contact information and update your skill section on Linkedin so that all your professional information is on one page. 


Write a short introduction that summarises your professional experience and the impact and aspirations you would like to make. Make sure it is punchy and impactful so as to leave a lasting impression on the reader. Avoid generic introductions that say you are team-player, etc. Personalise your summary that makes you stand-out from the crowd in an authentic way. This resume tip is going to help you make the difference. 


#2 Problematic Resume Formats

While using colour and font variations in a resume may indicate that one is a creative individual, it may not be practical if it does not facilitate reading or is distracting with too many colours, fonts or odd orientation of texts. Hence, avoid this resume mistake of having a problematic resume format with brilliant colours and distracting formats. 


Remember, prioritise readability over abstract formats. Add in bullet points, proper title and headings to your resume to enhance your hiring manager’s reading experience. 


Further maximise readability and accessibility by providing your resume in either Word document or PDF format, ensuring consistent formatting for the reader


#3 Squeezing your CV to 1 page 

Should I stand out from the crowd by using dynamic formats? A resume is a way to represent one’s accomplishments over the years. However, writing a resume is not the same as writing a novel, nor is it a laundry list of every type of interface or tools one has knowledge of.


Lengthy resumes appear as though one has not placed much thought into their resume. However, it is highly acceptable for very experienced candidates to have their resume up to 4 pages! 


Once again, we come back to the point of keeping your resume concise. Summarise your achievements based on the relevant job vacancy that you are applying for to make your resume as concise and as accurate as possible.  


However, do not restrict your resume to just one page and squeeze all the content by making your font size small.  It is crucial that important and relevant achievements are included in your resume. 


So, forget what your career consultants tell you in school to fit it all in one page!  This resume mistake should be avoided at all costs. 


#4 Hiding Resume Gaps

If I have 20 years of experience, to avoid overcrowding my resume, should I leave out my earlier experiences? It depends on what is relevant to the job you are applying to.

Trying to hide resume gaps is not a good move as the ghosts of the past may come back to haunt you. Being authentic and honest will not require you to cover yourself with justifications. Dont make this resume mistake of lying by trying to hide resume gaps.

However, we need to understand that not everything in your resume deserves equal weight. The priority changes with the job you are applying to.

Give more weight to their most recent jobs as it is most relevant to the job function which you have applied for. However, if the function you have applied for differs from what you have had experienced in the past 10 years, you may want to include your experience before the 10 year mark. As such, ensure that you include job skills (both hard and soft skills) and experiences based on the function that you have applied.

Relevancy is key. Let it be your compass in guiding you to write the perfect resume.

#5 Failure to Customise Content

Must I really customise my CV? I’m also really busy, I don’t think I have the time. Well, you wouldn’t want to reflect that lack of sincerity and lack of thought on your CV, would you? Therefore, our answer to this is a resounding ‘YES’!

Please customise your CV to the job posting you are applying to. We find this resume tip the most valuable of all!

You must change your paradigm that a one-size standard CV for all job applications works! It doesn’t! Your CV is a reflection of you. Honour yourself by putting effort in your CV, because it reflects who you are.

#6 No Measurable Achievements

I always frown upon my staff if they don’t check their work before submission.

“Your work reflects who you are. So before you submit your work, check it thoroughly first!” Therefore, the same analogy applies to CV. Let your CV reflect who you are.

Be sincere in the job application. It demonstrates that you are willing to put in effort when applying for the job. Hence, giving you a huge advantage over people who do not customise their CV to the job.

As a tip, customise your CV by looking at the Job description, or JD. See what the emphasis of the role is and write accordingly.

Many Design Engineers or Executive Assistants have asked Citadel Search before: “I don’t have many outstanding quantifiable achievements in my job, does including qualitative achievements add impact to my resume?” We understand that some job scopes that accompany these jobs are more routine or support roles in nature.

Whilst we agree that quantifiable achievements are effective in creating impact, we also believe that every job has their own qualitative KPIs. Merely spelling out your job description will not help you stand out. Therefore, yes — you should definitely include your qualitative achievements. Therefore, including achievements is always better than not including any at all.

Here is a hack – provide testimonials such as good customer reviews, or a recommendation letter from your superior. Testimonials are a great way to showcase hard-to-measure achievements. For roles that will need to showcase your work like design engineers, content-writers, architectural managers or similar jobs, you can input a link to your portfolio. Though, we definitely do not recommend that you spam attachments unless requested by the Recruitment Team.

#7 Lack of Effective & Achievement-Oriented Language

Well, it is not the time to be modest while writing your CV! If you find it hard to begin, you might want to start off by thinking about your KPIs and how you have contributed to them.

Reflect on any initiatives (however small or big) or something you have done at work that you are proud of. Write your achievements in a coherent manner, and if possible, enhance your resume with facts, numbers and figures. Lastly write about who benefitted from your projects/actions taken and articulate what were the impact of your projects/actions.

Remember, put in serious thoughts to represent your information in a meaningful way that brings across your message effectively. E.g. use a timeline to represent progression in a company rather than stating it out in point form to effectively get your message across, this also shows the thoughtfulness you put in while writing your resume. This is another great hack and a bonus score! Remember to stay truthful above all else and do not get carried away!

Find out more on how to expand your resume online using Linkedin Profile, and if you feel that you need more help with good resume writing, Citadel Search can guide you with our Resume Writing Service.

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