Despite all the books written on CVs, free advice online and commonsense wisdom, people are making the same mistakes again and again when they submit their CV to a prospective employer.

Pleasant and professional format

A CV these days should be something that is pleasant to look at and read, although Times New Roman or Arial may be the "go to" fonts for most people, there are many other True Type fonts and formats out there that will make your CV stand out from the crowd. Search Google for "CV formats" and see what comes up.

Mobile number


I know this sounds crazy, but so many people forget to put their mobile number in their CV. Recruiters want to contact you immediately if they feel you are a suitable candidate, so not having a mobile number in the CV means a delay in your interview date.

Clear career history

Ensure your career history is in reverse chronological order, as the employer is usually most interested in what you have been doing recently, rather than long ago. Also treat your information like a funnel — more detail for recent experience, with less data as you go further back in your career.


I personally despise one page CVs, so for me, 2-3 pages is perfect, with up to four pages for a senior-level executive.

Mirrored to the needs of the reader

Remember you are writing the CV for someone else to read, not yourself. Mirror the keywords from the advertisement or job description into your CV summary to ensure these are picked up by the reader. Doing this presents you as the "solution" to the employer's "problem".

Career and personal achievements


Highlight your value to the reader by including key achievements you have had throughout your career. These could include special projects you have led, new systems or tools you developed or team members you have trained.

Easy to access file type

Again, you are writing your CV for someone else to use, so choose a format such as .pdf or Word that is easy to view. Formats like Google Docs or .pages make it difficult to access for most readers.

No spelling or grammatical mistakes

In our experience, the majority of CVs we see have some spelling or grammatical issues. These become more apparent the higher you are pitching your career. Get a friend to have a read, and print it off as well, as sometimes errors are easier to pick up in hard copy.

No crazy email addresses


Ilovekittens@, lovemonster1967@ and toocoolforyou@ are examples of email addresses that will quickly turn off an employer. Purge these from your CV immediately.

No lies

Finally, be 110 per cent ethical in your CV. Whereas you may be tempted to embellish your career a little, this will come back to bite you at some stage in the future.

Contact Tom O'Neil and the team at CV.CO.NZ for a free CV assessment or to be your personal career coach. Visit www.CV.CO.NZ (0800) 282 669 or to find out more.