By: Tim O’Neil

Cut the waffling out of your CV and you’ll increase your chance of an interview. Picture / Getty Images

As a professional CV writer, I see how people present themselves to the employment market on a daily basis. Your CV is your brochure and should sell you professionally to employers. Sometimes, however, it’s not pretty. The following are a selection of some of the worst examples of personal branding in various CVs I have seen over the past few years.

Shocking Spelling

Spelling and grammar are important when marketing yourself professionally to employers. A while ago a client came to me with her CV, however, she had managed to spell her first name incorrectly. If this was not bad enough, it was size 35 and at the top of the page, which really made her look foolish.

Another client was a business analyst for a leading international consulting firm. My concerns about whether they had also started a new proctology practice were heightened when I saw that he had called himself an “Analist”. Again, bad spelling put this client in a poor light, making him a bit of a joke to the HR department.

Poor Personal Summaries

It’s vital to ensure your CV is sharp and calls the reader to action. Waffling will only cause the reader to start skipping over key information, limiting your chance of an interview.

A great example of this was a quote from a client’s personal summary: “Thus the paradoxes of life, 30s transition, the theology of doubt, the greys amongst the black and white.” This did him no favours in determining whether he was a right fit for the employer.

Another great quote from a personal statement was from a young student:

“The meek and the mild will be the rungs to the ladder of my success.” If I had not read this quote, I would not have believed it was true.

Dreadful Skills

Highlighting your skills are important in your CV. However, make sure they are focused on the role you are seeking, making you a solution to the employer’s problem. Examples of people getting these wrong include:

  • “I am great at thinking at my own feet”
  • “The customer is my God; I will try my all to help them”
  • “I have a high level of attention to detail – I always dot my ‘Is’ and cross my ‘Ts’ (one of my favourites).

Appalling email addresses

A recruiter told me she has a special place she puts CVs with terrible email addresses — the rubbish bin. Shocking examples I have come across include devil-man, onenightstand, im-a-sexy-beast, badboyrulz, DepressedAngel, life-is-a-nightmare, dopeyboy and love-is-worse-than-death, as well as anything with the number 666 in it. In respect of public decency, there are also many many others I can’t repeat in my column.

Perfectly professional

Remember that your CV is your brochure, and you are presenting yourself as the solution to the employer’s problem. Remember this, and you can’t go wrong

Contact Tom for a free Linkedin or CV review, or to be your personal career coach. Visit or to find out more.

Source: NZ Herald


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