Why a mistake on your CV could cost you the job

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With so many applications to choose from, the hiring manager has the easy job of finding the very best candidates to interview. Such fierce competition to land a job makes for great reading when you’re an employer, but on the flip side, makes it extremely hard to get it right as a job seeker.

If you were an employer and you had so many well written and error free CVs to choose from, would you consider an application with even just the slightest mistake?

To help emphasise the importance of writing an error free CV, here’s why a mistake on yours could cost you the job and the types of mistakes to avoid:

Spelling and grammatical errors

Let’s start with the most obvious and common mistake found on a CV – spelling and grammar. But why is this still happening when we have spell checking software?

There are two main reasons why these errors still occur. Firstly, the spell checking software you use, let’s say in Microsoft Word, is not a 100% guarantee of ensuring you end up with zero errors. The reason for this is that you may have accidentally typed a word that isn’t actually spelled incorrectly – and you don’t notice.

The second reason why an error occurs is because the job seeker isn’t diligent enough. If you don’t proofread and check over your CV numerous times before you apply for a job, you are increasing your chances of having errors and taking a big risk.

Tip – have someone else check over your CV for errors. Ideally you should ask someone who has great literacy skills and/or a manager who has experience in reading CVs and hiring employees.

They may also be able to offer you some advice on the content of your CV, which would be an added bonus!

Poor presentation and layout

The overall look and layout of your CV is extremely important to an employer. The way in which you’ve presented your information says a lot about a candidate, and how much they care for the role. A professionally presented CV that is both easy on the eye and to navigate will instantly catch the attention of the hiring manager. It shows:

  • Passion
  • Attention to detail
  • Dedication
  • Creativity

On the flip side, a poorly presented CV shows the opposite of the above.

Tip: consider using a CV template which can be found online and downloaded for free. There are hundreds to choose from, and even some which have been designed for a specific role or industry.

Professionally written CV templates have the added benefit of saving you a lot of time, effort and stress which could be better spent on writing your CV. Additionally, using a template will help ensure you have all the standard sections an employer would expect to see – contact details, core skills, qualifications, achievements, and so on.

If you’re willing to pay for a template, try Etsy – they have tonnes of beautifully designed templates for a reasonable fee. If you’d rather not pay, try CVTemplateMaster.com – they have around 200 templates which are free of charge with no registration required.


An employer will rarely keep hold of a CV that has any kind of error – no matter how small. When the hiring manager has so many applications to choose from it makes sense that they would go for the best presented and the ones which are error free.

Even if you are highly qualified and have more experience than most of the other candidates, there is a good chance that someone else can match your attributes and also provide an error free CV. Remember, this also applies to your cover letter and anything else you may send the employer.

Every part of your correspondence should remain professional – including your email address. Always use your name and refrain from having a funny email address like – [email protected].

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