6 Common Mistakes That Make Your CV Boring – And How To Make It Captivating Instead

Recruiters and hiring managers need to rapidly go through CVs from candidates with the same background and competencies, each of whom is claiming to be perfect for the job.

Sadly, this means a recruiter may NOT even bother to read your CV if it is heavy, unclear or boring – even though you are the best candidate for the post.

That is why you must create a CV that stands out, is easy to navigate and encourages recruiters to read on.

Here are 6 common mistakes that make your CV boring and how to create one that is captivating instead…

1) Failing ­To Get Straight To the Point

Job seekers often make the mistake of cluttering the beginning of their CV with long summaries of experience and lists of personal or professional competencies.

Recruiters are hunting for your experience level, achievements and suitability. They will not wade through a jungle of text to dig these out; if they cannot find it quickly and easily, they will simply move on to the next CV.

Right on top of the CV there should be a short overview or summary outlining your expertise and your career. This helps a recruiter quickly recognize your suitability for the role. The first page must also contain information about your current or most recent job.

Another mistake job-seekers make is going into lengthy explanations about how and why they are right for the job. They create long documents running into 4-5 pages. Nothing bores a recruiter more…

# Be precise and factual. Begin your CV with a short overview to give a glimpse of your expertise and to set the tone.

# Do not give lengthy explanations on why you are right for the job. Focus on giving factual details that will highlight your abilities and competencies. Stick to short sentences with bullet points.

2. Lacking A Good Design

Most job-seekers use popular templates and designs for their CV and as a result most CV’s look very similar. This makes it very tedious and boring for recruiters.

You need to be careful not to overdo the design aspect. Fancy designs with lots of colors may look immature and crude. Also, useless graphics which merely jazz up your resume does not impress anyone.

The idea is to find the right balance. The design must always be complimentary to the text. It should lay out your experience and expertise in a sleek and attractive manner. It should also draw the recruiter’s attention to what makes you the right choice for the job.

Leave enough open space between different elements on your CV. Otherwise; your CV will look cluttered and cramped with information. Give visual breaks to the text.

Lastly, remember that “hot spots” of color are visually stressful. Avoid blotches of color which distract the recruiter from the text. Don’t overdo the colors – use a single light color.

# Good designs are easily available on the internet for free.You can also create a simple and neat layout yourself.

# Use simple colors to make it attractive. Using lighter colors can be more effective than using darker ones.

# Use the same font throughout.Font size should be between 10-12 px depending on the font. Avoid using graphics which serve no purpose.

3) Cluttering the CV with Unorganized Data

Job seekers often dump all their data into a CV design without a second thought. But if the data is not effectively organized, it fails to give the right picture to the recruiter.

For example if you list all your achievements as a career summary, by the time recruiters get to reading about responsibilities and roles in a company, they have already forgotten about your achievements and cannot connect the two.

Organize the text on the CV into clear sections like overview, work experience, personal details, etc. Make sure each header is clearly visible.

The section on work experience must briefly mention your responsibilities and achievements in a short and factual manner. Nothing bores a recruiter more than going through a CV that gives meticulous details of job functions you have handled in the past.

Also DO NOT repeat the same job functions for multiple jobs. Do not cut paste the same text for each company that you have worked for. Each company needs to be presented differently.

# Sections like education, personal details, skills, proficiency and contact details must be kept separate and away from the more important sections like work experience.

# Use short sentences, marked with bullet points. Do not repeat the same information under different sections.

# Your CV should be in a reverse chronological order with most recent jobs first.

4) Littering The CV With Keywords And Action Verbs

There seems to be so much advice about keywords that most job seekers end up flooding their CV with keywords, just to be on the ”safe side”. Recruiters universally call it “Junk” and it makes reading a CV very boring.

Keywords should come naturally on a CV. For example – If you say Sales Executive, Banker, Accountant, Pharmacist, Drilling Mechanic etc, it covers your trade. Repeating it 20 times serves no purpose and just adds clutter.

Overly dramatic sentences with the excessive use of action verbs has become the ‘in thing” today.

You can use action verbs but it must be in the right context and one sentence must only use one verb. Saying you “conceptualized, orchestrated and directed the sales campaign” is an over emphasis that is not required.

# Excessive and unnecessary repetition, verbosity, grand language, and dramatic sentences do not help. Get to the point – focus on effectively presenting facts and achievements.

5) Lack of Clarity On Your Expertise

The most serious mistake job seekers make is not clearly laying out their expertise.  

Projecting expertise is about showcasing factual data on how you have contributed to the development of a process, product or company.

The simplest omissions can result in a lack of clarity. For example, a Sales Manager who has achieved a million dollar sale, but has failed to state the product and brand sold, will make the achievement meaningless.

Verbosity can also create a lack of clarity. If you go into lengthy sentences and paragraphs explaining what your expertise is then there is no focus on facts. Your expertise will get drowned in the sheer volume of text.

Use short precise factual sentences. It makes your expertise stand out more clearly. For example – “Launched XYZ product in India, Korea and Philippines and achieved a sales revenue of XYZ million USD” or “Found a new vendor and negotiated a reduction of procurement costs by 40%”.

# Make sure your CV reflects what you are capable of contributing to the company through your achievements. Quantify – be precise and factual.

6. Including General Lists That Say Nothing

Generalized lists say nothing about you or why you are suitable for the post. They waste space and will put off recruiters and hiring managers.

Many job- seekers club responsibilities or list all their achievements together in one place. Others make standard lists of their competencies and key skills (for example – “Leadership & Team Management”, “Operations Management” etc.)

Standard lists of personal attributes are also common – “excellent interpersonal and negotiations skills, “good communicator”, “quick learner” etc.

Instead, highlight you competencies and personal qualities through achievements. For example, don’t just say you are a team player, say you “led your team to deliver a project 3 days before schedule” – this clearly shows you are a team player.

Lists should only show specialized skills – If you are a software programmer, list the specialized software you have worked on or have a knowledge of. If you are a mechanic, make a section on the vehicles and equipment you have maintained.

# Use lists only for showing specialized functions or use of a specialized technology, machinery or equipment. Do not use them for general or common skills.


A boring resume is a very serious handicap. It means that even though you may be the best person for the job, your CV will get rejected for all the wrong reasons.

Does your CV wake people up? Is your suitability and value jumping off the page? Are recruiters encouraged to read on?

To know what your CV reflects to recruiters and hiring managers — get a FREE PROFESSIONAL EVALUATION AND FEEDBACK of your CV, by mailing your CV to      and get tips and advice on how you can improve the impact of your CV and boost your job search.

Also feel free to follow me on LinkedIn at for regular CV tips, vacancies, interview tips and advice on how to conduct a successful job search (and let me know so I can follow you back)

Looking for vacancies? Go to our jobs section at for more

7 Critical CV Design & Format Tips To Help You Create A Powerful CV

A weak and poorly laid out CV is equivalent to wearing a shabby dress for an interview. First impressions count. Does your CV look disorganized and illogical? Or is it easy to navigate and pleasant to look at?

Here are 7 critical design and format fundamentals to help you create an effective CV that will create an impact with recruiters:-

1.    General Lay-out and design

A good design enhances the text. You can use a vertical double column format or a horizontal one, depending on the text. The important thing is that recruiters should not have to hunt for information. When using a double column format do not fill up the side panels with general lists – put meaningful text. 

There are thousands of free CV templates available on the internet. Choose one that accommodates the text well. 

2.    Margins and spacing

Ideally your CV should not be more than 2 pages. One way of increasing the space you have to work with is by reducing the margins. Large margins waste space and don’t look aesthetic. 0.5 inches is suitable. Any more than that is wasteful.

Make sure there is enough white space on your CV. White space is open space between design elements (between a header and a paragraph, or different paragraphs, or line spacing). White Space ensures that the text does not look jammed and crowded – a CV without open spaces is difficult to read.

3.    Bullet points

Recruiters have a short time to go through your CV and will skip long drawn out paragraphs.

Use bullet points instead. Each point shouldn’t be longer than 2 lines. This allows the recruiter to quickly skim through the CV and still be able to identify why you are right for the job.

4.    Font and font size

Use simple fonts. Often older versions of word may not have the fancier fonts and this can lead to problems when opening the file. Times New Roman or Calibri are good – I personally prefer sans serif fonts, they are easier to read.

Font Size : Too small and the recruiter will have trouble reading it. Too large and you’re wasting precious space. A font size of 11 is most appropriate.

Also, multiple fonts and sizes makes your CV look immature. Ensure your text has a uniform font and font size throughout.

5.    Colour

Colour is an advantage – It catches attention and makes a CV stand out briefly. Black and white documents can be bland.

Use only a single colour on your CV. A multi-coloured CV can be distracting and look tacky. Avoid dark colours – Use light and pleasant colours.

Never use a full coloured background. The CV text must always be on a clear white background. 

6.    Bold and Highlights

Ideally everything on your CV is important – and there is no need to use bold to say something is important.

Also, You can’t know exactly what recruiters are looking for and drawing attention to words or phrases that they are not looking for may confuse them and get you rejected for no fault of your own.

Keep the recruiter‘s focus on the headers and your achievements instead of highlighted words. The impact is better that way.

 7.   Organized Sections

Organize your CV into sections. It helps the recruiter find the relevant data in an easy manner. Organize all information under the following headers:

Contact details: At the top quarter of your CV, you must have your contact details. Just your name, phone number, and email. If you need to include more put them towards the end of the CV.

Summary:The first section, right on top of your CV should be your summary. A short snippet of your experience with just 3-4 bullet points that tells the recruiter what your area of expertise is.

Experience: This is the most important aspect of any CV. Recruiters primarily check whether what you have handled will make you suitable for their own requirement. Your current job must be the strongest and should be on the first page. 

Keep it brief – include only the important details on what you have managed. Do not include generic roles which do not set you apart or routine tasks that every employee handles.

There is advice out there on the internet that a functional CV is appropriate and when your job-experience doesn’t match the requirement just list functions that match the requirement. This is a bad approach and will get you rejected. The recruiter wants to see your actual work experience; under no circumstances should you compromise on this.

Achievements: Do not club all your achievements. This will make it difficult for recruiters to figure out which achievement belongs to which job. Each job in your experience must have a corresponding achievement section.

Education:This section should come last. Although, if the job requirement specifies a certain educational qualification you may include it in your summary as well. Keep this section short as there is no need to include your 6th grade results. Separate your school, college, technical trainings under separate headers.

What to exclude: There is no need to include your hobbies or references. It just adds length to your CV without adding value. And the recruiter doesn’t care. ==========================================================A good CV is primarily about highlighting your suitability and personality and making it easier for the recruiter to take a decision. Ensure it is well organized, logical and the text points out to your expertise.

If you want to know the strengths and weaknesses of your CV you can send it to me for a FREE professional evaluation and feedback to my email Id:

Also feel free to follow me on LinkedIn at  for regular CV tips, vacancies, interview tips and advice on how to conduct a successful job search (and let me know so I can follow you back)

Looking for vacancies? Go to our jobs section at  for more

5 Simple Yet Potent Ways To Effectively Show Achievements On Your CV

It is important that you show your achievements effectively – it is what recruiters look for in a CV. This is what brings out your capabilities and makes your real expertise visible. Why you are good at your job is displayed through your achievements.

Here a 5 tips on how to show your achievements effectively on your résumé- 

1) Define your Achievements

What are your achievements? 

Most job-seekers make the mistake of only focusing on their roles and responsibilities. But these cover only your area of knowledge and experience and do not point to why you are good at your job.

Anything that benefited the company, process or client is an achievement. For example – If you did some cost saving, or launched a new product or completed a project on time then it is an achievement.

It is surprising that so many job-seekers omit including achievements saying that they have no achievements. This is a fatal mistake. Never think that the work you did was not special enough to qualify as achievements. You don’t need proof like a recommendation letter or a promotion to show something as an achievement.

2) Quantify your achievements 

Your achievements cannot be your opinion. They have to be factual and clearly show the benefit you have created for the company.

So it is not enough to say I reduced transportation costs by re-negotiating the contract with the vendor. You need to quantify it, e.g. reduced cost by 30% .Or saying I negotiated a deal for setting up a 25 acre warehousing unit is an achievement. Or I improved the component inventory monitoring system resulting in savings of over $90,000!

Also make sure your achievements that were rewarded by the company are explained. For example, ‘Won the award for best salesman of the year’, does not effectively show your achievement, but ‘received award for achieving the highest sales of 1 crore INR in my territory’ shows it. 

# Numbers, facts, figures are needed for expressing your achievements effectively

3) Choose your achievements carefully

What achievements to show is a very important factor. 

When you show achievements relating to your current job make sure it also reflects your level of seniority. For example, if you are a sales executive then saying that I achieved my target of 1 million USD and won a trip to Singapore is good.

But as a Vice President or CEO it may not sound like a great achievement because managerial roles require handling a team of executives or distributors, or resource handling, so the achievement has to reflect an achievement of a corporate goal rather than an individual goal. For example since I joined, I expanded operations to the Far East market resulting in an organizational growth of 40%.

4) Balance the visibility of your achievements on your resume

It is very important that your current job shows achievements, because recruiters are interested in what you are doing now rather than your past. 

What you achieved as a Trainee or as a junior executive is really not that important if you have packed in 10 years experience after that. 

# The current and two prior jobs must reflect achievements

5) Present your Achievements effectively

Your achievements must connect with the company to which they belong. So do not make a combined list. Put your achievements alongside the company to which it belongs.

Use simple, precise English. Use bullet points. 

And remember that achievements generally have to be in the past tense even if you mention that it is a continuing benefit. For example – Set up new offices in 4 countries in a record time of 6 months, is your achievement even though it may have spinoffs of benefits for the company on a continuous basis but it must be stated in the past tense.


Is your resume reflecting your achievements effectively? Does it contain any fatal errors? How can you improve the impact of your CV? To know, send your CV for a FREE professional evaluation and feedback to my email id:

Also feel free to follow me on LinkedIn at  for regular CV tips, vacancies, interview tips and advice on how to conduct a successful job search (and let me know so I can follow you back)

Looking for vacancies? Go to our jobs section at  for more

36-Point Checklist To Follow For A Successful Résumé

Creating a successful résumé involves a lot of hard work and attention to detail. Small errors could have a big impact – and create a negative impression! It also requires a strong understanding of how recruiters search for candidates. Make sure you use this checklist before you circulate your CV.

Logical Structure and Flow

1. Make sure your CV is well organized.

2. Each section must have a header like – summary, work experience, personal data, skills, publications, research, etc.

3. For the text, use short bullet points only – avoid long paragraphs.

Updated Contact Information

4. The top of your CV should contain your basic contact information – your mobile number, email.

5. Don’t give multiple contact details as it gets confusing to choose from. LinkedIn, address and other links can be put in elsewhere on the CV, towards the end.

6. Check that all contact details are updated.


7. There is no need for a header or title to your CV. If you have a title saying “Resume/CV” – remove it now. It is stating the obvious, and takes up precious space.

8. Don’t say I am seeking a job or position.

9.  And avoid putting a prominent block label on top – like Award Winning Sales Manager or Creative Designer.

Overview / Summary

10. The content of your CV must begin with a brief overview/summary of your areas of expertise and your industry background to give recruiters a glimpse of who you are.

11. Don’t put an objective on top to state what you desire – no one cares!

What work you handle – the ‘Work Experience’ section

12. Don’t lay emphasis on routine job-functions common to everyone in your field. Instead, focus on what sets you apart. For example, if you are in sales, focus on the products you deal with and the territory you handle and not on routine sales functions like client interaction or liaison with dealers, which is understood.

13. Clearly show which areas you specialize in and what are the areas that you actually handle for the company.

14. Make sure your work experience is in reverse chronological order.


15. Clearly spell out your expertise through your accomplishments. Ensure you have separate “Achievements” sections corresponding to each job you have included in your work experience Do Not create one huge section with all your achievements all put together.

16. Quantify your achievements. Show figures! It’s not enough to say ‘Increased sales substantially’ instead you should say ‘Increased sales by 25%’

17. Numbers must be mentioned in numerical form- not text form – ’70’ instead of ‘seventy’.

Skills Section

18. Make sure your “Skills” section only includes specific details: Like for example, knowledge of a professional software, or a particular type of machinery or handling some specific tool or equipment or a type of surgery or research area.

19. Avoid listing soft skills, such as leadership skills, communication skills. Instead, weave your soft skills into your job description itself by using examples that show that you posses these skills. For example, led a team of 10 people shows your leadership and team management skills.


20. This section should be included after your work experience section. Only include relevant education.

21. Remove your early education as it is understood that you have passed school if you have done a Ph.D.

22. If you are applying for a job that asks for a specific education qualification, also mention that qualification in your summary at the start of your CV.

Personal information Must Be Brief

23. Avoid putting your photograph on your CV unless it is specifically asked for. 

24. No need to put in hobbies and interests.

25. Remove marital status, parents names, details of your family background or dependents.

26. Date of birth, passport, details, nationality can be used.

Reference Section / Declaration

27. Remove these sections. Again, there is no need to state the obvious.

28. Also don’t write references on request – all employers know quite well that if they want your references, you will definitely provide it.


29. After you have finished with the above, make sure your CV fits into 2 pages. If it is longer, trim trim, trim. Anything beyond that gets boring. Employers are more interested in your current level of seniority rather than your role as a trainee 10 years back.

Neat Appearance and Professional Finish

30. Keep your CV well-spaced out, grammatically correct and without too much clutter of heavy text. There must be enough white space between the different sections and elements of the CV.

31. Use black text on white background and do not use more than one colour.

32. Avoid graphics pie charts or bars, flow charts, symbols and pictures. It is distracting.

33. Use a single font. Font size 11 preferably.

34. PROOFREAD extensively. You cannot afford any spelling or grammatical mistakes. It gives the impression you lack attention to detail.

PDF & Subject Line of Emails

35. When applying for a job unless directed otherwise – send your CV in the .pdf format. It preserves the format of your CV.

36. Check the subject line of your email – don’t leave it blank or just say CV or job application in the subject line. Instead – Your Name – Job you are applying for – and reference code if any, should be mentioned

================================================================Will your CV get you noticed by hiring managers? Does it contain any fatal mistakes? How can you improve the impact of your CV? To know, send your CV for a FREE PROFESSIONAL EVALUATION AND FEEDBACK to my email id: 

Also feel free to follow me on LinkedIn at  for regular CV tips, vacancies, interview tips and advice on how to conduct a successful job search (and let me know so I can follow you back)

Looking for vacancies? Go to our jobs section at  for more

The Do’s And Don’ts Of Résumé Writing – Tips On How To Write An Interview Winning Résumé

Your CV is the most important document of your career. It must be flawless and must also effectively tell recruiters why you deserve to get hired. Even the smallest omissions or the slightest mistakes will hurt your career progression.

I do a lot of resume evaluations and have seen a pattern of mistakes that job-seekers make. ( you can send your CV too for a free professional evaluation and feedback to ). As a result, I felt the need to create this list of do’s and don’ts of CV writing as an easy reference so that job-seekers can draft a great CV and so that no one gets rejected because of their CV.


1 # do start your CV with a summary of your professional career – 5 bullet points maximum

2 # do list your work experience in reverse chronological order

3 # do tailor your skills and responsibilities based on the job you are applying for – ensure your CV is optimized for the ATS system.

4 # do weave your soft skills into your work experience and achievements.

5 # do list your achievements holistically alongside the job in which you made the achievement.

6 # do quantify your CV – wherever you can, use facts and figures – use digits not words (for example write ‘4 million ‘ not ‘four million’).

7 # do make sure your contact details are clearly listed on top of your CV.

8# do mention which country and city you have worked in/are working in.

9 # do list the industry specific hard skills you possess.

10 # do proofread your CV before sending it out – ask a friend to also proofread for you.

11 # do send your CV as a PDF document – so that the formatting is retained.


1 # don’t use a career objective – it is no longer relevant.

2 # don’t use long paragraphs – one thought should be in one line – use bullet points.

3 # don’t flood your CV with keywords and jargon – it should flow naturally.

4 # don’t include personal information such as religion or marital status. Also don’t include a photo unless specifically asked for.

5 # don’t let your CV go beyond 2 pages.

6 # don’t include hobbies and interests.

7 # don’t use too much colour – use no more than one light color and use black text with a white background.

8 # don’t use tables, graphics, or links – it is distracting.

9 # don’t use an unprofessional sounding email ID.

10 # don’t list routine job functions that every employee would have.

11 # don’t include salary details.

12 # don’t use fancy fonts – use a simple font and a uniform font size.

13 # don’t underline or use bold for anything except headers.

14 # don’t lie or embellish any details –you will get caught.

15 # don’t include the phrase“references on request” – it is understood.

16 # don’t put a declaration as to the true nature of the contents of your CV – it is not a legal document and it is assumed that the contents are true.


Stay clear and concise on what you want to show on your resume. There is so much competition out there, you cannot afford to make mistakes in what you communicate to others through your CV.

For a FREE PROFESSIONAL EVALUATION AND FEEDBACK on the strengths and weaknesses of your CV, mail your CV to and get tips and advice on how you can improve the impact of your CV and boost your job search.

Also feel free to follow me on LinkedIn at for regular CV tips, vacancies, interview tips and advice on how to conduct a successful job search (and let me know so I can follow you back)

Looking for vacancies? Go to our jobs section at for more