The worst CVs EVER

Want to find out how NOT to write your CV? Take a look at these travesties, and learn from the mistakes of others (oh, and if you are on the lookout for something new, check out Mumsnet Jobs for the latest family-friendly opportunities)

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1. DON'T overshare

That's too much information

"One man included a detailed breakdown of the end of his marriage on his CV, which, while sad, was really not relevant." 

"One CV I read said, 'I am a 41-year-old white male and have a good sense of humour. I am single as I am waiting to meet the right lady'." 

"The two most memorable CVs I've ever received listed, under hobbies, 'making love' and 'befriending celebrities', respectively."

2. DO check before you send

Nicholas Cage

"When I got to the interview I was rather bemused by the look on the interviewer's face, until I learned that the recruitment agent had rewritten my CV in the third person and changed me from female to male."

"Some poor lady sent in a cover email with her CV attached. Unfortunately, she attached a photo of Nicholas Cage with his crazy eyes face instead of her CV."

3. DON'T overestimate what constitutes a 'transferable skill'

Transferable skills

"Someone once applied for a position at the shop I work in, and included running a World of Warcraft guild as an example of 'proven leadership abilities'."

"I received a CV that contained a closely-typed account of the applicant's work for the Bruce Forsyth Appreciation Society."

"An applicant for a PA role spent a good paragraph telling me in detail about a previous job supervising a reptile breeding programme at some local zoo."

4. DO go into (a bit of) detail...

This is my resume

"Most people don't bother with covering letters, but a gem last week read: 'Hi Guys, CV attached, Cheers'."

"We asked people to write a personal statement on the application form showing how they met the specification. One person just wrote 'I can do this job' in big letters."

5. ...but DON'T go on for pages

Typing fast

"The worst CV I received was for an IT contractor role, faxed over by an agency. This was in days when the fax machine printed onto a continuous role of paper. The CV was over 8ft long!" 


6. DON'T attempt to atone for a lack of experience

I'm pretty much a self-starter, so...

"The 50-something would-be retail worker who listed her school swimming certificates and Brownie badges sticks in my memory."

"My favourite was an eager young fellow who, alas, had no work experience. 'However, thanks to the generosity of my parents, I have completed the purchase of my own house,' he wrote. He followed up with neat little bullet points and examples of how he'd displayed certain skills, all containing a reminder that he owned a house. So: 'Organisational skills: arranging a mortgage and completing paperwork on time shows I have great organisational skills. Creativity: decorating my house, which I own, has shown my creative flair. Responsibility: each week I put the bins by the kerbside of the house that I own, showing responsibility and a desire to keep the area clean and tidy.' And so on."

7. DO proofread

English, motherfucker, do you speak it?

"The worst application I saw was written in hillbilly speak: 'When I were quality manager, quality were good'. It was as if some bastard had asked the candidate the CV questions, taken down their answers word for word in pure West Virginian, and not converted it from dialect into standard English. I have no problem at all with people's accents or dialects, but a CV is not the place for expressing your native charm."

"My son-in-law used to work at Waterstones and once received a CV which stated that the applicant had an A-level in 'English lit richer'."

"One poor lady listed her extensive job history in terms of why she left or was sacked from each role, including the classic: 'and I walked out coz they was lyers.'"

8. DO consider how your contact details will appear to others

Surprised face

"I once received a CV written entirely in text-speak, with the memorable email address 'donkeybollox@'."

"My favourite email address so far has been 'lilmisssexy@'." 

"I had a girl apply with ginger hair, who called herself 'gingerpuss@'. Not altogether sure I wanted to know."

9. DON'T be inappropriate

Woman taking off coat

"I used to work in Eastern Europe, where it was usual to attach a photo to your CV. One woman sent in a full-length photo of herself in a transparent dress, wearing no underwear. I also had someone turn up for an interview in a see-through blouse with no bra. As my (female) colleague ushered her out after the interview, she mumbled something about expecting to be interviewed by men!" 

10. And finally... just DON'T

Cat playing with loo roll

"I once received an application written on a piece of toilet paper." 

Is your CV in need of a bit of a facelift? Come to our career clinic for some expert guidance...

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Last updated: over 1 year ago