4 Graduate CV Mistakes That Could Be Very Costly

Published on: 30 Nov 2020

Four CV mistakes

The current graduate job market is undoubtedly tough. Prospective opportunities are highly competitive as they are attracting a huge number of applicants. With many employers making their initial assessment of a potential candidate through their CV, the need for graduates to get this first hurdle right is imperative. For graduates this means not only thoughtfully tailoring their CV to meet the job specification of the role they are applying to but also eradicating any mistakes that could prove to be costly.

So, to help potential candidates get a few steps closer to landing their dream graduate role, here are four costly CV mistakes that everyone should avoid.

Mistake One: Not Providing a Contact Number

CEO’s, head of departments, managing directors, line or hiring managers are usually the individuals who are actively involved in the hiring process. They also happen to very busy, working under hectic schedules and tight deadlines. With their own time limited, they want to make sure they are inviting the most suitable candidates for interviews. For instance, if they see something on a candidate’s CV that intrigues them but need more information to justify an interview invitation, they will call the person directly to gain more clarification.

Their preference to call is not to be difficult but instead stems from an urgency to deal with matters straightaway and remove the time lag in response that email often encompasses. From a candidate’s perspective, any phone call received should be seen as a fantastic opportunity to expand upon their credentials and express enthusiasm for the role.

Mistake Two: Not Arranging Sections in Chronological Order

Applicants tend to spend a long time perfecting different sections of their CV, ensuring they provide sufficient detail on every relevant employment experience as well as academic achievement. Rightfully so, as they are the two most important indicators in relation to a candidate’s viability for the job role. In saying this though, employers can only assess how fresh some transferable skills really are by their most recent experiences. This therefore entails graduates correctly ordering their CV with the most recent activity in each respective section first.

Robby Du Toit of sellhousefast.uk commented: “As a growing and ambitious company, I want to hire the very best talent. Whenever I look at a graduate CV, immediately I want to find out the applicants most recent experiences to understand how competent they already are. Whilst a lot of individuals make life easy for me by structuring their CV appropriately, many don’t."

"Numerous times I have seen applicants just simply listing their employment history and educational qualifications without providing an indication of when or how long they had been at the respective company or academic institution in question. No matter how outstanding a candidate attributes maybe, if they can’t be bothered to arrange their CV correctly, it only exhibits to me their lack of organisation and effort.”

Mistake Three: Assuming Every Experience Counts

Most work based experiences provide individuals with some scope to gain as well as enhance upon a mix of transferable skills. It’s a notion that many graduates subscribe to, often listing every employment experience they ever had, in the belief that it will only add value to their CV. What many applicants don’t realise is that by doing so, they are jeopardising their chances.

Whilst paper round and shelf stacking jobs from teenage years may seem commendable, they are not going to suffice. Employers want applicants to carefully select the experiences which most exemplify the skills and traits required for the role. Candidates should therefore make every effort to carefully read the job specification and then select the most appropriate employment experiences in line with the requirements. If candidates are lacking a sufficient employment history then they should aim to highlight relevant qualifications, courses, projects, hobbies and voluntary experiences.

Mistake Four: Mentioning A Lack of ‘Interests’ and ‘Hobbies’

The ‘interests’ section of the CV may feel like an afterthought but it allows employers to paint a better overall picture of the applicant by envisioning the qualities that make up their character outside of work. It’s thus a very important aspect of the graduate CV and one that should be paid greater attention to.

Luke Baron, a Graduate Recruitment Consultant from Leeds, commented: “Every company seemingly wants suitably qualified and experienced candidates but what’s more apparent now is those who can also comfortably transition into the business without any trouble or hesitation. Considering employers have a limited frame to judge a candidate’s personality type from their CV, applicants should hence make life easier from them by making every effort to include their interests and hobbies.

For graduates who struggle to identify their interests and hobbies, I always advise them to reflect on their time at university. If they read books and continue to do so around their degree subject, then that counts as a fascinating hobby. Sport is also another overlooked interest, if they were a part of a sports team at university and still actively participate, then that’s an excellent inclusion. Sporting activities indirectly embody a host of valuable transferable skills that employers are always seeking such as teamwork and communication.”


With so much competition, graduate jobseekers need to make every effort to be the ideal candidate. This fundamentally means eradicating any mistakes from their CV to give themselves the chance of making the best possible first impression. Avoiding these four costly CV mistakes should do just that.


Guest post from Sellhousefast.uk