• Anita Ravishankar

Top 6 common pitfalls to avoid to get your CV shortlisted

Being in HR, over the years I have come across multiple resumes. While some just WOW me, some need serious correction.

The resume is the reflection of yourself, a tool to represent your work. Here are the Top 6 common pitfalls / mistakes to avoid if you want to get your CV shortlisted.

  1. Title & Objective:

  2. The resume title is important as hiring managers get to know the role that you are playing. One can also mention designation instead of role if role and resignation are the same. The ideal way to start a resume is by your name followed by your tile. Please remember, mentioning company names in title is not a good practice because one is recignised by the role they play rather than companies worked at.

  3. Use the right title as the name of your CV to save your resume. if the hiring manager downloads your CV for later review and if the name of your CV is "resume.pdf", you have increased the probability of your CV not being opened/getting lost in the bunch. The ideal name would be "Name_Role_YearsOfExp.extn"

  4. The beauty of the objective is it gives a glimpse of your career goal, skills, behavior traits, and experience. Most importantly it talks about candidates. Hence, It's perfectly okay if a candidate wants to eliminate the summary or objective section if he is not sure of, rather than plagiarising the same and not being able to justify it in the interview.

  5. Usage of English:

  6. Spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, word stuffing are the common checks candidates miss doing. This build a very poor reflection of candidates through their CVs.

  7. A well written CV is the one that can explain using less words. It would be a good practice to try and re-write the CV multiple times with different sentence formations using less words before you arrive at your final version.

  8. Length of the resume:

  9. An HR/hiring manager can spend max 30 seconds to read a resume, so keeping the resume short and crisp helps. This also showcases that resume is well thought off (includes only specifics), focused, concise, and lacks the fluff/clutter as every word mentioned is important. Ideal to keep your resume to a max of 2 pages.

  10. Contact information:

  11. This is a very obvious point but sometimes we don't pay attention to obvious. In my experience, I have seen contact numbers where numbers are missing, contact numbers being different in cover letter and CV, incorrect email ID mentioned, multiple contact numbers, contact details mentioned in the footer of resume (I had to search the resume for contact info :) ) and all of these practices showcase lack of eye for detail and patience of the candidate.

  12. Achievements:

  13. I have seen candidates leaving this section because they have not won any awards. Achievements are not always the awards/certificates that you earn in your career (those are important as well). Achievement can also be an idea that you implemented, any cost-saving measures taken, any figures you want to showcase, any action taken above and beyond your call of duty or any action impacting business profitability.

  14. If you have a work portfolio, mention the links.

  15. Formatting:

  16. Last but not least, formatting is important. Avoid fancy formatting. A well-formatted resume is simple, clean, error-free, and can be opened by any browser through laptop or mobile.

Remember, a resume / CV is a mirror to yourself and your work. Hence, its important to spend quality time in creating it.


All the best.


If you have come across any other pitfalls that you would like others to know and correct, please do feel free to mention the same in comments.

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