Resumes & Cover letters

Examples of Poor CVs and How to Improve Them (With Guidelines for Creating a Strong CV)

Your CV serves as a prospective employer’s initial impression of you. Recruiters utilize it to discover more about you and your experience, qualifications, and talents before meeting you. To be invited to a job interview, your CV must be well-written, understandable, and visually appealing.

In this post, we give you extra advice on how to maximize your CV to wow the interviewer and common poor CV examples to avoid.

What makes a poor CV?

A poor CV fails to emphasize the skills that are pertinent to the position you’re seeking and presents your experience inaccurately. A prospective employer or recruiter may decide to move on to a different candidate on the list when they see a poor CV and believe you need to improve your attention to detail. Poor CVs may be challenging to read, irrelevant, or otherwise divert the reader’s attention away from your skills and credentials.

A poor CV, or curriculum vitae, fails to effectively communicate an individual’s qualifications, experience, and suitability for a job. It may contain various shortcomings and mistakes that can deter employers from considering the candidate. Here are some common factors that contribute to a poor CV:

  1. Lack of Clarity: A poorly structured CV with unclear headings and disorganized content can make it difficult for employers to quickly grasp the candidate’s qualifications and experience.
  2. Typos and Grammar Errors: Spelling and grammatical mistakes reflect poorly on the candidate’s attention to detail. Such errors can give the impression of carelessness and lack of professionalism.
  3. Excessive Length: CVs that are too long or contain irrelevant details can overwhelm employers. A poor CV should be concise, focusing on relevant information and avoiding unnecessary details.
  4. Inadequate Content: Failing to include key information, such as work experience, educational background, and relevant skills, can make the CV incomplete and uninformative.
  5. Lack of Specifics: A poor CV often lacks specific examples of achievements, responsibilities, and accomplishments in previous roles. Vague or general statements do not demonstrate the candidate’s qualifications effectively.
  6. Irrelevant Information: Including unrelated personal information, hobbies, or extraneous details can distract from the essential content of the CV and may be perceived as unprofessional.
  7. Poor Formatting: Inconsistent formatting, unusual fonts, excessive use of bold or italics, and overcrowded text can make the CV difficult to read and visually unappealing.
  8. Overuse of Jargon: Overloading the CV with industry-specific jargon or acronyms can be alienating to employers who may not be familiar with those terms.
  9. Focusing on Job Duties, Not Achievements: A poor CV may list job responsibilities without highlighting accomplishments and impact. It’s crucial to demonstrate how the candidate’s actions made a positive difference in their previous roles.
  10. Missing Contact Information: Neglecting to include up-to-date contact information is a fundamental mistake. Employers need an easy way to reach out to candidates.
  11. Failure to Tailor: Using a one-size-fits-all CV for all job applications rather than customizing it for each specific position can make the CV less relevant to employers’ needs.
  12. Unprofessional Email Address: An unprofessional or outdated email address can give a negative impression. Candidates should use a professional email address for job applications.
  13. Inconsistent Dates: Confusing or inconsistent date formats, such as mixing month-year and day-month-year, can create confusion and hinder the understanding of the candidate’s work history.
  14. Failure to Include Keywords: Neglecting to include industry-specific keywords relevant to the job can reduce the chances of the CV being selected by applicant tracking systems (ATS).
  15. Missing Contact Information: Neglecting to include up-to-date contact information is a fundamental mistake. Employers need an easy way to reach out to candidates.

In summary, a poor CV fails to effectively represent the candidate’s qualifications, is poorly structured, contains errors, or includes irrelevant information. To create a strong CV, candidates should focus on clarity, relevance, and professionalism, ensuring that their document effectively showcases their qualifications and experience.

Examples of poor CVs

Below are a few samples of poor CVs and a few reasons why a CV may not be appropriate for the job:

Reading difficulty

The recruiter will have a difficult time reading through your CV and locating essential information if it is difficult to read. It’s challenging to determine your qualifications if your CV’s writing is of bad quality. Long sentences that are overstuffed with complexity and do not captivate the recruiter are an example of bad readability.

Confusing format

Typically, an excellent CV is well-structured and appealingly conveys information. Many job seekers who want their resumes to stand out make the error of selecting distracting fonts and cramming excessive content into a single page. The document could feel crammed as a result. Ensure to provide lots of white space between each of your CV’s parts to prevent this and to make it simpler to read and find more information.

Poor presentation

You can have a better chance of establishing a favorable first impression on the employer if your CV is well-designed. To prevent ink smudges or stains, print your CV on white paper and keep it safe if you’re providing a physical copy. Additionally, it’s critical to prevent the paper from tearing, for instance, when using public transit. The goal is to ensure that your vital traits, like presentation skills and professionalism, are highlighted in the CV and that it shows you in the best possible light.

Inappropriate email address

It might not be a good idea to provide an inappropriate email address on your resume, particularly if you’re seeking a high-level position or a job at a big company. Consequently, refrain from utilizing nicknames and amusing email addresses. Consider replacing it with a new one that only includes your name and last name, or a combination of those. A┬ácandidate with the name Peter Adam, for instance, might use or as their email address.

Using one CV for several jobs

Another error that many job seekers commit is creating a single version of their resume and sending it to numerous employers. Generally speaking, it’s a smart alternative to tailor your CV to the position you’re looking for. You can do this by selecting keywords from the position description and incorporating them into your credentials and skill descriptions. The recruiter will understand that you are dedicated to obtaining that position and that you have spent the time to get ready for the hiring process in this manner.

Poor grammar and spelling

A minor error can happen to everyone, but presenting a poor CV with bad grammar or spelling may not make an impression on the recruiter. Ensure your work is error-free by using a free web grammar checker. The program can assess your writing style and make helpful modifications to help you polish the information on your CV.

Irrelevant expertise or experience

Many candidates who struggle to include a skills segment on their CV tend to select unrelated or broad skills. Typically, a poor skills section looks like this:


  • Basic knowledge of computers
  • Communication
  • Visual arts

Include more sophisticated or relevant talents in your list to ensure that you don’t make this error. Additionally, you should couple each talent with a tool in which you are an expert. For instance:


  • Making and managing content with the aid of digital editing software
  • Employing team management software to oversee a group of independent contractors
  • Basic HTML and CSS coding

Keyword overuse

Although employing too many of them is not advised, extracting crucial keywords from the position description is an excellent way to get past applicant tracking systems (ATS). Use keywords sparingly and think about putting each on your CV just once. By doing this, you may organize the document while still demonstrating to a prospective employer that you have done your research and are aware of their criteria.

Too long

Generally, a basic CV is one to two pages in length. Keep the substance of your CV brief to ensure that you adhere to this length. Keep in mind that most employers only have a short amount of time to review your CV, so they must be able to find the pertinent information in that time.

How to improve a poor CV to win the recruiter over

Below are some helpful suggestions to assist you in wowing the prospective employer or recruiter and improve your chances of being invited to a job interview if you believe that your CV or a few of its components require fixing:

1. Pay attention to your strengths

Consider putting your natural qualities in the spotlight to make sure your CV accurately represents your skills and certifications. If you’re unsure, you can think about establishing a list of the activities or jobs you’ve always enjoyed doing and then examining them. For instance, interpersonal and communication skills can be some of your strong points if you enjoy dealing with people and excel in customer service tasks. Similarly to this, if you love working independently online, one of your strengths can be your ability to do it with minimal to no direction.

2. Complement responsibilities with achievements

When writing your job experience section, make the most of it by emphasizing your achievements in the workplace. Consider including a related job accomplishment next to each duty you describe, for instance:

Virtual branch manager, So Stylish Virtual Inc.

  • Taking care of and expanding the business’s online network, which saw a 60% rise in followers in the first year.
  • Creating and implementing advertising initiatives that assisted the business in doubling its sales in November 2021.
  • Creating user experiences that led to a 30% rise in repeat business.

3. Make your CV easier to read

Enhancing readability is a crucial step that can give your CV a more polished appearance. To do that, think about using concise sentences and simple verbs that express your abilities or responsibilities. Separating CV parts can help you avoid including lengthy passages of text in them.

4. Select a straightforward CV template.

When writing your CV, using a tested template will help you save a ton of time and ensure that your qualifications are presented in an orderly and appealing manner. A basic template is often a safer choice, whereas more graphic resumes can be appropriate for creative professions like UX or graphic artists. A straightforward format keeps the recruiter’s attention on what matters: your abilities, successes, and credentials.

5. Adapt your CV to the position.

Making a copy of your CV and adding to it each time you apply for a job is one of the best ways to improve your chances of being seen by companies. Remember that it usually takes a few months or even weeks to change careers or hunt for a new job; this is why the majority of people apply for several available positions at once. A wonderful method to demonstrate respect and present yourself as a competent and determined applicant is to make each application distinctive and pertinent to the particular vacancy.

6. Go over your CV

Checking the CV is a crucial stage that can assist you in making sure it is well-organized and portrays you as a candidate with a lot of experience. To make any final adjustments, you might want to read the paper through many times. You could also ask a friend or member of your family to review your resume and provide an unbiased assessment of its appearance and effectiveness.


You want to make every effort to appear structured and professional when you write your CV. This entails avoiding errors that could reflect poorly on you.

In conclusion, a poorly crafted CV can significantly hinder a candidate’s chances of securing their desired job. It serves as the first impression that potential employers have of the candidate, and a subpar CV can undermine their qualifications and professionalism. To maximize their opportunities and present themselves effectively, job seekers should invest time in creating a well-structured, error-free, and tailored CV that highlights their skills, accomplishments, and relevant experiences. A strong CV can open doors to new opportunities, while a poor one may close them.

Frequently Asked Questions about poor CVs

  • What makes a CV excellent or bad?

What characteristics distinguish a strong CV? excellent organization, with bullet points, brief sentences, and terms that are suited to represent your accomplishments. What is a poor CV? – Unreadable and poorly organized, Too fancy, but with too many ambiguous claims and out-of-date information.

  • What constitutes a poor CV?

A poor CV fails to showcase the skills that are pertinent to the position you’re seeking and presents your experience inaccurately. A prospective employer or recruiter may decide to move on to another candidate on the list when they review a poor CV and believe you need to improve your attention to detail.

  • What are resume red flags?

A long unjustified employment gap between jobs is one of the most prevalent resume red flags. These gaps may cause recruiters to believe that you have had difficulty finding work in the past, which may be an indication of poor performance or another weakness.

  • Can a poor CV be improved or corrected?

Yes, a poor CV can often be improved with some effort and attention to detail. Candidates can review and revise their CVs to address common issues like typos, formatting errors, or a lack of clarity. Additionally, they can seek feedback from mentors, career advisors, or professional CV writers to enhance the document’s content and presentation.

  • How does a poor CV affect a job application?

A poor CV can negatively impact a job application in several ways. It may fail to effectively communicate the candidate’s qualifications, leading employers to overlook their application. It can also create a negative impression of the candidate’s professionalism and attention to detail. Furthermore, a poorly constructed CV may not pass through applicant tracking systems (ATS) used by many employers to filter and screen applications. Therefore, addressing the issue of a poor CV is crucial to improving one’s chances of securing job interviews and offers.

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