5 CV Myths That Can Cost You a Job Offer

4 minute read

If you are looking for a job, the first step will be for you to put together a killer CV. One that really showcases your skills, experience, and abilities in the way that will capture the attention of the recruiters (no matter what sort of competition you are up against). Easier said than done, right? Because once you actually start writing your CV, you will come across plenty rules and guidelines to ensure that your CV has the maximum impact.

However, how many of these rules actually need to be followed? Not many, it turns out… So we’ll debunk five of the most common CV myths that many of you aren’t aware of. And when you’re finished, you’ll have the confidence to create a CV that will capture anyone’s attention.

Myth #1 – Your CV Needs to Be a Certain Length

You’ve probably heard many times that your CV shouldn’t be any longer than a single page. Then you’ll come across the odd piece of advice that suggests that two pages is enough. We say, forget this rule as soon as possible, because it’s useless. What you should really focus on is making your CV as concise and as clear as possible. You should also aim to include information that the charity recruiters will find relevant, instead of including every odd job you have ever held.

“If you’re in an entry level position or recently graduated then, of course your CV will be one page, but if you have years of experience behind you, listing all the relevant job experiences might take up more space than you think, and that’s perfectly fine. In other words, focus on the quality, rather than quantity.” – says Alison Evans, a recruiter at CareersBooster.

Myth #2 – Your CV Should Be All about You

Think about it for a moment. Why does every organisation look for an employee? They’re looking for someone who is going to be a valuable addition to their team, and will contribute to the organisations success. To be blunt, you are the person that they need to help their organisation to thrive. So, instead of focusing on letting them know how great you are, focus on showing them how hiring you would benefit them.

So don’t just make a list of all your responsibilities and duties. Make sure that you include examples of how you have helped your past employers achieve their goals. If you’re a Fundraiser, what ideas did you put in place that helped your organisation receive more donations? Remember that all statements should be backed up with clear evidence.

Myth #3 – You Can Send the Same CV With Every Job Application

After all, who’s going to know, right? Wrong. Because that’s not the attitude that will help you to land your dream job. It’s about sending the best possible CV, one that will help convince the recruiter that you are the right person for the job. That means tweaking your existing CV to fit the profile of the organisation you’re interested in, or even creating a brand new one from scratch.

If your skill set is big enough, you may be able to apply for different positions for a number of different organisations. For example, if you applying for a volunteer coordinator role, create a CV that it reflects your background in that particular area in the charity sector. But, if you are applying for the position of a translator, because you speak several languages, you should focus on your experience in writing and translation.

Myth #4 – Employment Gaps Look Bad

Having an employment history without any gaps is always ideal but not necessarily realistic. So you have had any gaps, don’t worry, because they are more common nowadays than ever. Given the fact that our personal circumstances are always changing, many people go on for months, before they find the role that’s right for them. If you are young, your employment history is bound to contain some gaps, and that is something that the recruiters have come to expect from applicants.

Also, remember that health issues, pregnancy, or taking a leave of absence will inevitably create gaps in your employment history, but they are a part of life. Even the recruiters know that. You can also make gaps work for you, if you are clever enough. Let them know how motivated and hungry you are for new challenges and that your time our of work has reenergised you for a fresh, new start.

Myth #5 – Exclude Volunteering Experience from Your CV

In you have an extensive experience in volunteering, make sure to include it in your CV. Volunteering demonstrates your willingness to give back to the community and help others, as well as your drive and passion for bettering yourself, instead of resting on your laurels. These are all qualities companies will be looking for when choosing between candidates.

If you want to break into the charity sector, bear in mind that volunteers are incredibly valued. Demonstrating past volunteering experience is still an opportunity to show that you have played a role within the sector and are familiar with the challenges.


Now that you know which rules of CV writing are a myth, you can finally create a CV that will present you in the best possible light, but also one that will convince the recruiters that their company will be better off if they hire you. The right fit is out there, so keep on trying.

Eva Wislow

Eva Wislow is a career advisor and writer from Pittsburgh. She loves helping people to achieve job satisfaction and success at work. Eva finds her inspiration in helping others find their true calling.

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