(Thanks to our friends at WhiteHorseDigital for this guest post)

Employers decide whether they like a CV or not in less than 60 seconds, new research reveals.

The recent findings from New College of the Humanities (NCH) were discovered after researchers interviewed over 860 recruiters – from 2,000 people – of which 20% said they discard a resumé before getting to the end.


For recent graduates and avid jobseekers, toiling away for months on end to mould a golden CV, some of the findings may point you in the right direction. And if you’re having no luck landing a job – these may be the reasons why.

Top ten bosses’ bugbears to avoid

  1. Typos and grammatical errors

Not knowing the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ or ‘there’ and ‘their’ lands you first place in an employer’s ‘nope’ bin.

  1. Overly casual tone

Signing off with ‘cheers’, or including phrases such as ‘you guys’ in a CV leaves a sour taste in the mouths of recruiters. Keep it professional.

  1. Use of jargon and clichés

You can almost hear the audible sigh of employers around the country as they read another candidate can ‘think outside the box’, and believe ‘perfectionism’ is a weakness. Among the most hated CV phrases are ‘can work independently’, ‘hard worker’ and ‘work well under pressure’. Be specific and articulate what it is exactly that makes you right for the job.

  1. A CV more than two pages in length

shutterstock_166288028This isn’t always possible; however, if self-promotional fluff is kept to a minimum with the important details clearly laid out first, you’ve more chance in standing out within that miniscule 60-second window.



  1. Snazzy borders and backgrounds

Simplicity is key – let your achievements and experiences do the talking.

  1. Writing in the third person

Always make sure you refer to yourself as ‘I’.

  1. Inclusion of clip art or emojis

Four in ten recruiters hate emojis on a CV, so save the amusing smiley faces for your text messages.

  1. The use of cringe-worthy quotes

Whatever Richard Branson has said in the past about success should stay firmly within motivational sites. Filling up your CV with them says nothing about yourself – which is its whole purpose in the first place.

  1. Unprofessional email address

That weird nickname you had in the ‘90s, your favourite Marvel character or an inside joke with a friend. We’ve all got ‘that’ email address – but when an employer sees something coming through from sexyostrich @ hotmail dot com – that CV is going straight into the SPAM folder. Set up a new one for reaching out professionally.

  1. Unconventional font

Sorry, Comic Sans. It’s not me, it’s you. With a prospective employer’s CV attention spans at an incredible low – you need a clean, legible, professional-looking font. The font you choose on the role at hand: while serif fonts (Times New Roman) may once have looked respectable, authoritative and reliable, sans-serif fonts (Arial) give a clean, modern, universal look to a CV.

And don’t forget Facebook…

Of course, it’s not just on paper you need to manage your first impression. Sites such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor (not to mention your own personal social media) can all be seen by potential employers.

According to Information Technology Specialist Recruiter Capita IT Resourcing, 38% say no to candidates with inappropriate photos on social media – so clean up your online footprint before you tackle a job-hunt.

Are you guilty of these employer CV gripes? Is impressing recruiters getting harder?