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4 mistakes to avoid when it comes to your CV

Paystream News

Michelle Derungs

Friday 10th Oct, 2014

As an umbrella or limited company contractor, your CV will be used far more often than that of a permanent employee. Therefore, it is essential that you not only refresh your CV frequently, but you avoid making simple mistakes that could stand in the way of you and that next potential contract.

Here, we explain the common mistakes and provide hints and tips on how to ensure you don't fall foul of them.

Spelling mistakes

An obvious point yes, but nevertheless it is surprising how often this can pop up on a C.V. A recent survey conducted by CareerBuilder in 2013, found that "58% of resumes have typos" in them. One simple typo in your CV can put a recruiter or potential employer off.

Quick Fix: Have someone you know read through your CV. A fresh pair of eyes are far more likely to spot simple spelling errors than those that have been staring at the page for a few hours. Another useful method can be to simply change the font or read from the bottom of your CV and work your way up. Your eyes can get used to reading a page one way so by changing this up, you will be more likely to spot mistakes.


Waffling on your CV is a big mistake. As a rule of thumb your CV shouldn't be longer than 2 A4 pages. Think quality not quantity. Every 10 years of work experience should equate to an additional page. Contractor UK point out that "On average, readers absorb 60% of the first page, 40% of the second, and the third is generally a waste - this has been proven time and time again".

Quick Fix: Don't include everything! Take into account the role you're applying for and highlight all your relevant skills and experience that make you the ideal candidate for the role. As an umbrella or limited company contractor you are likely to have a long list of previous roles. A quick fix around this is to create a "previous employment" document which you can refer to in your cover letter.

Badly formatted CV

In this case content is far more important than the creative layout of your CV so keep it simple and easy to read. If your CV is difficult to read it is more likely to be disregarded.

Quick Fix: Stick to standardised fonts such as Arial and Times New Roman and make sure you don't go any larger than a font size 12.

Meaningless introductions

Does your introduction start with "dedicated, hardworking individual seeking a challenging new role etc..." Stop. Keep your introduction to the point, you need to spell out your skills and experience so that you catch your potential employers eye.

Quick Fix: Instead tailor your introduction to the role you are applying for e.g. 'Senior Software Engineer with 5 years' experience working in the financial sector'.

Alongside these common mistakes, as a limited or umbrella company contractor, you should always ensure you:

  • Don't provide personal information, including age, place of birth, weight, height and martial status.
  • Don't discuss your hobbies unless they relate to the role in some way.
  • Don't include your required rate. This will normally never fall in your favour, if it's too high you can put off potential employers and if it's too low it makes negotiating a high pay rate tricky.
  • Always leave pay rate negotiation until after you have secured your contract.

Remember, as a limited or umbrella company contractor, it is crucial that you avoid making small mistakes that could lend to you losing future contracts. Always try to continually update your skills and previous experience after every contract. This will keep you ahead of your fellow competition and increase your odds of winning those future contracts.

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