5 Common CV Mistakes: And How You Can Avoid Making Them

Digital Marketing News

5 Common CV Mistakes To Avoid

common cv mistakes

Your CV has one job. To grab attention. But all too often, we see the same, common CV mistakes. This leads to CVs that fail to stand out, or even worse, fail to include vital information that actively hurts their chances of reaching the interview stage.

Here at herd Digital we’ve seen thousands of digital marketing CVs. And we see the same common digital marketing CV mistakes again and again…

5 Common CV Mistakes: The Short Version

  1. Listing the responsibilities you had in your previous experience. Instead, you should list what you accomplished in your role, and how you grew in your role as time progressed.
  2. Not including numerical data or facts and figures, when making points about your effectiveness in your previous roles.
  3. Perhaps the biggest CV sin and common cv mistake we see is not tailoring. The experience and skills you mention in your CV should be only relevant and relate to the job description and advert you’re applying for.
  4. A personal summary that’s so generic it could be anyone’s. Your personal summary should an attention-grabbing snapshot of your professional career and aspirations.
  5. Not going into specifics in regards to past experience, tools, software… An employer only wants to spend time interviewing candidates who might be right for the role. And you need to provide the relevant information so they know that’s you.

1. Listing Responsibilities – Not Accomplishments

Probably the most common CV mistake we see is candidates who simply list the responsibilities of their job. When this is the exact same information that an employer could gain from a job advert or description. And it doesn’t help you stand out. What you really want to do with your CV is shout about what you accomplished in your role. Let’s look at an example.

Did you: “Manage a team of executives to deliver Facebook Ads campaigns for the agency’s clients”? 

Or did you “Lead a team of executives to deliver successful Facebook Ads campaigns for some of the most senior and important client accounts: One campaign exceeded expected ROIs and led to the expansion of the client account”?

These are two different ways of presenting the same responsibility: running Facebook Ads campaigns for clients. However, the latter goes into detail and lists just how successful they were, and the impact their work had on the client and their own agency.

Another thing employers also want to see is how your role progressed. You should document your progression to show how your skills developed over time, how your role expanded as you became an expert in your role, and that you were trusted with greater and greater responsibility. 

2. Previous experience, without numerical data

Another all too common CV mistake we see are “Previous Experience” sections, that don’t use numerical data and figures to support their points. Because working with data and analytics as much as you do in digital marketing, hiring managers expect to see statistics and figures that show the extent of your effects. 

Take the example from before. We can improve it further by using statistic to support the claims: “I led a team of executives to deliver successful Facebook Ads campaigns for some of the most senior and important client accounts: One campaign exceeded the expected ROI by 140% and led to the client expanding their ad spending by an additional £50,000 a month”.

Compared to the original example, a hiring manager will have much more faith in your ability to do the job for their business, than someone who simply lists the responsibilities of their previous jobs.

3. Not Tailoring Your CV To The Job

Before you apply you should tailor your CV to be specific to the agency or role that you are applying to. Because you want to provide the person reading your CV with the most relevant skills and experience that would make you a perfect fit for this role in particular. As well as to show that you have read and understood the job description.

If you’re applying for a performance marketing agency that is primarily focused on performance, then that’s the area of experience you should focus on. Because if you only speak about your experience with branding KPIs, your CV might get passed over before you even get to the interview stage where you can talk about your performance experience.

4. A Personal Summary That’s Too Generic

Your personal summary should be an attention grabbing snapshot of your professional career. But a common CV mistake we often see is the personal summary not being specific to either the job and even not being specific to your industry. 

If you want to grab attention, avoid generic statements like “I’m a team player”, or “I love to learn new things”. Because while these aren’t bad qualities, they don’t make you stand out as an SEO or Paid Social Executive.

Instead, make your personal summary specific to your industry, or even better, to the job you’re applying for. For example: “I’m passionate about PPC. From my next role I’m really excited to gain more experience in ecommerce and B2C paid media advertising”. 

5. Not Going Into Detail In The Previous Experience

A common CV mistake we see, are CVs that list generic experience, such as “4 years of PPC advertising experience”. When PPC is a huge industry! We would advise breaking down your experience further to give as much relevant information as possible.

Was your PPC advertising experience in paid search or paid social? And what paid search platforms do you have experience with? Google Ads, Bing Ads, Amazon Ads, Google Shopping, Performance Max?

This may look like: “4 years of PPC experience across paid social and paid search ”. Then followed by another bullet point that breaks down this experience further: “This experience includes paid search advertising experience with Google Ads and Bing Ads, as well as paid social experience using Meta/ Facebook Ads Manager and LinkedIn Campaign Manager.”

You want to give the hiring manager the most accurate idea of your area of expertise. After all, you don’t want to waste your time interviewing for a job that you’re not going to get. And you want to give the hiring manager absolute confidence that they should reach out to you.

And To Help Your CV Pass Through Screening Tools

If you’re applying for a position at a large agency, your CV may pass through applicant screening software before it’s ever seen by a real person. Businesses that receive hundreds of applications for a job posting use automation tools like these to filter out CVs that aren’t relevant for the job. 

So breaking down your CV into specific software, skills and platforms like this helps you to include keywords that the screening software will check your CV for. Terms like PPC or paid media advertising can be too broad. Screening software can instead be focused on more specific keywords such as “amazon ads” or “keyword research”.

If you’re looking to improve your CV, you can read our comprehensive guide on CV writing here: complete with digital marketing CV examples and tips that are guaranteed to help you get your next digital marketing job.

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