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Addressing CV Red Flags

Addressing CV Red Flags

December 12, 2022

We all like to think that our CV is a shining example of achievement and a reflection of our best work. But sometimes, there are red flags that can pop up on a CV and end up sending the wrong message to potential employers. It’s important to take a closer look at your CV and address any red flags you might find before submitting it for job applications.

Red flags on a CV could include outdated information, gaps in your CV, lots of short-term roles, or too much detail in certain sections. The key is to tailor your CV and make sure it’s up-to-date, relevant, and focused on the job you are applying for. In this guide, we’ll explore the most common CV red flags and how you can adequately address them.

The most common CV red flags

Recruiters and hiring managers are trained to look for these common CV red flags:

  • Lack of focus or an inconsistent career path
  • Employment gaps
  • Mistakes and poor formatting
  • Discrepancies between CV and cover letter
  • Multiple short employment periods

Addressing CV Red Flags CMD Recruitment

Lack of focus or an inconsistent career path

When employers scan your CV, they are looking for evidence of a clear and consistent career path. If it’s unclear what your goals are or why you have switched jobs often, they may view this as a red flag. To address this issue, make sure to provide the context in each job entry and use the skills summary section to demonstrate how all of it fits together. You can also mention your wider career goals.

Employment gaps

Employment gaps can be a red flag for employers. To address this issue, you should include information about what you did during this time to develop your skills. If you were taking a gap year, for example, mention your travels and what experience you gained during this time. If you were unemployed, explain the steps you took to stay relevant and productive, such as courses or volunteering.

Discrepancies between CV and cover letter

If your CV and the content of your cover letter don’t match up, it will be a red flag for employers. Make sure that you align the abilities and experiences listed in your CV with what is mentioned in your cover letter to avoid any discrepancies. 

A common telltale sign to employers that you are stretching the truth is when the dates on your CV and cover letter don’t match up. For example, if your CV says you’ve only been promoted to manager level in the past few months, don’t say that you have extensive experience in management. Unless, of course, you can demonstrate this through other areas of your experience. In short, don’t lie, but do highlight the very best you have to offer.

Addressing CV Red Flags CMD Recruitment

Mistakes and poor formatting

It’s essential that your CV is free of spelling and grammar mistakes and formatted correctly. If either of these elements is absent, it will send a negative message to employers. To make sure your CV is error-free, always ask someone you trust to read over it. You can also use free online tools like Grammarly to check spelling and grammar. To keep the formatting consistent, save your CV as a PDF and it will always look the same.

Multiple short employment periods

Having multiple short-term jobs can make it look like you can’t hold down a job. But there are many reasons that individuals might jump between jobs in quick succession. If this sounds like you, then make sure to explain why in your CV. 

For example, maybe you have taken a chance on smaller companies that are less financially secure, and this has led to multiple redundancies. Or perhaps you are attempting to change careers and struggling to find the right path that will take you there. You should also highlight any achievements you made while working in these roles and mention any transferable skills that you developed so that employers can see how they’d be of use in their company.


By addressing potential red flags on your CV and using the tips provided above, you can show employers that you’re a reliable and trustworthy applicant. Even small changes can make a big difference in the eyes of employers, so it’s worth taking the time to review your CV and make sure that it is free of any red flags. 

And if you do have any red flags, be prepared to talk about them openly during the job interview process. Doing this will help you stand out from other applicants and give you the best chance of success. Remember that honesty is essential when it comes to applying for jobs. You don’t have to be perfect, but you do have to be open about any potential red flags to help clear up any confusion.

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