North American Association of Sales Engineers

North American Association of Sales Engineers

European Association of Sales Engineers

CV Killers

By the team at

Resume Killers: Remove this information immediately!

Resume killers undo all of your efforts in the shortest time possible. Instead of an invitation to an interview, usually comes a rejection. The problem: Those who do not recognise what the CV killer is and remove it/them, make the same mistakes over and over again. If you want to have a real chance of being accepted, you need to correctly identify and remove these “CV Killers” from your CV. We identify some of the main ones below;

Mistakes are human and bound to happen, especially if you, like most people dont really ever pay any attention to a CV except when looking for a job, which isn’t usually very often – However, they are still a criterion for exclusion from applications.

Anyone who makes a mistake here quickly loses any chance of being invited to a personal interview and thus of getting the job they want. Resume killers are the worst mistakes you can make in your CV.

The reason:

HR professionals have little time to sift through and assess the large number of application documents. At most, there are only a few minutes, sometimes even a few seconds, left for an initial assessment and decision. In other words: Anyone who makes this first impression with a CV killer will be sorted out immediately.

There are also other reasons:

Curriculum vitae killers show a lack of care. Some of the most common CV killers clearly show that you have not prepared and written your documents with the necessary care. The signal to companies: Even with important tasks, this candidate tends to make mistakes. A No Go for every personnel decision.

Curriculum vitae killers demonstrate ignorance. “I didn’t know better” is no explanation for CV killers. In case of mistakes in the CV, you are more likely to demonstrate that you did not inform yourself.

Which of the two points applies is then ultimately irrelevant. In any case, resume killers lead to your application ending up on the P file like a wastepaper basket.

CV killers can still be found in the documents of applicants. If the CV killer is not recognised and removed, the application will not be successful. Instead, the frustration grows because of repeated rejections. To prevent this from happening to you, we show the most common CV killers, which you should remove and correct:

Spelling mistakes

Shortly inattentive or mistyped while writing the resume – spelling mistakes happened quickly. Nevertheless, you are one of the most common resume killers. If a HR professional skims the CV and stumbles across several spelling or grammar mistakes, he or she will most likely save himself or herself a closer reading. Proofread your documents several times and ask others to look for mistakes to avoid this CV killer.

False statements and/or Exaggerations

You want to convince and score points with the best arguments, but false statements and outright lies are an absolute résumé killer. As soon as it becomes apparent that information or points are not correct, the chances of getting a job drop to zero. If you make up qualifications, experience, stations and other details or embellish them far from reality, you will either get an immediate rejection or be dismissed later.

Unimportant information

A full and long CV always looks better? Wrong! Unimportant information is a resume killer. HR professionals want to know what makes you the best person for the position and what you bring to the table to contribute to the company’s success. Irrelevant information only inflates the application unnecessarily, but does not add value. Concentrate on information that is really important to the employer. This is especially true when selecting career stages. The fact that you put up shelves in school or waited tables during your studies does not qualify you for the job of department head. Work experience is good, but must be relevant to the position you are applying for.

Outdated information

The same applies to points in your CV that were so long ago that no one is interested anymore. It does not matter to recruiters which primary school you attended. What matters is the experience and achievements you have made in recent years. The fact that you started school 25 years ago does not qualify you for the job and is a CV killer. The grade point average also loses relevance with the years of employment. Shortly after graduation, it is important, but in later working life it no longer needs to be stated.

Personal data

Name and contact details naturally belong in the document so that your application can be assigned – and to be reachable. However, you should refrain from giving any further personal details. Information about marital status or religion has long since become outdated and counts as one of the life course killers. Such personal details are usually omitted so that they cannot lead to discrimination.

Social Media Profiles

Almost everyone has them, but they only have a place in applications in exceptional cases: social media profiles (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest…) only make sense if they are used professionally. If they contain samples of work (e.g. with photographers), they will be listed. Otherwise they are resume killers. Only professional networks (such as Xing or Linkedin) are not considered to be CV killers if the profiles are well maintained and up-to-date.


Longer gaps that are not explained are a big resume killer. For HR managers, such open periods allow only two conclusions: Either you did nothing at all during this time – not good – or you want to conceal something – even worse.

Long text

The curriculum vitae should provide a short and quick overview of the most important information. This is not the place for long texts and epically formulated sentences. The motto is: short and to the point. Everything else is a resume killer. HR professionals want to get all the information at a glance, not have to read and search for a long time.

Exaggerated key point lists

Keywords are a good way to avoid long blocks of text. However, these should also be used sparingly. Key point lists are used to emphasise and highlight important aspects, they are not a stylistic device for dividing the text.

Incorrect fonts

Those who want to attract attention by choosing a font usually do so in a negative way. Too much experimentation is not appropriate here. It is important that the font is easy to read, looks serious and is not outdated. Good options are, for example, Helvetica or Georgia. If the HR manager can hardly decipher the chosen font, this is an instant CV killer. You should also use the same font throughout your application.

Contentless enumerations

Flexible, resilient, organised, motivated… Such lists are supposed to impress, but are in fact CV killers. The reason: They are meaningless phrases that only become credible and comprehensible through concrete examples. Instead of just listing melodious buzzwords, you should give clear examples. This could be, for example, the percentage increase in turnover or the increase in the number of customers you have provided for. Reasons for changing jobs

The CV is about your experience, qualifications and the benefits you bring to the new company. What your motivation is for a change and why you are applying to this employer should be included in the cover letter or a single letter of motivation. It is a CV killer if you mix up the contents of your application documents and mix them up wildly.

Salary details

Money is always an issue in your job and of course you ideally want to earn more in your new job than you did in your old place of work. Nevertheless, salary details are a resume killer. If it is required in the job advertisement, you can state your salary expectations in the letter of application. If not, the financial aspect will only be discussed and negotiated in a later personal interview.

Lack of structure

An unfortunately common CV killer is the lack of structure. Unclear design, no clear structure and personnel have to search for information instead of being able to get a quick overview. The problem also arises when the CV becomes overloaded because every little side aspect of the professional career needs to be mentioned.

Mass dissemination

If you send one and the same CV to many different employers, this is a guaranteed CV killer. The documents in your application should always be tailored and adapted to the company in question. This is the only way you can respond to the different requirements and show that you are applying to exactly this employer.

Good luck on your job hunt!!!

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