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Common mistakes: Proof your CV

Make sure your CV does not contain any of these mistakes, which could result in the rejection of your application.


Emphasizing key information

Your sections aren’t in the right order.

The order of your sections depends on your history and career objectives. Place them in the order of most to least relevant. For example, if your education is a strong point for you as a candidate, place it at the top of your CV, not at the bottom.

Can the recruiter easily find key information (e.g. your specialization, achievements related to the position, education or important professional experience)?

  • Put these things in the first half of your CV, or at the top of a list (duties).
  • If needed, put them in bold font to emphasize their importance.


Your profile is just a summary of what the employer is asking for.

It should not simply be a general summary of your professional experience.

  • Just starting your career and lacking any real experience to highlight? Then you should not include a profile.
  • It would be advisable for master’s and specialized graduate diploma students to write a profile highlighting their knowledge and experiences.
  • Having trouble writing your profile? See the page Modify your master CV to fit your objectives.

You’re overqualified for the position.

If so, contact the resource person for your program.



Your education does not follow a clear path because you’ve changed directions several times. There is no logical connection between your degrees, which may seem unrelated to the position to which you are applying.

There may be solutions. Contact a resource person at Career Management Services.


Professional experience

There was a period of time during which you were inactive.

If you can explain, for example, if you were travelling, acting as an informal caregiver, caring for and educating your children, or working on a personal project, mention this in your cover letter.

You have had several jobs for very short periods of time.

If these are mandates, temporary positions or internships, make sure they are clearly indicated as such.

Some of your work history is overdeveloped.

Emphasize your experiences that are most related to the position. Pare down the rest to the bare minimum, or delete them. Just be careful not to create periods of inactivity on your CV.


Computer skills

Your knowledge of software programs isn’t properly emphasized.

If having strong knowledge of software programs is a key skill in your area of specialization, make sure to place this information in the first half of your CV (e.g. in business analysis, analytics or intelligence).


Other sections

Your examples are lacking context.

Remember that the information you provide is enhanced when you frame it in a real, concrete context. If possible, explain the context of your activity, for example, “Took part in the tax clinic held by HEC Montréal’s Société des relations d’affaires.”

Your examples don’t make you look great.

Get rid of any content that doesn’t have an impact, especially if it was a one-off experience.


Contact info and languages

Is your name in the top left corner? Is it the same size as the other parts of your CV?

A person’s name or origin should never affect an employer’s decision, so do not emphasize these things.


Newcomers: explain any parts of your experience that did not take place in Quebec

You were educated in another country. Have you obtained a comparative evaluation for studies done outside Québec?

Employers need to know the equivalent Québec diplomas in order to properly evaluate your application.

Do the titles of jobs held abroad mean anything to Quebec employers?

Each society has specific language it uses to describe the world of work. You can learn more by reading job offers, management reviews and publications, LinkedIn profiles of professionals in your target field, HEC’s Careers in Management section, or other related materials.


What you project

There are parts of your CV that are eccentric or unhelpful.

Change your email address or anything in your list of hobbies that paint you as someone who is not grounded in reality, who isn’t serious or who lacks judgement.

Your CV does not look sharp enough.

Your CV is telling of what type of employee you are. Demonstrate your professionalism by making sure the layout of your CV is neat and tidy. Make sure that there are no language mistakes and that your cover letter is addressed to the right person at the right company. Be meticulous.

Your CV is far too long.

Recruiters have to read a lot of CVs and cover letters. Make things easier for them. They will appreciate it. If your CV is too long and your recruiter loses interest in it, he or she may end up not reading the entire document.

Find out more

Career Management Services offers several individual services and workshops to help you submit a winning application to employers.

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