I’ve written plenty of times about what SHOULD be included in your CV but what about the things that SHOULDN’T? Here are my top ten things that have no place on your CV.
- Too many personal details. Yes, you need to include contact details so that the employer can reach you but you don’t need to say anything about your date of birth, your marital status or whether you have children. These can all lead to discrimination (which is illegal) so leave them out.
- A dodgy e-mail address. If your e-mail address doesn’t show you in a professional light then get a new one, even if you only use it for your job search. You can keep email@example.com for your friends but, while you’re looking for a new job, you can’t really go wrong with firstname.lastname@example.org (or similar). And while we’re on the subject of e-mail addresses, don’t put your current work address on your CV – most employers monitor staff e-mails so this is a particularly risky move to make.
- Irrelevant work experience. I’m always talking about the importance of tailoring your CV to the role you’re applying for. That means, if you were a paper boy when you were 15 but now you’re 30 and you work in IT, it’s time to ditch it from your CV.
- Too much text. It’s much better to have a CV that shows a lot of white space. Most employers spend only a few seconds looking at your CV in the first instance and, if they’re confronted with huge blocks of text in a small font with narrow margins, chances are your CV will go in the ‘no’ pile. Better to use a larger font, with regular margins, and let it run to an extra page than try to cram everything onto two pages.
- References. I see a lot of CVs which have details of references at the bottom, or which say ‘references available upon request’. Both are just wasting space on your CV which you could be using to sell yourself to the employer. Employers know and expect that you’ll have references lined up and will ask for their details when they offer you the job.
- Grammar and spelling mistakes. This one’s my biggest bugbear and mistakes that could easily have been avoided are likely to send your CV straight to the bin. You should ALWAYS check your CV before you send it out. Don’t rely on spellcheck either so, ideally, let someone else look at it too.
- Unprofessional fonts. I wrote a blog about this recently – you want the employer to be able to read your CV clearly so, stick to Calibri or some other standard sans-serif font and avoid Times New Roman (old-fashioned) and anything too fancy and flowery. You want to stand out for the right reasons remember.
- Your reason for leaving previous jobs. Your CV is your chance to shine – you want to portray a positive image not fill the pages with irrelevant information. If an employer wants to know why you left one of your jobs he (or she) will ask you at interview.
- Salary details. I’ve seen CVs which have included every salary for every job the candidate has ever held and it’s just not necessary (and could actually harm your chances of getting paid what you’re worth). As I’ve already said, your CV is your opportunity to prove that you’re the right person for the job. If you can show that, on your CV and at interview, you could be offered a salary much higher than you expected.
- Lies, untruths and inconsistencies. These days, it’s far too easy for employers to check what you’ve written on your CV before you’re even invited for interview. And, if you get offered the job because of something that is factually incorrect (in other words, a lie!) you’ll probably get caught out when your new employer requests a reference. If you don’t match the skillset that the employer is looking for, don’t feel that you must lie to get a chance of an interview. In a recent blog I wrote about how you should still apply for a role even if you don’t have all the qualifications or skills that the employer is looking for. Honestly really is the best policy.
If you want to know more about what you should include in your CV you can download a copy of my e-book ‘5 Steps to Job Search Success’ here.