Writing your CV for the first time? Updating a long-unused existing one? Maybe you’re trying to spice it up to stand out from the crowd.
You know your CV is usually the first impression you make on a potential employer or recruiter. This is your chance to show off what you can do, to convince the reader that you’re worthy of an interview.
Yet you’re not getting a foot in the door and your CV isn’t being taken seriously. Could you be making some serious CV faux pas? Sure, you know you shouldn’t include your date of birth or how many kids you have, but what about links to your social media profiles? They’re important, right?
Give your CV a fighting chance of being read by recruiters. Here are 10 things to remove from your CV right now. Some obvious and some you might not have thought about.
In the UK it’s not standard practice to add a photo to a CV unless you’re in a role that demands it, such as actor or model. Recruiters will often bin CVs with photos to avoid accusations of discrimination. Not only that, but according to one survey, 98% of recruiters would take you less seriously if you include a photo.
You know it’s a CV. The reader knows it’s a CV. Why waste space by reiterating the point? Putting your first and last name at the CV will do just fine. If you want to make your name stand out then go ahead. Use colour, a larger font size or different font to the rest of the document. Just don’t go overboard.
Yes, you should try to add a hint of personality, but there’s really no need to include a stack of personal detail. Not only does it clutter up your CV but it’s irrelevant thanks to the raft of anti-discrimination legislation. This means specifics such as date of birth, age, gender, marital status or number of children should all be removed. This information shouldn’t matter to an employer or whether you are capable of doing the job.
Refrain from using negatives on your CV. This includes highlighting negative facts or using words such as: awful, mistake, or fault. Try to re-frame information in a positive light. If you completed a degree but got a bad grade, just leave the result out. Unless you’re in a specific sector such as legal or medical, it’s not always a requirement to add all your grades anyway. In fact, write as positively as you can at all times!
I’ve seen many client CVs with personal ‘fun’ email addresses. Think [email protected] or [email protected] (yes I’ve seen variants of these addresses, but to protect the innocent I’ve changed them slightly). While great for keeping in touch with your Facebook buddies you should use a professional sounding email for your CV. Free email addresses are easy to come by; pick one and use your given name, it’s not rocket science.
There are valid reasons to include a link to particular social media profiles and some believe that links should always be included. If you’re applying for a job in social media or digital marketing for example it makes sense to add this information. Plus it’s becoming common practice to add a LinkedIn URL in contact details; make sure your profile is up to date and active first though. My recommendation is unless your profile is professional or of value to your career, then keep the likes of Facebook and Twitter well away from your CV.
Your CV needs to show what you’ve achieved and how you can help a prospective employer. By all means make your skills and achievements look good. Just don’t lie about it. Don’t take credit for things you didn’t do. Don't over-embellish your skills, tell fibs about the jobs you've done or suggest you've got a qualification when you haven't. See this article for shocking statistics on how many candidates still lie on their CV and how it can damage your job chances.
Some job ads ask you to note your salary expectations. Even so, you need to remove salaries from your CV. You’re putting yourself at risk of salary mismatch with a potential employer and not being shortlisted. The reader may view you as too expensive or too junior based on previous salaries. You also jeopardise remuneration negotiations and weaken your position if offered the job as the employer already knows your salary expectations.
Unnecessary to include and takes up valuable space. This can be discussed at interview if the recruiter is interested in why you’ve left a job. Many people move on for positive reasons. However, you risk coming across as negative if you word things in a particular way. Best not take that chance so remove this distracting detail from your CV.
Unless a job advert requests this information upfront, you can remove referee details from your CV. This prevents your referees being hassled by time wasters. Also, the phrase ‘references available on request’ is outdated. Don’t waste valuable space on your CV stating something people already know. It’s expected that you’ll furnish an employer with referee details at some point during the recruitment process but at this stage it’s usually not a requirement.
Your CV will never be perfect but avoiding these simple mistakes is a must if you want to be taken seriously. If you’re looking for a job, take 10 minutes now to check that your CV isn’t committing these CV crimes.
Sarah is an experienced CV writer at Blue Fox CVs who knows how difficult it can be to word and format a CV. She’s written 700+ CVs for clients at all stages of their career and has seen almost every mistake possible. If you’re not confident in writing your CV then get in touch and see how Sarah can help.
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