As somebody who has worked in the recruitment industry for some time now (I won’t say how long as it could give my age away), I have seen my fair share of CVs. Throughout my career, people have always asked for advice on their CV. How long should it be? Should I add more detail? Should I take details out? Should I list my whole work history?
There is plenty of advice out there for you on how to write a CV and what should be included. On the flip side, you should also know about CV ‘no-no’s’. Things that could well hinder your chances of getting the job rather than increasing them.
I’ve compiled a list of 8 CV Faux Pas that are best left out if you want your CV to stand out for all the right reasons.
1. Your Photo
Unless you are applying to be the next contestant on the Bachelor(ette) or going to a modelling casting call, a photo on a CV is not necessary. It takes up space that could be used for essential information. They also make the file larger – which often get blocked by spam and safety filters. If a potential employer does want to see what you look like, they can always view your LinkedIn profile… which incidentally SHOULD have a photo on it.
2. Tables, Graphs and Graphics
If you are going for a graphic design, creative type role – ignore this point. If not, graphics, pictures, tables and graphs can look great and help get more information on a page; but often distract the reader from the all-important content. These elements can make your CV look great, but as with a photo, it takes up a lot of space and creates a big data file. There is also a very strong possibility that once emailed or submitted into a database the formatting won’t work and your information will appear jumbled on different devices and software.
3. Every job you’ve ever had
Imagine you’re applying for your dream job as an exec in a multinational software company, does the Friday night shift you worked behind the bar while at University really have any relevance? Sometimes your past jobs just don’t bear any significance to your current career. If it’s not relevant – leave it out or keep the details short and sweet.
4. Keep it in Word format
The job of a recruiter is to help individuals find jobs. This means we send your CV to prospective employers. As part of our process, we add our company details, tidy up any formatting or spelling errors and may remove your photo (refer to point 1). We can’t do this with a PDF file. If you’re looking to work with a recruiter in your job search, this tip will help us get your details in front of an employer faster.
5. Spelling and grammatical errors
It is essential to make sure your CV is error free and easy to understand. This may sound obvious, but believe me, people still forget to proofread, proofread and proofread again. For peace of mind, give your CV to a friend or family member to double check.
6. Inaccurate dates
This is a very common mistake. I see a lot of CVs with dates that don’t make any sense. Make sure you triple check your start and end dates. If you have worked two roles at the same time, let the reader know. It can be very confusing otherwise.
7. ALL of your hobbies
There is nothing wrong with listing some hobbies, but if your list takes up half a page you’ve probably overdone it! Imagine reading a CV that highlights everything you like to do… When are you going to have time to do your job? For space reasons, I suggest sticking to hobbies that relate to your career or ones that show transferable skills like leadership.
8. The 2 page CV
A lot of advice out there states that you should keep your CV to 2 pages. This is easy if you’ve had two or three jobs. However, for someone with 15+ years’ experience, this just isn’t enough room to highlight your experience. On the other hand don’t send an 18-page document. 4 pages is fine.
Creating a good first impression is vital. It significantly improves your chances of getting an interview (and ultimately the job), so don’t hinder yourself by forgetting about these easy to correct CV Faux Pas.