Written by Dave Cullen
As with many things in life, less is more. When it comes to your CV it’s about quality rather than quantity. Producing a high quality and eye-catching CV is a balancing act, on one hand a jobseeker must include enough information to present themselves as a strong candidate, on the other hand, including too much information will likely cause the reader to lose interest. Everybody knows that in most situations, less is more. The last thing you want is to produce a long-winded CV that extends beyond the recommend 2 page limit and is a chore to read. Employers and recruiters have little time and patience to trawl through dense paragraphs of text, extraneous personal information and overly elaborate design layouts. The following is a list of 6 things you should leave off your CV.
Few companies will request an image of you because your looks will have no bearing on your ability to do the job. A personal photo should be omitted unless specifically required; such a need should be clearly stated by the employer within the job description.
Spelling and grammatical mistakes
Ensure that you have proof read your CV prior to emailing it to an employer. If your CV is littered with spelling mistakes and incorrect usage of grammar, it will almost certainly set the wrong tone with the recipient. A poorly written CV is usually associated with carelessness or questionable professionalism. Have a second pair of eyes read through your CV to help find and eliminate errors you may have overlooked.
Interests and hobbies
Many jobseekers make the mistake of including superfluous background information about themselves such as their hobbies. Not only is an employer not interested in reading such detail but with free space at a premium on a CV, there is simply not enough room for such a section.
Lies and Falsehoods
Getting away with lying on a CV is rare and the lie will eventually catch up with you when the employer discovers to their horror, that you are incapable of actually doing the job effectively. CV falsehoods may be overlooked during the interview process but they are easily uncovered when an employer checks references. A quick phone call to a former boss or university will soon shed light on such ‘little white lies’. Companies also screen candidates through their social media footprint and less than truthful individuals can be exposed through a simple Google search. By ensuring your CV is 100% truthful you will also have a lot less to remember during the interview.
Elaborate formatting and layout:
Keep the font type consistent across the entire document. Avoid using inappropriate fonts, convoluted tables and misaligned paragraphs. Ensure that your CV conforms to the conventional structure of having a personal statement in the beginning, followed by a listing of your experience and qualifications. The most recent work experience should always be included at the start with your responsibilities listed in bullet points. CVs with alternative or creative designs are rarely appropriate with the exception perhaps of when applying for a role within a highly creative industry.
As with including a photo of yourself or mentioning your interests and hobbies, personal details such as weight, height, race, age, marital status and religion are irrelevant to the employer. One good rule of thumb to abide by when writing a CV is to ask yourself, “Is what I’ve just written relevant to the job I’m applying for?” Keep the content within your CV solely applicable to the role and your CV will read as a much more coherent document.