CV Advice

10 things not to put on your CV

You may be familiar with what makes a good feature on your CV, but do you know what you should steer clear of?

1 The Term “CV”
An employer knows that your CV is your CV – there’s no need to tell them so. If it’s not obvious at a quick glance, then it’s probably not doing its job in the first place! Instead, use your name as the title, in a large, bold typeface (not too big, though), so that a recruiter is immediately aware of whose CV they’re looking at – they don’t want to waste time looking for your name.

2 Negative expressions
Using common terms such as “job-hunting” and “unemployed” immediately evokes negative connotations. Yes, you may be unemployed and, yes, you may be job-hunting, but bringing these concepts into your CV does not highlight the potential for successful career growth. Instead, it could imply that you are a static jobseeker.

3 Generic phrases
We’re all familiar with those catch-all terms that many people think sound impressive but, in reality, demonstrate a lack of imagination. Two of the usual suspects – “good communicator” and “good interpersonal skills” – leave an employer with little impression of your actual abilities. After all, if you’re so great at communicating, why not extend your vocabulary? Remember, employers want to see evidence to back up your statements and your CV is the first place you have the opportunity to show it.

4 A list of hobbies
Unless your favourite pastimes are specifically relevant to the role you’re applying for, it won’t prove very beneficial to include them. If an employer looks at your CV for about 10 seconds, you want them to be reading about your recently completed internship, not your passion for mountain biking at weekends. What’s more, space is valuable on your CV, so don’t fill it up with unrelated information that isn’t going to increase your chance of securing an interview.

5 The heading “Work Experience”
Instead of using the term “work experience” as a sub-heading on your CV, why not opt for “career history”? Something as simple as a heading can significantly alter the way an employer perceives your CV, and using the word “career” has more clout behind it; it demonstrates that you’re looking for development and longevity.

6 Your age or date of birth
Although we might not like to accept it, age bias can occur during the recruitment process (even though it shouldn’t be a factor). To limit it as much as possible, don’t include your age or date of birth on your CV. The employer will likely be able to determine your approximate age anyway, by looking at your career and education history – some people even remove their graduation date, too. Additional information such as your marital status or ethnicity is also unnecessary.

7 Too much detail
Your CV should be an overview of your career, not an intricate run-down of every duty or responsibility during your working life. Prioritise relevant experience and positions held, using summaries for part-time irrelevant jobs. Showcase your trajectory to your current position.

8 Typos
Spelling and grammatical errors are a no-no. Proofread, and proofread again, to ensure no apostrophe goes unchecked. Some recruiters throw CVs in the bin if they spot a typo, so don’t let mistakes dash your hopes of landing your dream job.

9 A picture
Unless you’re applying for an acting or dancing role (in which case a portfolio is typically required), then an image of yourself is not necessary. It should be an opportunity to highlight your skills and experience, not to show an employer you’re a snappy dresser.

10 Salary expectations
All mentions of money should be set aside when applying for a job, unless the job advert asks you to state salary expectations. There’s no reason to list your previous salaries for roles, an employer wants to see how well you fit the job, not how much money you have in your bank account.

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