12 things your CV should NOT have
February 08, 2008
Your CV is your marketing brochure through which you try to sell a commodity, ie your skills to the potential buyer ie the prospective employer. The sole purpose of your CV is to fetch you an interview call. Nothing more, nothing less.
However, creating a CV isn’t as simple as just using flowery language and pretty fonts. There are certain things that put recruiters off and if you want to make a good impression, make sure you do not commit these mistakes in what is arguably the most valuable document of your job hunt.
While the rules listed are well-founded, they are not carved in stone. At times you will need to break the rules. If you want to add these things knowingly and purposefully to your CV we advise you to do that.
The points mentioned here are not listed in the order of priority; instead they are listed in the sequence in which they usually appear on a CV.
~ Colorful or glossy paper and flashy fonts
Your CV is a formal, official document. Keep it simple.
~ Resume or CV at the top
Many people tend to add headings to their CV. The usual are CV, Curriculum Vitae and Resume. Do not do this.
~ Photographs until asked
Do not add your photo to the CV until you have been asked for it. Photographs are required only for certain types of positions like models, actors etc.
~ Usage of ‘I’, ‘My’, ‘He’, ‘She’
Do not use these in your CV. Many candidates write, ‘I worked as Team Leader for XYZ Company’ or ‘He was awarded Best Employee for the year 2007’. Instead use bullet points to list out your qualifications/ experience like: Team leader for XYZ Company from 2006-2007.
~ Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors
Proofread your CV until you are confident that it doesn’t have any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. These are big put-offs for the recruiters. Moreover, sometimes these mistakes might land you in an embarrassing situation.
A candidate who submitted his CV without proofreading it committed the mistake of wrongly spelling ‘ask’ as ‘ass’. Now you can imagine the type of embarrassment he must have faced during the interview, when the interviewer pointed it out. These mistakes tend to convey a lazy and careless attitude to the interviewer.
~ Lies about your candidature
Do not lie about your past jobs or qualifications or anything which might have an impact on the job. You may be able to secure a job with these lies today but tomorrow you may lose it as well.
~ Abbreviations or jargon that is difficult to understand
People screening your resume usually belong to the HR department. If they do not understand what the abbreviations and jargon mean, they will simply dump your CV in the trash can. Avoid over-using such terms as far as possible.
~ Reasons for leaving last job
Leave these reasons to be discussed during the personal interview. For example, some candidates write: Reason for leaving the last job: Made redundant. Avoid making such statements in your CV, they add no value. Besides, if you do get an interview call, chances are the interviewer will address the issue.
~ Past failures or health problems
Mentioning these immediately slash your chances of getting an interview call.
For instance, you have a gap in your employment because you started your own business which did not do well. Some candidates might write — Reason for gap in employment: Started own business which failed. Do not do this type of injustice with your job hunt at this stage of writing the CV.
~ Current or expected salary
Leave it to be discussed while negotiating the salary.
~ Irrelevant details
Leave out the details like marital status, sex, passport number, number of kids, age of kids. These are usually irrelevant for most interviewers but at times could be used as a basis for discrimination.
Do not include them until asked. In fact, it is not even required to mention the line ‘Reference available on request’. If the recruiter requires a reference, he/she will ask you to bring it along for the interview.
Now that you have run through the list, take a fresh look at your CV and prune away unnecessary details and unaffordable blunders that could have cost you your dream job.