Are you giving yourself a fair chance when it comes to job hunting? We see all kinds of faux pas on CVs/portfolios from the relatively minor typos, to the glaring warning signs. With the best intentions, we can all be our own worst enemies at times and such easy to rectify issues can prevent you entering the job market with one hand tied behind your back.
We’d like to think we’re an authority on the matter of presenting yourself in the best professional light, so as things slow down over the festive break, dust off your CV for review – and make sure you leave these potentially damaging or entirely unnecessary things out. Here are our top 10 things you should leave off your CV:
1. Your photo
Doesn’t matter whether your Brad Pitt of Donald Trump, just leave it off. Whether we like it or not, pretty much everyone forms an opinion based on the first impression a photo creates. Your CV is there to make your professional experience sing, which your looks have nothing to do with.
2. Speaking in third person
Leave this tense well alone – it’s cringe-worthy at best and no-one wants that.
3. Gaps in your work history
Along with making sure that your CV flows and makes obvious sense, it’s important to include at least a brief reference to your entire work history without omitting any periods of time – if you headed for the sunset and backpacked your way around Asia for 6 months, say so.
4. Your full address
Your general locale works just fine; town/city or county. Your full address can often take up unnecessary space on the CV that could be better used for more meaningful info. If you’re stretching your search further afield then it’s perfectly suitable to add "happy to relocate" instead of your area of residence.
5. Every contact detail
There’s no need to disclose every single method of contact - your home telephone number, recovery email, emergency contact information, pager, fax, Instagram handle etc. If this information is required, it’ll be requested prior to an interview or with any luck, the offer stage.
6. Your #lifestory
The CV is a professional introduction to you, not a comprehensive chronological dossier on your life to date. Keep it succinct, details brief and purposeful. Even if you start with ten pages worth, cut it down to the really important stuff.
7. Salary expectations
Don't limit your chances of an interview by pricing yourself out of the job, or under selling yourself. You’re much better positioned to negotiate a strong salary if you have already had the opportunity to excel in an interview.
8. Endless bullet points
Bullets are great – they help clean up layout and provide an easily digestible visual format. But use them well, and sparingly! Write each one as a coherent value/experience statement, not simply a list of one or two word responsibilities, which add little value.
Remove any negativity from your writing. Words that denote an issue (unfortunately, difficulty, frustrating, problematic) may suggest an underlying outlook or attitude. Focus on positive words that deliver a powerful punch and allude to success (such as achiever, enthusiasm, talent, accomplished).
10. Family description
Avoid listing personal information such as marital status, number of children (and their names, nicknames, ages), religion, ethnicity etc. This doesn’t mean your CV has to be devoid of personality and some hobbies/interests are great to highlight, but just remember that this is first and foremost a succinct means to showcasing your skillset.