The truth is, writing a CV is an art form. It can take many, many, many attempts before you have a coherent document, that recruiters run through a system to pick out key words before passing it on to the hiring manager.
But once you have mastered your CV, wow! The sense of achievement feels fantastic! And this document (your CV) will get you through the rest of your career.
It is always difficult to know where to start, but first, you need to know the No-Go Zones.
There are certain things that should not show up on a CV . In this piece I call out 10 areas that should never appear or be used in your CV:
1: Private and personal data. That is: your date of birth/age, gender, religious belief, national insurance number or sexual orientation. By including such information, you are opening yourself up to discrimination. And… never include your martial status. In fact, it’s now illegal to discuss a candidate’s marital status under the Equality Act in the UK.
2: Inappropriate contact information, with this I mean your email. If your email is email@example.com (or something far more unsavoury, and you know what I mean), which is fine to use to set up your social media, BUT not so fine for applying for a job. Get onto google and create a new FREE email: firstname.lastname@example.org – ✔ done.
3: Social media handles. Other than LinkedIn, there really is no need to include the others.
4: Every-single-damn-grade from any and every exam you have ever taken. After a few years your school grades become irrelevant. Especially if you’ve moved onto further education or have professional qualifications. The best way to include grades is to cover your most recent education first, such as professional qualifications. Then, move backwards including fewer details as you go.
5: Colours and funky formats. Now, this is really depends on the job you apply for. In a creative world, sure – Why don’t you stand out but putting your CV in a different format. For example, if you are applying to Innocent Smoothies, turn your CV into a label on virtual 3D bottle! Not only will you stand out but you are also showing off your skills. But make sure you attach the PDF/Word document as well. However, when I was talking to a recruitment friend of mine, she said how she wished that all candidates followed the black and white standard format, which makes it is easy for her (as recruitment consultant) to read. So don’t get rejected because you made your CV bright green.
6: Made up job titles. Another area my recruitment consultant friend mentioned, was how frustrating it can be when candidates make up their job roles, then when interviewing they realise, the candidate has not done the job before, or even have the skills and it wastes a lot of time.
7: Fake skills. Don’t get caught out on this one.
8: Your photo: I know in some countries its standard practice to include an up-to-date photograph of yourself on your CV/resume. However, in the UK, it’s one of a few personal details that you’re better off removing. not only does it take up valuable space and doesn’t add anything to show how well you perform. It can also open the recruiter up to unconscious bias.
9: Poor language, spelling and grammar. This immediately shows laziness and can make you look incompetent. A way around this, is by creating your CV in MS Word: go to Review > Read Aloud. Utter game changer.
10: Hobbies and Interests. Unless you do something remarkable as a hobby then don’t bother including any. We all like to read, go the gym and cook. These hobbies are not going to make you standout.
Now you know what not to do, why don’t you come and checkout the CV Surgery to learn what to do.
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