Previously published in the online ‘Brite Future’ magazine: March 2016.
When writing a CV, there are a lot of things that you need to make sure you include. However, you don’t want to be putting the wrong information on there (which is surprisingly easy to do!). Keep your CV succinct and relevant by making sure you avoid these 5 things.
Lots of information can be used to discriminate against you which you might not realise. Steer clear of including personal information about you that the employer doesn’t need to know, such as your age, nationality, or marital status. This could potentially stop you getting to the interview stage. When it comes to personal data, you only really need to include your name and a contact number – address is optional, depending on whether you want to include it or not.
Also be careful not to express personal opinions or likes on your CV – although you might think putting the football team you support on there is a good idea, think what might happen if the employer supports the opposing team… Better to be safe than sorry!
Unnecessary career information
It can be hard when writing your career summary to know exactly what information is relevant. Sometimes our job roles can be very complex with all sorts of different areas to focus on, but there simply isn’t enough space. Focus on the duties you undertook whilst doing your job, using statistics and achievements where possible to back this up. Avoid information such as the location of the company, your personal opinion of the job, or why you decided to leave – these are all completely irrelevant points, and may waste valuable space and reading time.
Your entire work history
This is another mistake that can be made with your career summary – although you might think more information is better, this isn’t always the case. As a rule of thumb employers generally only want to look at the last 5 years worth of your career summary, unless any others are particularly relevant. If you’ve worked for 15 years, then don’t put all of it down – it’s more than likely that the employer won’t even give it a proper read through!
Unimpressive hobbies and interests
There’s a lot of debate over whether to include hobbies and interests on your CV. Personally, I think they are good to include as they show other skills that you’ve developed outside of your work life, and also help the employer to understand you a bit better. What you don’t want to do is include hobbies and interests that won’t help you get that interview – ‘spending time with family and friends’ is generally a given and not showing much of a skillset, whereas ‘going to the pub with my friends’ just comes across as negative. Think before you write – only include it if it makes you look more skilled.
It’s considered standard to have a references section at the end of your CV, but you don’t want to write the actual reference or referee details down here. This could quickly lead to a data protection issue – you don’t know where your CV goes after you’ve submitted it, and there’s always a chance of someone printing it off and leaving it in a space for all to see. Instead, just write ‘References available on request’ and leave it at that. Employers don’t need your references until later on in the application process, and so this would never be an issue.
Once you have written your CV, make sure to go over it one last time to look for any of these mistakes that might have slipped in. Once you are sure it’s focused then its good to go!