Your CV is the first thing a perspective employer gets to see, and it is from this that they can gage their first impression of the kind of person – possible employee – you will make.
1) Referee contact details
The concept of including reference details on your CV is one that changes on a regular basis – which can be very confusing to you – the job searcher.
The risks of including referee details are as follows:
- When a prospective employer is looking through your CV, they are many steps away from the point where they require your references, and so by including it on your CV, it is a waste of space. When they want to your referee details, they will request them from you.
- You are taking away a reason for them to contact you. The idea of a CV is to get the prospective employers attention, and encourage them to get in contact with you. Asking for references is an ideal method of getting the employer to contact you. By giving them everything all at once, they have no reasons.
2) Your ‘Objective’
Your objective is often the details you outline within your ‘Personal Profile’. The objective was once encouraged to be used to give the employer an idea of what your aim (objective) was by sending your CV to them.
More recently, a CV is seen more as a marketing tool, and is used to effectively ‘sell’ yourself to your ‘customer’ – in this case, the customer is the employer. They want this marketing document to be short and to the point – to provide them with the information and facts they need to know.
One issue with the objective is that they achieved very little and took up valuable space. Solve this issue by sticking to the point you want to get across!
Objective previously used: “My main objective as an experienced worker within the office industry is to obtain a rewarding position as an Administrator within a successful and progressing organisation.”
What does that tell you? Does it make that CV different from any other? = Nothing & No!
So forget the objective, and use a simple sentence such as: “Experienced Administrator”
3) Date of Birth
By stating your date of birth, you are supplying your prospective employer with a very valuable number – your AGE!
Age is a category that employers now have to very wary and be very careful about, because age discrimination can open them up to all sorts of issues – including courts and lawsuits. This is because employers can view age as a barrier.
Therefore, you should leave your age off of your CV.
An employer can guess an approximate age for you anyway by your dates of education and how far back your employment history goes.
4) Personal Details – Marital Status and Dependants
It may seem reasonable that your capability to control a household full of chaos, multiple kids and daily chores would be enough to make you an ideal job candidate, since you can transfer all of those skills to a busy bar area for that ideal Bar Staff vacancy you have just applied for.
The problem is, employers don’t see things the same way!
When they see an employee with kids, all they see an employee who is going to need days off to take care of them – possibly at the last minute, or someone who is going to ask to leave early to pick them up from after school clubs etc.
Be aware though – This can work the other way around too. By putting “Married- No dependants” – Employers might see a young married woman as someone who will unquestionably be taking maternity leave within a year or so in order to start their family.
At the end of it all – it is illegal for an organisation to discriminate based on family situation – so do not give them the opportunity to do so.
5) Religion or Political views
Discrimination is the main reason for avoiding including this type of information on your CV. Potential employers have to be very careful about discrimination, especially when it comes to religion and politics – but that is not to say it does not happen. By seeing this information on your CV, and not liking it….they can always find another reason to file your CV in their bin shaped filing system…..
It is never a good idea to lie about anything on your CV, and the penalty can be quite harsh. A majority of people who lie on their CV do get found out, and do lose their chance of the job as a result.
There are various reasons to lie – but these can be dealt with without having to lie.
- Qualifications and grades – Most employers will contact your training provider (college / university etc) for a reference and to confirm your grade. If your grade is not as high as you wish, list the other positive things you completed.
- Altering dates of employment – If you have had numerous jobs in a small space of time, there are alternative methods other than lying to make it positive on your CV:
You should not state the reason you left a job on your CV. The main purpose of the CV is to get you to interview stage, and if they require this type of information, it is at this stage that they can ask.
If they are temporary contracts but with the same agency – use the agency name as your company name and list the contracts underneath.
Write a skills-based CV. This is when you list the achievements and successes that you’ve had in the jobs you’ve undertaken in order of relevance; rather than listing your career in date order.
Do not exaggerate your job title – If your CV is reference checked this will always be found out! Instead, show how you have been performing by explaining the content of your job role.
Salary – There are reasons why you may feel the need to lie about your salary on your CV, but by doing so, you have reduced your opportunity to negotiate during your interview.
There’s no escaping the fact that CV writing takes time and effort – you are not going to impress anyone by lying. if you can show that you can deliver wheat they require, and can use your initiative, then there’s no need to lie.
So, stick to the truth, but just word it the right way!
7) Detailed explanations of employment gaps and breaks
Commonly, prospective employees feel the need to explain any gaps and breaks and their employment history by using long and detailed explanations.
One issue with this is that there is rarely a good explanation, and if there is, it’s rarely relevant to the job at hand.
If there is a huge gap, try using a different format of CV – such as a functional CV which, instead of listing all your employment (and gaps) in order, lists your past employment by how relevant they are to the one you’re applying for and how well they show off your skills and experience. Then put them on your CV in that order, with the dates of employment a minor note instead of the primary focus.
The interview will be the best opportunity to explain career and employment gaps…
Now, of course there are going to be certain jobs where how you look is a crucial factor. If you’re aiming for a career as an actress or a supermodel, the agency will want to see your beauty in a megapixel type of way…BUT…in pretty much every other situation, a photograph included within your CV is a big NO!
Can you guess why?…Yes you got it! DISCRIMINATION!
Employers have to be careful not to be accused of discrimination. If you include a photo of yourself, the employer now knows roughly how old you are, has a general idea of your ethnic background, and can see if you’re attractive, overweight, or suffering from an obvious disability.
To avoid the accusation that they either hired or rejected you based on these attributes, many employers will just simply file away and photographic related CV.
9) Physical attributes
This is often associated under the same heading as a photograph, and for the same reasons. Your potential employer does not need to know from your CV what colour your hair and eyes are, your height or weight, ethnicity, or any disabilities you have. Not only do they not need to know, they really do not want to know – because (again) they are legally prevented from discriminating!
There are however a few exceptions to the rule – there are some positions which some certain physical attributes form a necessary part of getting the job done (think police, fireman or prison guards in certain situations) and the employer can legally in these situations ask for certain details related to physical attributes.
10) Bright coloured paper / card / bold colourful font etc…
There is nothing more off putting for a reader than to be faced with bright coloured, fancy paper – it is a distraction more than anything!
Unless your applying for a creative role – such as:
- Graphic Design
- Art based roles
- Some advertising and marketing roles
For a majority of vacancies – keep it professional!
- Plain white A4 paper
- Black, clear font – such a Arial or Times New Roman
- Font size 10 – 12 (no larger than 12)
- No more than 2 pages
- No pictures / clip art images
- No borders