Most of us were taught to write their first CV at school, probably by a teacher that had never applied for a job outside of education. If your CV sticks to the timeless conventions from textbooks of old (or even worse, Word templates), you’ve probably got some unnecessary and irritating information in your CV. Let’s clear some of those cobwebs.
1. ‘CV’ or worse still; ‘Curriculum Vitae’
Give the reader some credit; they know they’re not reading a purchase order. Ditch it and use your name as a heading instead. After all, you’re the subject.
If you’re not posting a neatly typewritten CV like in the good old days, it’s helpful to include your name and the letters ‘CV’ in the filename.
2. Your date of birth
This information is unlikely to score you a birthday card, so leave it out. Not only is it irrelevant compared to whether you are capable of doing the job, it puts the employer in an awkward position. Making employment decisions based on a candidate’s age has been illegal for a while, so it’s a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ situation.
3. Hobbies and pastimes
Yes, your Karate/singing/knitting/DJing skills are impressive, but they really aren’t the things that will sell you to an employer. In fact, they can sometimes do the opposite. You’ve got a limited space within this document to make an impression so only include information that will help convince the employer to interview you.
4. A list of everything you’re ever learned
You may never have made it into the marketing world without your impressive education, but you’re here now. You don’t need to justify your existence by listing every little detail of your education, from your primary school to the most recent two-hour IT training session.
Your earliest education is unlikely to affect your progress at your next job, even if you did go to Hogwarts. It’s best to use that valuable CV space for more valuable work-related information.
A lot of CVs list courses that may have helped them at work, but are irrelevant compared to their work experience. Include the training that led to a qualification or had some kind of recognised assessment, but ask yourself whether your two hour seminar on how to stop a colleague choking really adds much.
5. Two references
Not long ago, it was common practice to include not only a referee’s details, but also a signed letter from said referee. Don’t bother – an employer should only get in touch with your referees if they have or are about to offer you a job, not when they first see your CV.
Imagine you do send these contact details to several inconsiderate employers who decide to contact your referees. You’re likely to irritate some of your most important business contacts that may not be too keen to endorse you in future.