Job hunting can always be a stressful process due to the endless interviews, the time spent waiting in between, and the moment there is a negative response. Or worse, there is no response, and you’re simply left wondering what might’ve happened. For some, it’s difficult enough to get called in for an interview, and it’s entirely possible that the problem does not lie with their achievements.
The CV is an important part of any job search because it’s a presentation of who you are and what you have done. However, like most things of importance, it can be your strongest weapon or your biggest liability. A study by Ladders stated that employers need just six seconds to judge whether your CV is a fit or a non-fit for the position. So, you have only a few moments to impress them, and you need to make them count. Here is what should definitely not pass in front of their eyes as they quickly scan your achievements.
1. Reasons Why You Left Your Last Job
Perhaps you believe it will help your case or that it’s in some way relevant to who you are. However, those are not the kind of things recruiters want to see on your CV. They might inquire about it during the interview phase, so you should save the tale for then. It’s important not to go into too much detail without their request in order to avoid seeming bitter or spiteful. Unless they specifically ask, leave it out.
2. Your Old Embarrassing Email Account
Perhaps you take pride in being cutebuns22 or beerchuggerno1, but you might as well hold those details about yourself for your friends or office Christmas parties. If you’re applying for a job, your CV should include a formal email address, preferably one that is simple and clear with just your name and last name. If you don’t have one, make it.
3. Salary History
Whether you think it would be for the best or not, do not include your salary at your last job, or any other one you might’ve had throughout your life. Two things can happen: for one, your employer will be influenced by the number, and might either think you will request too much, or he will lower their offer to match it. Either way, this will reflect negatively on your employment.
Your salary history isn’t relevant to your employers, and should not be discussed until the second phase of the interview. Even if you decide to add your salary history, which I strongly advise against, you have to be wise about it. A mistake that HR managers often encounter is information about a previous job that is completely unrelated to the one that the job seeker is applying for. In other words, even if you are tempted to boast about your amazing salary as a lawyer, it will have absolutely no relevance if you’re applying for a bartending job.
4. Unprofessional Social Media Accounts
Even if you love your pets, nephews, nieces, and have mastered the ability to take a selfie, the social media accounts where you flaunt them are of no interest to your employer. That means that Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat should not be included on your CV. LinkedIn is a must, and Facebook as well, though the latter depends on what sort of activity you have. If it’s too personal, skip it.
5. Achievements That Do Not Qualify For the Word
It may sound subjective, and they may be achievements to you, but your employer might not be interested in some things you’ve excelled at in life. Being elected prom queen/king or winning a pie eating contest are matters that they will not be interested in. They are not precisely achievements, no matter how proud you are of them. Leave them out because they will not serve to impress and they will only take up space.
6. Over-The-Top Objectives
Ambition is good, and it’s the drive that will keep you going. It’s important to aim high because that’s the only way you will reach those heights. However, if your objectives are a little over-the-top, such as “become as rich as Bill Gates” or “become as popular as Oprah”, don’t put them on your CV. Those are reserved for yourself, your family, and perhaps your friends, but not for your employer. It will potentially make you look like you’re searching for more than they can offer. So, if they can’t help with that and you might seek another path in the future, they might as well not hire you.
7. Overused Catchphrases And Buzzwords
You may be a “go-getter” and have excellent abilities of “thinking outside the box”, but these words are too often used on a CV. All they will do is make your resume look like everyone else’s. And if everyone is a “people pleaser” who has the right skills to maintain “synergy,” then nobody is unique or impressive. You will not stand out, and your employer might silently accuse you of just throwing in overused words for the sake of it.
8. Weird Hobbies
Recruiters generally have varied opinions on the subject of hobbies on a CV. Some find them useful because they can shape the personality behind it, and others believe they are useless because they have no interest in what you do in your spare time. What you certainly shouldn’t do, however, is include odd hobbies, such as “knitting sweaters for your cats” or “photo bombing strangers”. They can be left out.
9. Picture or Description of How You Look
Unless you’re applying to become an actor/actress or a model, you should definitely leave out details of your appearance. It may appear impressive for you to have “washboard abs” or “toned legs that look great in heels”, but while you can view it as an achievement or proof of dedication and hard work, it’s not something your employer wants to know. The practice is becoming more common, but recruiters have often found it tasteless or distracting, depending on the approach.
10. Personal Details
Certain things should not be found in your CV, such as your marital status, political affiliation, religion, or sexual orientation. Some have even said that your age should not be part of your resume. All of these personal details can open you up to discrimination, even if it’s inadvertent. You don’t want those facts to define you, and you shouldn’t offer the opportunity for your employers to be influenced by them.
Many people and job seekers are open to these mistakes. Avoid them, and perhaps you might find a change in the number of times you will get called in for an actual interview. Just keep it concise, current, use a standard font, and do not forget to proofread.
Mike Jones is a Boston University graduate, with an MS in Mass Communication. He is now a full-time writer, passionate about everything related to business and career development.