So you’re looking for a new job, and you want to brush up your resume or CV. It could be years since you’ve last updated your resume! What recruiters are seeking now, may not be the same criteria as when you applied for your last job. Putting your right foot forward is important, since the job hunt can be a fickle place and the wrong thing on your resume could easily place you on the bottom of the pile.
Where do you start when updating a resume? What should you include, but more importantly, what should you leave off? These decisions could mean the difference between getting a call for an interview, and being left on the unemployment list. The following list includes 12 things you ought to leave off your CV to give you the best chance at being hired. It’s important to note that this list should be used only as a guideline. Depending upon the company culture, it may be appropriate to include some of these items, especially if the potential employer requests the information.
1. Unprofessional Email Address
Your contact info should be displayed at the top of your resume or CV for obvious reasons. On average, recruiters spend just 5-10 seconds to quickly scan through each resume. If you list your personal email address as something like: FATDADDY22@AOL.com, it’s going to be the first and last thing the recruiter reads! The same goes for an email address consisting of 40 characters. Don’t make it impossible for anyone to email you. Do yourself a favor and get a professional looking email address, which simply includes your name, initials, and/or a short list of numbers.
2. References Available Upon Request
For some reason, people are taught to include this meaningless phrase at the bottom of the resume. Avoid using this unnecessary statement, as it does not add any value. References must ALWAYS be available upon request. You should instead use this space to add one more relevant project or skill set to best describe your value to the employer. Put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter and constantly ask yourself the question, “What value do I add by including this?”.
3. Hobbies & Interests
Anything that isn’t job related should normally be left off your resume. Your weekend hobby and personal interests may be great to help describe your personality, but these items usually don’t indicate that you’re a great candidate for the job. “Interesting” does not necessarily mean you’re qualified! Save this anecdotal information for the appropriate time (if relevant) to include in a personal interview, but leave it off the resume.
4. Old or Irrelevant Jobs
Focus your CV on the most current and relevant experience. Recruiters are looking for experience related to the job that you’re applying for. Employers quickly scan over resumes, so it’s key to put the best information possible and not clutter it with “fluff”. If you’ve built up considerable experience in the field of your choice, you can likely delete your first job from high school. Don’t hold on to job experience just for the sake of looking more well-rounded. A good rule of thumb for someone with a long career in one field, is to limit the resume to highlight successful projects from the past 10-15 years.
5. Flashy or “Big” Words
Showing off on a resume with flashy words and a big vocabulary is not the appropriate time or place. Keep the language simple and to the point without being overly sophisticated or formal. Recruiters and employers don’t want to spend time searching the dictionary in order to read about your job experience! Avoid personal pronouns and refer to your achievements instead of yourself. Usually a list of bullet points works better than long-winded prose.
6. Educational Filler
Stating your education on your CV can be helpful in determining your candidacy for a position. However, adding in irrelevant course work that you completed for your own interest or recreation should not always be included. The exception includes curriculum which shows your expertise relevant to the job requirements. The important components that should be listed under your education include your degree, the institution you attended, and perhaps your GPA (if it’s 3.0 or higher).
7. Salary Expectations
Salary expectations should be left off the CV or resume and instead discussed later in the interview process. Salary negotiation is a must, but only when the time is right. If you state your compensation expectations in the first encounter, a recruiter may quickly exclude you from the pool of candidates due to a salary mismatch.
8. Political, Religious, or Personal Affiliations
Getting too personal on a CV is a big mistake. Recruiters do not need to know about your religion, gender, date of birth, or sexual orientation. Some employers might use this info to make decisions on employment based on personal data, in order to avoid discrimination based on any of these factors. Eliminating the personal data from your CV is your best bet to avoid these complications.
The only time a photograph is appropriate for a job application, is at a modeling photo shoot or film industry which requires them. No photographs should be displayed on a resume or CV. Including a photo may lead to accusations of discrimination based on the appearance of the applicant. The exception to this rule is the many forms of online job applications, especially through websites such as LinkedIn. In this case, make sure your profile on LinkedIn is up to date, including a professional and appropriate looking picture.
10. Poor Grammar & Disorganized Information
Many recruiters admit that misspellings, poor grammar, and disorganization on a resume is one of the main reasons they will reject it. White space is important as well as a logical sequence. Start with the most recent experience and keep to a simple, clean format. Use lists with bullet points and simple sentence structure. Most importantly, spell check your work to ensure there are no misspelled words.
11. Senseless Objective or Purpose
It’s often difficult to write a compelling objective or purpose statement. If you intend on writing one for your CV, keep it practical and achievable. Avoid meaningless objectives such as “looking for a challenging role”. This is vague and does not give any indication about specific goals you wish to achieve. The best objective statements are direct and specific, pertaining to goals related to the job.
12. Fake Information & Irrelevant Achievements
It is never okay to lie on a resume. Most recruiters and employers will run a background check on you. With the information age we live in today, it’s easy to find personal history, job experience, and other information. Be as truthful on your CV as possible and choose your words carefully. Over exaggeration about a previous job or skill set can mislead a recruiter and come back to hurt you. It’s much better to be forthcoming and honest with experience, salary history, and any previous employment issues than to get caught falsifying information.
The bottom line is to be honest and straight forward with the information you present on your CV or resume. Make sure that everything you include is relevant and specific to the job. This document is often the first impression presented of yourself to potential employers! Keep it simple, organized, and most importantly spell check your work. Having a polished and clean resume will help you stand out among the crowd of applicants. Happy job hunting!