CV writing is a study in being concise where we are challenged to summarize our entire careers in 2-3 t pages (or less). There is no room for extraneous details. But brevity is not the only reason to leave off many of the items listed below. Some things, like unprofessional email addresses or CV objectives, can turn off recruiters and hurt your chances of landing a job.
Does your CV include anything on this list? If so, consider replacing it with measurable results and keyword-rich text.
1. Typos and Errors
This one is obvious, of course, but it is one of the most important mistakes to avoid. Having errors on your CV can be the fastest way to get rejected. Here are some tips.
- Print your CV and read it aloud.
- Have someone you trust read it. A fresh pair of eyes will catch any mistakes.
- Double check your dates.
- Make sure your formatting is consistent.
Different job search professionals have different opinions on whether photos belong on CVs, but for now we believe it is best to leave them off. Here is why.
- Photos are not always compatible with applicant tracking systems.
- Headshots take up a lot of space on your CV.
- Some hiring managers will automatically reject all applicants who include photos on resumes, to protect their company from any claims of discrimination.
- Photos on CVs do not improve your chances of being noticed by a recruiter but could disqualify you as a candidate due to the discrimination worries mentioned above.
3. Objective Statement
A CV objective statement can be a vague, general statement along the lines of “Interested in obtaining a project management position where I can provide leadership and direct large-scale programs.” Objective statements used to be popular, by the general consensus now is that they are not a good idea.
Today we know that a CV summary statement (sometimes called a ‘Profile or Professional Statement’) is much more effective. Summary statements communicate what you can offer the company rather than what the company can offer you, which is the case with objective statements.
Most employers do not ask for references until the interview stage, so you do not need to include them on your CV. You can also remove the once popular line: “Reference available upon request.” Recruiters will assume you have references. Save this space for more valuable information.
5. Irrelevant Experience and Skills
A great CV is customized for the job to which you are applying. However, removing years of irrelevant experience can cause work history gaps. And so, the key becomes finding ways to connect your experience to the job. If you have jobs on your CV that are more than 7-8 years old, then deal with them very briefly (company name, job title and dates. You can add a line with an achievement if space allows). A potential employer is interested in your more recent experience.
6. An Unprofessional Email Address
Keep it professional. Any combination of your first and last name is best. There is also some evidence that more dated email domains like Hotmail can communicate to recruiters that you are less tech savvy or could even encourage unintentional age discrimination.
7. Columns and Charts
Applicant tracking systems are becoming more sophisticated, but in the most recent tests, charts and columns still caused parsing errors in some ATS. We recommend avoiding these formats and using an ATS-friendly resume template.
A recent study found that 78% of applicants admit to lying on their resumes and that 66% of hiring managers did not actually care. That may be some comfort if you currently have, ahem, untruths on your CV but we suggest taking a hard look and asking yourself if you are willing to get caught in a lie. Many companies will vet new hires and a lie could cost you the job.