Yes, it’s true! What you include on that simple piece of paper can determine whether you will land an interview or not. Even a single word could make a difference in how favourably the recruiter will regard you and how strong you market yourself.
We spend so much time and often get obsessed with what needs to be included on our CV that sometimes we end up forgetting to pay attention to what should not be included.
So how do you ensure your CV is an effective reference piece? Take the matter of your CV as seriously as possible and consider the following elements that should never be on your resume…
An objective that does not make sense
OK you want to be the next Mark Zuckerburg and you say you have what it takes to achieve that. Fantastic! However the purpose of an objective statement is to convince employers that you know what you want to achieve and you are the best fit for the job. Don’t spoil your resume with outlandish and farfetched objective statements that will have the employer not take you seriously and eventually lose your dream career opportunity. Instead, do include a short, clear, specific and tangible objective that shows how you aim to add value to the employer.
Employers don’t really care about your physical appearance unless you are applying for an actor or model position. So it’s best not to include a picture on your resume unless it is required of you. At the same time, refrain from describing what you like or what your habits are. This is definitely unprofessional and may be perceived as a mockery.
Unrelated job experience
Sure, the summer job you had as a clown after freshman year was interesting and fun, but you should leave it out unless you are applying for a gig at an amusement park or a circus! Just focus on those jobs that have direct relevance to your current interest for work.
It is perfectly natural to have your own political or religious views or whether you are gay or straight etc, but this none of your prospective employer’s business, so keep it to yourself. Some of these details can spark controversy and the recruiter may unconsciously consider your application in a biased light. On top of this, avoid revealing your current business contact info (you don’t want employers to call you at work!)
Achievements that are not really achievements
Yes, you are proud of being the winner of the Ice Bucket Challenge competition at a local youth club event, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the prospective employer cares if you are bold enough to dump cold water on your head! Stick to relevant professional achievements that can significantly raise your profile.
Listing a few short and specific hobbies on your resume is fine, as long as they are not strange enough to raise the recruiter’s eyebrows. Avoid hobbies such as “Grooming my 10 dogs” or “baking cute teddy cupcakes”. The key here is to include hobbies that say something positive about your character and personality.
Fun E-mail address
Don’t include the e-mail address you have created five years ago when you graduated from high school, as this will raise flags. A professional email address certainly does not include hints about your age or birth date or even funny names or nicknames (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). Try to get an email account using your own name but don’t personalise it with details that the employer should not necessarily know.
There’s no reason to include details about your past salary or hourly rates for jobs you had during college years. By doing so, not only is it unnecessary but it also sends the wrong message. Salary negotiations should come later in the interview process. Your resume should tell the employer what sort of soft and/or hard skills, qualifications and expertise make you the right fit for the job.
Your aim is to impress the person reading your CV but using popular CV buzzwords could turn off the hiring manager. Words such as “cutting-edge”, “synergy”, “detail-oriented”, “proactive”, “fun-loving teamplayer” can minimise your impact and take up valuable space on your CV. Instead use action verbs (Such as increased, established, transformed, introduced etc) to describe an achievement or roles you have assumed.
You don’t want the employer to have a hard time trying to figure out what your CV says or have a potential seizure due to the colourful daze you have compiled in your information. As a rule of thumb, stick to simple fonts and layout as well as a font size that makes information readable. Refrain from using outdated fonts such as Times New Roman or Serif fonts, instead use Arial which is more commonly accepted among recruiters.
In today’s competitive job market it only takes six seconds for the hiring manager to make the “fit/no fit” decision. Follow these tips to ensure your resume steers clear of the trash pile!