Your CV is your first chance to make an impression. Make sure it’s up to scratch by taking off these 10 irrelevant points…
Rumour has it a potential employer will look at your CV for a grand total of… six seconds. Six seconds to make up their mind about you and decide whether you get through to the next stage of the job application – all before they even meet you.
Therefore, it is essential to keep your résumé as concise and relevant as possible. Unfortunately, this means that your joy in visiting the cinema on weekends and ‘best attendance’ certificates from school just won’t make the cut.
Jo Gregory, Recruitment Trainer and Performance Coach at Recruitment Training Group , says, “You’re an interesting human being, no doubt. And in the fullness of time that will come through at interview and beyond.
“But for now, the information on your CV should be constrained to the qualifications, work history and interests that specifically support your application.”
Jo recommends adjusting your application for each prospective role, when necessary. She says, “For the best possible chance of success, it is crucial to scrutinise your CV for relevance, and adapt and tailor accordingly for each opportunity.
“Your CV should paint a clear and concise picture of why you’re perfect for the job. The last thing you want is to clutter it with irrelevant and potentially misrepresentative chatter.”
After what seems like endless job applications, we understand it can become difficult to decipher between what’s necessary and what’s downright pointless. So we asked Jo for the ten most inapt things that need to be scrapped from your CV…
Now is not the time to get overtly intimate. Information relating to your personal appearance, preferences, religious or political views, age, height, sex, marital status or health is unnecessary. The only exception would be when such information has a bearing on the role you’re applying for.
Unless of course you are a model or actor applying for a modelling or acting job, there is no need to include a photograph of yourself. Not only is it unnecessary and should have no bearing on your ability to fill the role, in practical terms, it can also increase the file size of your CV, making it inappropriate to email.
The time will come when it is necessary to discuss your current and expected salary, bonuses or total remuneration package. But prior to even being invited to interview is not that time. Either a high or low expectation relative to the prospective employer can be equally as detrimental to their perception of you, and your fit with the role and company.
Along the way you may have picked up a responsible service of alcohol certification or secured your craft badge with the Girl Guides. However, if you’re applying for a job as an accounts payable administrator, consider whether these really add strength to your case.
Irrelevant or wacky hobbies and interests
Everyone is different. That’s what makes life interesting. And it can be hard to see why others don’t share your passion for taxidermy or flamenco dancing. While they are perfectly viable ways to spend your spare time, the more niche and quirky hobbies may not create the right first impression. Especially not before someone has a chance to meet and get to know the real you in person. Things that say something about your personal qualities and character traits - travel, sports coaching or long distance running - are probably more appropriate on your CV.
Irrelevant or old job history
15 years on there’s probably no need to include your first paper round or part time shop assistant job, unless it supports your application of course. As a recent graduate, demonstrating that you have the commitment and character to be in gainful employment is great. In that instance part-time or casual positions do play a part. It is all just a matter of appropriateness and relevance.
Personal and private aspirations
It is a job application after all. Your yearning to retire to a self-sufficient eco farm in Norfolk or staunch determination to beat your chocolate éclair eating personal best is not relevant. There’s often a lot to cover on your CV so keep it to predominantly career related information.
Inappropriate or extreme career aspirations
Conversely your career aspirations and ambitions are very relevant to your CV. However beware of statements that make you appear arrogant or flighty. To be CEO of the organisation you are applying to within 2 years is ambitious, but probably not appropriate if you’re applying for a sales executive role in a multinational. Similarly, your desire to set up your own business some day does not send the right message to a prospective employer.
Non-career or community service-based achievements
Some significant achievements like running the London Marathon or climbing Mt Everest say something positive about your character. But head boy/girl status, captain of the local football team or best Victoria sponge at the county show do not necessarily apply.
Whether personal or work related, descriptions of negative or unpleasant experiences should be avoided. The recipient doesn’t know you personally or have an opinion about the event, so dragging up disgruntlements can reflect very badly on you. You could be seen as difficult to work with, overly negative or, worse still, a troublemaker.