2 pages to sell yourself into a job interview; the CV is probably the most important part of looking for a new job. Sometimes, keeping it concise and yet still featuring all the important information might as well be a full day’s work. We’re always tempted to just write down every single detail of our working lives, no matter how irrelevant. And sometimes, it’s unnecessary additional information that can make you a target for discrimination, or simply give a bad impression. There’s plenty of information out there about what should be on your CV. But what do you need to take off.
1. A photograph
In many countries, photographs are a necessity in job applications – people will pay highly for flattering photos to help get themselves a job. But in the UK, it’s often a sure-fire way to get your CV ignored. Unless you’re applying for a role where appearance matters, such as modelling or acting, keep the picture off your CV. As with the aforementioned points, a photo on your CV can end up seeing it put straight in the bin by default to avoid any accusations of discrimination further down the line. Plus it takes up plenty of valuable space.
2. Crazy fonts, charts and graphs, pointless decorations
Unless you’re applying for a specific sort of job where an eye for design and producing attractive documents in necessary, don’t get flashy with your CV. Many recruiters and businesses will run job applications through CV-screening software. Any decorative bells and whistles on your CV can get stripped away by this software, and the worst-case scenario is that your CV ends up straight in the trash folder. Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t think about the appearance of your CV at all: it is a professional document and should look like it. Just don’t waste your time on embellishments – at best, no-one will notice them and at worst, they’ll do more harm than good to your prospects!
3. Every single job you’ve ever had
People do change jobs, and whole careers, quite a few times nowadays. When people stayed with the same company for many years, even decades, then it was more appropriate to go further back in your work history. Nowadays, only your jobs in the last 5-10 years will likely be relevant to the job you’re applying for now. And if you’ve changed careers entirely since then, a cursory note to say what you were doing in those older positions back then is all you need to say. Those couple of years working Saturdays in the local greengrocers when you were at school don’t need to be on your CV when you’re an Accountant or HR Director.
4. The words “Curriculum” and “Vitae”
Especially if you can’t spell them! They might have been important when CVs were sent by post and needed a bit more indication as to what these bits of paper were, but now, your electronic CV (PDF or Word documents only please) is harder to misplace, and everyone will know what it is from the filename. Save yourself the extra line on the document for something more important.