Go over three sides of A4.
Use humour or attention-grabbing gimmicks.
Include photos or pictures.
Over-complicate things – with so little time to make an impression, it’s far better to use plain English and a clear format.
Use the word ‘I’ any more than is necessary – you’d be surprised how easily a single letter can dominate a document.
Make your career summary read like a series of job descriptions and similarly don’t omit your daily responsibilities all together – find a balance. Keep the focus on your achievements within each role.
Understate your case – this is the place to take full credit for your achievements.
Include hobbies or interests – you’re just wasting precious space.
Submit your CV until you are 100% convinced it doesn’t contain any spelling or grammar errors.
Use the following 5 words:
- Approximately – You have to approximate? You don’t know what you did? If you don’t know – find out. If you do know – show some confidence, and tell me down to the tenth percentile what you accomplished. That is impressive!
- Assisted – Unless you work in a dental office, we don’t want to hear about your “assists”. We want to know about you. In a humble way, tell us what you did, how you did it?
- Attempted – Never, ever tell us what you wanted to do. Tell us what you did in an emphatic tone, including a quantitative statement, Good example: “Exceeded quota by an average of 31.2% every quarter”.
- Team player – We like team players; we do, everyone does. However, can’t we find a creative way to demonstrate that you are, indeed, a team player? For instance, you could say that you take great pride in being a mentor; or that you are the go-to-person when your team mates have technical questions/or need a sounding board; or that 9 of your 12 team members went on to receive promotions. Or, you can tell us that the organization you work for held a 76.5% retention rate. Anything, but “team player”.
- Professional – Is anyone going to admit they were less-than-professional during their previous jobs? Aren’t your career and “professional” mutually exclusive? Can’t we come up with a better word to describe how we conducted ourselves? Yes, we can. And we would like to see a little more imagination.
Candidates: go and take a look at your CV, cover letter and online presence. Do any of these Don’ts show up? If yes, get a little ruthless. Have a little fun. And then see if maybe you don’t get a few more interviews.
Recruiters: what CV Don’ts make you want to hit delete? Let us know, and we’ll help the job seekers out there by compiling a definitive list of Don’ts not to use during their job search.