The internet and career gurus are full of wonderful advice on how to make your CV stand out from the pile, including what information to showcase and which words to use to enable artificial intelligence (AI) gatekeepers to pass your application.
But just as there are certain details you should include, there are also some you should never put on your CV.
A few of these may be no-brainers to most jobseekers, while others may come as a complete surprise.
To save you from putting yourself on the back foot when applying for jobs, here are five things you should not include on your CV, and why:
For decades we have been made to believe a CV should contain the names and contact details of references, both business and personal, but now it seems this should not be done – not during the early stages of the application process in any way.
Andrew Fennel, the director of StandOutCV, says the benefits of omiting this information “far outweigh” the benefits of including it.
Not only will you be exposing the names and contact information of people who may not agree to have them published on job-seeking websites, career portals, and within other companies’ human resources departments, but this section takes up space on your CV.
Including a reference’s contact details could also alert them – and your company, to the fact that you are applying for other jobs. If you are asked for references further down the interviewing process, you can decide whether you are comfortable supplying them.
And if you do, you should always alert your reference that they may be contacted.
What you should do instead:
Although one argument for including references in your CV is to demonstrate your level of seniority and prove that you have good relationships with important figures in the organisations you have worked at, Fennel says you should rather describe who you report to in the outlines of the role description.
If you planned to use references to prove your impact in your role, you can do this within the current role description sections.
For example, instead of saying: “Making outbound calls to potential clients”, you could say: “Making outbound calls to potential clients to generate quality leads for sales team to convert to orders”.
Unless you are applying for a job in an industry where this is acceptable, or you are asked to include a photo in the job advertisement, rather exclude this.
In a LinkedIn article, CareerToolBox chief executive Graham Riley says additional graphics could possibly skew how your information is presented to the recruiter. Photographs could also distract the recruiter or hiring manager.
“[People who place photos on their CVs] are looking for a way to differentiate themselves,” Riley is quoted as saying in the article.
- Salary expectations
This bit of information will undoubtedly be required at some stage in the application process, but including it in your CV could eliminate you from consideration before you have had the opportunity to sell yourself and show the recruiter why you are worth this salary.
- Previous irrelevant jobs
Some jobseekers like to pack their CV with every job they have worked at to show their commitment to hard work. This will not only take up unnecessary space on your page, but may not be of interest to the employer.
Similarly, you should not include hobbies or outside interests, as not only will this information also take up space that could be better used to sell yourself, but could prejudice you if the recruitment personnel or people short-listing the CVs have a particular bias or opinion against these activities, or people who engage in them.
- An unprofessional email address
For obvious reasons most jobseekers will not use their work/company email addresses on their CVs, so have no option but to use a personal one. Gmail is an accepted contact email for applicants and should be used instead of older email hosts like Yahoo or Hotmail, for example.
Even more important though is the name that precedes the @ in the email. It is perfectly fine to use addresses such as ‘beachbabe 123@…’ and ‘catlover@…’ for your personal use, but you should not use such contact emails on a CV.
Rather set up a new email account strictly for professional purposes, such as business communication and job applications.
An article on resumecroc.com says while this may seem harsh, you will be judged on your email address and could lose credibility. –IOL