When it comes to your CV, first impressions count.
You have limited space to prove your value to recruiters, and anything that gives them a bad impression of you could cause your CV to get rejected.
So, in order to impress, you need to pack your CV with selling points and ditch the common blunders that will hinder your applications.
If you want to streamline your CV to make it easy for recruiters to read, and ensure you only include the most valuable and noteworthy information, then here are six things to remove from your CV now.
Your CV needs to be all about you, and why you are the stand-out individual that recruiters need to hire. Therefore, using clichés that almost everyone adds to their CV will not set you apart from the crowd. Instead, it will make you blend in.
So, avoid the clichés that don’t provide any tangible information about your marketable skills.
That’s right, get rid of the ‘hardworking candidate with a results-driven attitude’ and that fact you can ‘work well as an individual and a team’. In its place, offer factual statements that describe your industry-specific skills and knowledge.
2. Hollow claims
You may say you’re the best researcher in the UK, a highly successful project manager or a teacher leading the way in their industry. However, can you actually validate and substantiate those claims?
It’s great to sell yourself, but if you can’t prove these claims, then employers may second guess your claims.
When writing your CV, make sure that any achievements or statements are backed up with results. For example, if you were want to prove that you are an excellent fundraiser, give some examples of occasions where you have raised funds, and quantify your results on paper. Recruiters love to see statistics and figures, and this is a great way to prove that you really are as good as you say.
3. Skills graphs
A skills graph doesn’t provide any real data. It’s simply your own reflection on your abilities. Saying your project management skills are ten out of ten is subjective. A recruiter cannot compare your skills to another candidate easily.
Instead, that space on your CV would be better spent actually listing the qualifications and experience you have that shows your skill. That way recruiters will know what skills you have and whether that’s in line with their expectations.
4. Big unbroken chunks of text
When the average recruiter spends six seconds looking at a CV, the last thing they’ll want to see are big unbroken chunks of text. They are not easy to skim through and not appealing to read. If you have big blocks of text on your CV, be prepared that most recruiters will not even bother reading it, regardless of how useful the information is inside.
Be sure to break large chunks of text up into short, punchy sentences within concise, logical paragraphs. It can help to use headings and sections to break up your CV and make sure that recruiters can easily navigate to the section they are looking for by including bullet points within role descriptions.
The space on your CV is limited, and having a photograph of yourself taking up the page is not a wise use of the space. A photograph will do nothing to explain your skills and why you are the right fit for the jobs you are applying for – it simply shows people what you look like. Unless you are an actor or model, your appearance will not have any impact on your ability to perform your job, so employers won’t be interested in seeing your photo.
6. Unexplained gaps
It is perfectly reasonable to have gaps in your CV. However, if employees spot large gaps between employment, without knowing the reason behind it, they’ll assume that you haven’t done anything at all for that period. This is not a good look from a recruiter’s point of view, and they’ll question what you were doing.
Don’t be embarrassed by periods out of work and explain that the time was used to complete personal projects, travelling or due to illness etc. It is better to be honest for the period and add the skills that this time away from work has gifted you, if applicable.