CV Myths-Corrected

CV Myths Corrected

A CV should be no more than two pages in length

Fact: There isn’t actually a set length for a CV and whoever says otherwise is wrong.  The length of a CV depends on your individual circumstances and the type of job you are applying for.  Academic CV’s, especially for Post Graduates can sometimes be 4 or 5 pages long.

However, as a general rule of thumb your CV should not be longer than two A4 pages; it should be well structured, professional and business like.

CV’s should always be accompanied by a covering letter

Fact: Many CV experts believe that few employers will seriously consider a CV that is not accompanied by a covering letter.  A covering letter is a letter of introduction that highlights your main skills and your suitability for the role that you are applying for.

Remember to always tailor your covering letter to the advertised role/position. Try to show evidence that you have researched the role, company or the industry.

Slightly bending the truth on your CV is fine

Fact: Lying on your CV is completely unacceptable and the chance of you getting your dream job or any job for that matter is slim.  Read the section on ‘Falsifying information on your CV – the consequences’.

Lying on your CV may get you an interview but there’s no doubt in my mind that sooner or later somewhere down the line, you will get found out.  It’s true to say that 100’s of job seeker’s are rejected on a daily basis despite having the experience, qualifications and personal attributes to get a job or to do a job.  So why is it that they don’t get the job? The reality is that they don’t put the time, effort or consideration into presenting their qualities in a positive light; in short they fail to sell themselves on their CV.

CV is “the course of one’s life” but is it really a summary of your life to date

Fact: A CV should not contain a summary of everything you have done from birth to date but merely show enough evidence to suggest to the employer that you are a suitable candidate for the job. Yes, a CV might be taken to mean ‘a course of one’s life’ but that’s just a figure of speech and often people have the tendency to take the phrase out of context.

Your CV should only contain information that is relevant and appropriate to the position you are applying for and should not include your entire life story.  It should contain your relevant skills, qualifications, experience and personal qualities to date. Remember, a CV is a 30 second interview so you only have a short amount of time to sell yourself to a prospective employer.  Be sure to make it personal, relevant and unique.

The more jobs I include in my CV, the better chance I have getting an interview

Fact: Putting every job you’ve ever had since leaving school in your CV will not help you get an interview but rather ruin your chances of getting anything at all.  We all make assumptions based on the limited information that is laid before us and employers are no different.  If you include several jobs on your CV, employers will certainly assume the worst and might think you:

  • Can’t settle down in one place
  • You like to move around from one job to another (job hopper-I think that’s the technical term)
  • You’re indecisive and you don’t know what to do or what you want
  • You’re not a safe nor a secure bet and employing you might be a bad idea

The simple way around this is to include a few relevant jobs and work experiences and disregard the rest.

It’s imperative to include a couple of references on a CV

Fact: You will not be penalized for not including references on your CV.  Simply stating ‘available upon request’ is sufficient.

If you do include referees, they should be two people who know you well and have worked with you.  One of them should be your current or most recent employer and the other should be anyone who knows you well (e.g. Manager, Supervisor, Teacher, Tutor, Lecturer etc.).

Putting your political and religious beliefs on a CV is a good thing

Fact: Anything that will cause offense or is controversial will certainly hinder rather than help your chances of getting a job.  It would be wise not to include your affiliation with any religious or political groups regardless of how big or small your involvement with them is.

However, there is an exception to this rule.  For example, if you’re a devout Christian, you’ve done some voluntary work in a local Church, and you’re applying for a job as Parish Secretary then I’m sure including this in your CV will not harm your chances in any way, shape or form.

Education & Qualifications should be separate sections on a CV

Fact: Employers prefer to have the education and qualification section together under one heading rather than in two separate sections on your CV.

There’s no scientific or complex reason behind this, it just makes it easier for employers to read the information when it’s together rather than jump back and forth between sections.  It saves them time and energy – two distinct attributes that employer’s seem to be in short supply of.

There’s no point having a CV without a strong education

Fact:  This is nonsense and completely untrue.  Whilst it’s true that education is important for a lot of jobs, it is definitely not the case with all jobs.  I come across numerous job adverts each day which highlight the importance of practical skills and experience as opposed to academic achievements.  In fact, some of them just want experienced people and are not fussed about their level of education.

This is not to say that they want a complete dim wit.  Yes, of course they want someone who has good numeracy and literacy skills but they’d much rather have someone whose done the job before.

Remember, there is no substitute for experience.

Most jobs do not require a CV

Fact: The argument that most jobs do not require CV’s is complete and utter rubbish.  Yes, there are a few jobs that might require you to complete an application form but the vast majority of jobs these days still require job seeker’s to send a CV and covering letter.

It’s true to say that a job in your local supermarket or your Uncles restaurant might not require a CV but the fact is application forms have not yet replaced the need for CV’s and it might be a long time before they do.