Most employers spend as little as 20 to 30 seconds looking at your CV before it goes into the bin or the pile marked “to be interviewed”. Your CV therefore has a very short passage of time to make the desired impact. With this in mind, it’s worth asking yourself about every minute detail on your CV; is this going to help your case and does it warrant the space it takes up. If you have any doubt what so ever, leave it out. You should not include the following:
1) An inappropriate email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com– will mark you out as unprofessional. I’ve been in the welfare to work sector for a very long time and in that period I have come across a wide range of CV’s. The one thing that really frustrates me is why people continue to use email addresses that they know will have a negative impact on their job prospects. You might think ‘hang on it’s only an email address, what’s the big fuss?’ but believe me, you haven’t come across some of the email addresses I’ve come across. My stance on the whole issue is, if you don’t have a professional sounding email address, leave it out. It is as simple as that. It takes a matter of minutes to set up an email account so don’t let something so simple ruin your chances of securing that all important interview.
2) Your current salary or salary expectations – asking for a six-figure salary and nothing less suggests you’re stubborn and might be difficult to work with. Straight away this puts you at a disadvantage because you’re making demands to someone who you haven’t even met. If you continue to make such demands, there’s a good chance you won’t meet them at all. Put yourself in the employers’ shoes, how would you react if someone you’ve never met before sent you a piece of paper demanding a salary that is higher than yours? I know what my reaction would be. “Thanks but no thanks and good luck for the future “. Initially, it might seem like a good idea but in reality, it actually gives the employer another reason to reject you. The key thing to remember here is no one knows what kind of negotiations can take place in the face-to-face interview, so keep your options open and avoid making silly mistakes like this. On the flip side, if you are asked for salary information in the job advert, you can put it in your covering letter.
3) Don’t mention irrelevant hobbies and interests-only mention those that are relevant to the job you are applying for. If I got a pound for every time someone put, “socialising with friends and family” as a hobby, I would be a very wealthy man right now. Other typical hobbies I’ve come across include, going to the cinema, listening to music and travelling. Yes, nearly everyone I know likes doing these things, so how does that make you any different from them. The answer is simple, If you like listening to music or travelling; make sure you elaborate on the type of music you like to listen to or where you’ve been on your travels. Sometimes it might help to include a list of all the different places you’ve been to. It may seem like an arduous task initially, but in the long term it might be a great topic to discuss at the interview, particularly if the person interviewing you is a frequent traveller.
The last point I want to make goes back to the issue I raised at the beginning – leave things out of your CV that will hinder your chances of getting an interview. It’s an age old cliché but when it comes to CV’s, I agree 100% that honesty is definitely the best policy. If you don’t have any hobbies or interests, don’t make them up, leave the section out altogether. Remember, if in doubt, leave it out.