Beyond the obvious — such as poor spelling and grammar, an unprofessional email address or an embellished career history — there are other aspects of a CV that you may not realise can impact your success of being offered an interview for a job.
Here are seven overlooked factors you should avoid in your CV.
1. An exhaustive list of skills
Many candidates still assume companies and recruiters want to see every skill you possess. Plus, the growing usage of AI technology to digitally scan CVs gives off the impression that your CV needs to match with as many keywords as possible.
But this is not going to do you any favours. Recruiters and employers will literally spend seconds scanning your CV. Moreover, the demand for strong soft skills over technical has become a big theme from businesses. Instead, be selective with the skills you feature on your resume.
2. Including your photo
Unfortunately, including your photo in your CV opens up the gates to unconscious bias, where potential employers base their judgement on factors such as race, age, gender or appearance.
You may decide the specific role you are applying for does, in fact, require a photo (actors and models, for example) and that you’ll have better success landing the job with one.
At the end of the day, it is your call to make but in general, many employers – particularly in the corporate world – will not expect nor need your headshot.
3. Long and wordy introductions
As much as you’d love to elaborate and write a detailed Executive Summary or Professional Summary, unfortunately it won’t be appreciated. A succinct and concise introduction is preferred and will get you further than if you used meaningless buzzwords and don’t give the hirer or recruiter a sense of your true goals.
While a CV needs to include all your top selling points, a strong one is when you get to the point. The art of CV writing is as much about what to leave out, as what to include.
4. Lack of effort
Crafting a resume is like writing a letter to someone special – you want it to be as tailored as possible. Avoid using plain templates from Microsoft Word, as we can quickly spot them when dozens of other applicants use the same one. This, in turn, can make yours come across as lacking in effort particularly when seen against other candidates, who tend to use the latest free resume template tools to really stand out from the pack.
5. Too much ‘creativity’
Yes, you want to leave a lasting impression, but using bold colours and busy fonts on an inappropriate CV template design will only distract employers while they’re trying to learn about your career and qualifications. Less is more. Be creative in a way that makes your resume stand out without any in-your-face-details such as varying font sizes and styles, and decorative, unnecessary borders.
6. Information overload
When stating your hobbies or interests, avoid putting in too much. While it’s good to show you are sociable in a work environment, you don’t have to share your whole life story. Where appropriate, only include hobbies, interests or skills that are necessary or supplemental to the job in question.
7. Silly errors
Of course you want to make sure your spelling and grammar is flawless throughout your CV, but have you gone back to double-check the essential details like the spelling of your name and contact details? Silly errors like an old phone number or misspelled email address can ruin your chances of an interview. So go over every detail with a fine-tooth comb.
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