17 Things You Should Never Ever Include in Your CV

Don’t you wish your CV was so perfect that the moment a recruiting manager goes through it, he decides to hire you?

Don’t you wish you knew exactly what points in your CV will nail the job for you and what will get the CV trashed immediately?

Job-hunting is a truly adventurous process. You are racing against the odds to land that desired, much badly wanted job – and writing a great CV is vital in this race.

CVs are critical as they represent the initial idea of the potential employee to the employer. Hence people may resort to all kind of methods and ways to jazz up their CV, to create that perfect document which will pass all tests. However, while doing so they may go overboard and be negligent about certain things, which may end up defeating the whole purpose of their CV:

Your CV – your future!

So you can see why it is so important to be aware of what NOT to include in your CV, so that it does not get rejected in the recruitment process, even before it reaches the interview stage.

This is important as statistics show that recruiters spend barely 15-20 seconds on a CV and it is essential that your CV grasps their attention within that time span. In addition, within seconds of posting an ad, hundreds of applications are received and one can imagine how well crafted the CV has to be to capture the attention in such a short time.

So, check out these pointers on what you should never ever include in your CV, so that you can increase the chances of your CV making it through:

1) Unnecessary details:

There is no need for labelling your resumé as resumé and only your name needs to be used as the file name as managers can distinguish a resume. You also can avoid details such as the date when you wrote the resumé. The only dates that need to be quoted are the dates related to your education and employment.

2) Senseless objective or purpose:

The objective of your CV should not be outlandish and unbelievable; rather it should be practical, achievable and matching with your abilities and skill set, else your CV would be thrown into the bin without your credentials even being read. Avoid vague and meaningless objectives such as “looking for a challenging role” or “looking for an environment that lets me utilise my skills completely” is rather vague and gives no indication on what your specific goals and objectives are. A good objective is accurate and specific and talks about the specific profile you are looking to apply for. A good objective will sound something like “A customer support executive with 3 years experience looking to effectively handle customer calls and increase conversions, thereby increasing the top line”.

3) Applying for an unsuitable post:

Applying for a position for which you are not qualified is another thing that you should not do when you craft your CV.  You may think a certain job looks interesting but if you don’t have the minimum qualifications, the skill set and the experience, you would be best advised not to apply for it. Your application is bound to be ignored and send to the trash can.

4) Unnecessary personal information:

While a resumé needs you to mention your personal details such as age, sex, marital status, and may be even your hobbies, do not go overboard with your personal likes and dislikes.  No one has the time to read through the details of your personal life, and you may find your application rejected, even if you are qualified for the job. Things such as gender orientation and religious views are apt to be controversial and create conflicts in the minds of people who are screening the applications. Avoid also interesting stuff such as your social life and unorthodox experiences, which may convey a non-serious image. If you do want to include any personal information, use those that would be relevant to your work profile.

5) Irrelevant work experience:

If in addition to having relevant previous work experience, you also have unrelated work experience, it is best to keep the latter as brief and concise as possible. While it is important that you state all your experience, but if it is not related to the role you are applying for, you need to shorten it, without going into the details of it.  You may have had diverse experiences, but if it has nothing to do with the job you are applying for, then it is a waste of the recruiter’s time. They would wonder, “what has this got to do with this job anyway”, may think you are not serious about the job and discard it.

6) Irrelevant achievements:

 Some people may put anything and everything they have done in life as an achievement; these could be very minor things and not relevant to the job. One candidate actually stated, “I came first in school long distance running”! If it is about leadership, you can show examples which validate that such as community service, leadership abilities in previous posts held, extra responsibilities, and so on.

7) Excessively lengthy CVs:

Overlooked by many people, this is a sure-shot way to get your resumé trashed. You may have a lot of skills and experience, but if it runs into pages of long stories of the nitty gritties of you did, your recruiters would lose interest in your CV and discard it. Be focussed on what you want to convey through your CV.

Emphasise the key points, which are relevant and vital to your application. Show what you are bringing to the organisation and how you are going to add value.  Keep it brief, but convincing and compelling.  Restrict your CVs to within two pages.

Always remember that more details can be provided during the personal interview. You can keep a detailed account of your experience for your own reference, and for preparation for interview.

8) Incorrect attitude:

A CV can convey all the right or wrong messages, depending on how you look at it. Hence, if you are not really interested in a job or you don’t like a position, but you are applying out of compulsion, it will be evident.

The energy changes such as passion, disinterest, etc. can easily be projected out to an astute recruiter, through the writing. So apply for a post for which you are bringing genuine passion and sincere interest.

9) Poor grammar:

One of the biggest CV killers is poor grammar. Poor spellings and grammar belie the claims you make in your CV regarding your education and are considered as unforgivable mistakes. It may cost you dear as this is used as a predictor of your attitude when you are working in the organisation. Poor grammar makes the recruiter look at you as negligent, and no organisation would like to hire a casual person.

Make sure you proof read your CV a number of times, ask someone to verify whether you have not omitted anything to ensure that everything is thorough, as a third person’s perspective always helps.

READ MORE: Why Your Spelling and Grammar Can Ruin Your Job Hunt

10) Highlighting negative facts:

Showing a lack of experience may reflect negatively on you. So try to couch these things in a more neutral or slightly positive way. Instead of saying “I have not completed this course”, write “I shall be completing this course by this date”. Highlight positive things, which you have accomplished.

11) Salary expectations:

Expectations of salary are not something to be advertised on your CV. Any mention of them can be shelved till you are called for an interview. If you state the remuneration you expect, you might either by over-expecting or under-expecting what the company is looking to offer, and you may lose the role because of a salary mismatch.

12) Overdressed CVs:

Your CV should be simple, straightforward and professional. Flashy CV’s can put off most recruiters as they are looking for a professional. Avoid the use of personal pronouns such as I. Instead of referring to you, refer to your achievements and experiences in a list, using bullet points

13) Fake information:

Avoid lies and making false claims. It is very easy to obtain personal information these days. So choose your words carefully on your CV. Be as truthful as possible. Statistics show that one in three employers reject candidates on the basis of information found online.

Do not lie about your salary in order to land a better job. In case you get recruited, and the employer finds out later that you have falsified information, you are liable for criminal action. It is also best to avoid unverifiable information, anything negative against your previous employers, whining and complaints, as this is a sign of lack of professionalism.

READ MORE: Should I Lie on My Résume?

14) Photographs:

Do NOT display a photo of yourself on your CV unless you are in a profession, which demands the necessity, such as modelling or films. Selection of CVs on the basis of photographs may lead to accusations of discrimination later on for the employers. Statistics show that the rejection rate for CVs with photographs is 88%.

15) Improper email addresses:

Do you know that 76 % of CV’s are ignored because the e-mail address you used conveys a lack of professionalism? Use email addresses for your CV which sound professional and not something that raises questions on your common sense! Emails like hotsexyluv@… and lazysod@… have been actually used in CVs and needless to say, they didn’t land a job.

16) Mentioning reasons for leaving previous employment:

Someone actually mentioned his reason for leaving the previous job, as “It was hard work”. It is best not to mention reasons for leaving the last job. These things are best discussed during face-to-face meetings. Mentioning this on CV’s would distract the recruiter from the aim of the CV.

17) Poor structure:

Many recruiters admit that messy and disorganised CVs are one big reason why they reject CVs. White space is very important. The better organised the content of your CV, the better it would stand up to the scrutiny.

Focus on what makes your CV stand out, not what depletes it!

In short, focussing on what to do and what NOT to do can really save you from costly experiences if you are looking for a job. So do take heed of the above pointers, and polish your CV, so that it truly reflects you in the best possible way. Your CV is your selling point and it is your job to ensure that it is received with a bang, then with a hiss.

Author: Zoey Smith has been an educator with Anglia Ruskin University and presently works with as a Student Counselor. She loves to guide students in their academic and career choices. In her free time, she likes to read and travel.

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