Writing a CV that stands out from the crowd is a vital first step towards achieving your career goals. But job applicants often make the mistake of adding too much information, producing a document that gets overlooked for being long and wordy. At CareerWise, we are experts in helping candidates achieve their full potential, matching them with their ideal job roles. Here is our guide covering five things you should leave off your CV, and what to do instead.
A recruiter may only spend 30 seconds scanning a CV before deciding whether it makes the cut. So your document needs to be as streamlined as possible, concisely conveying all the necessary information. Make sure your layout is clear and easy to read, with no comedy fonts or photos. Leave out titles – they know it is a curriculum vitae, you don’t need to tell them! You should not include personal information about your height, weight, age, birth date, political affiliation, sex, or place of birth. Banish all irrelevant information – the recruiter doesn’t need to know about your family, or your health, unless it has a direct bearing on your work.
While “hobbies and interests” is a common section on a CV, think carefully about its usefulness. In a very limited space, you need to convey the reasons you are perfect for this employer’s job vacancy. This should focus on your work experience and education. Every item included on your CV should point towards desirable job skills, and bear relevance to the specific role being applied for. For most candidates, their extra curricular activities will not be the most compelling reasons they should be selected.
It might seem tempting to prove your intelligence by using complex language. But this could well irritate an employer, who will be sifting through many applications, and will want simple and direct information. Likewise, try not to use empty descriptors. You don’t have room to include vague words such as “exquisite” or “interesting” – you need to pack your CV with clear facts about your suitability for the role. Conduct a thorough proof read of your document before sending it off. As well as eliminating typos and bad grammar, ask yourself if it reads like something you would actually say. If not, try simplifying your language. Often, a list of bullet points can be an effective way to convey your message. Avoid long paragraphs with no breaks in them.
Once again, remember that every single piece of information on your CV should be showcasing how perfect you are for the specific role you are applying for. A CV is not intended to be a life history; it is a marketing document you are using to advertise your relevant skills. Don’t be afraid to leave off the waitressing job you had for the summer after graduating, unless this brought you pertinent experience. For every previous job, think about what you achieved that would be required in your desired role. Showcase those elements; and if a job didn’t bring you anything relevant, leave it off.
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that everyone lies on their CV! You are more than likely to get caught out. If you get a job through lying, it will become obvious very fast that you do not possess the skills needed to perform the role. You will most likely find yourself in a very uncomfortable situation, and will quite possibly be fired. If you have a clear career goal, have put in the work to get there, and are applying for jobs in which you would genuinely be happy, there is no need to lie. Instead, strategise your CV. Everyone has areas where they are less confident, or time periods when they feel they underachieved. Gloss over these and focus on the reasons you feel you would be perfect for the job.
Are You Looking For A Job In Ireland?
CareerWise is Ireland’s leading specialist recruitment firm, based in Cork, Shannon and Galway, and we can help you to find your ideal new job in Ireland. We specialise in the Engineering, Supply Chain, Science/Pharma, IT and Accounting industries in Ireland, and we look forward to working with you. Contact us online now or call us on +353 (0) 21 206 1900 to arrange a consultation.
Joe Robbins is co-founder of CareerWise Recruitment. A graduate of the University of Limerick (Degree in Business Studies, 1985), Joe worked in the UK for five years where he specialised in materials management, production management and plant management for a number of companies.
He returned to Ireland in 1992 to become Operations Manager for a Cork-based start-up, FMC Automotive Division which was subsequently taken over by Snap-on Equipment. Joe managed the business re-location of this company to Shannon in 1997 before setting up CareerWise Recruitment in 1999.
He is a committee member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Mid-West region, and a former Director and Vice President of the Shannon Chamber of Commerce. Joe is former Chairperson of the Sixmilebridge Camogie Club and current Chairperson of the Clare County Camogie Board.
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