A good well prepared CV is essential to getting a job. It must demonstrate a record of achievement and show a prospective employer that you are capable of doing the job for which you are applying. However there is a definite tendency for some candidates to be over inclusive with information, potentially damaging their image with recruiters. There are some things which must be left out of a CV and a few other major errors to be avoided. We shall explore that below.
- Gaps in Employment: never leave a gap of more than 4 weeks on the CV. Employers like to know what you have been doing and get suspicious of periods of unemployment. There may be perfectly valid reasons for the break in work but make this clear in the CV by adding context such as preparing for exams, travel or attending courses.
- Social Media Links: unless you work in a field where a creative portfolio on instagram is useful, such as plastic surgery, then showing your social life to an employer is not a good idea.
- Your Photo: some cultures such as France, Germany and Scandinavia encourage photographs in CVs. However in most cultures it is inadvisable and often considered to be naive in the general business environment. You can submit a photo in a separate file.
- False Information: ensure all information is accurate as discrepancies will be discovered at a later date and lead to potentially serious problems
- References: don't put referee details on the CV. Some employers and recruiters may contact them directly without asking you first. More importantly, they should be listed on a cover letter or application form after request. The sentence "References available on request" is simply stating the obvious and unnecessary.
- Empty Adjectives: the words "hard working", "honest", "successful" are fine qualities but meaningless on a CV. Recruiters want to see objective evidence of these qualities in action. Instead of stating "excellent leader", state what you have actually achieved in specific, measurable terms eg. lead a team of 10 surgeons and decreased operative morbidity by 10%. This gives the employer a picture of what you might be able to do for them.
- Too Long: CVs should be 2-3 pages long. Recruiters read CVs quickly to shortlist candidates and long documents will not be read in full. Summarise academic work and publications in short sections and put large amounts of detail in an appendix.
- Too Short: Summarise key information but keep the CV length to the standard norm of 2-3 pages. A one page CV will not provide the recruiter with enough interest to make further contact.