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12 things your CV should NOT have

Kshipra Singh

February 08, 2008

Your CV is your marketing brochure through which you try to sell a commodity, ie your skills to the potential buyer ie the prospective employer. The sole purpose of your CV is to fetch you an interview call. Nothing more, nothing less.

However, creating a CV isn't as simple as just using flowery language and pretty fonts. There are certain things that put recruiters off and if you want to make a good impression, make sure you do not commit these mistakes in what is arguably the most valuable document of your job hunt.

While the rules listed are well-founded, they are not carved in stone. At times you will need to break the rules. If you want to add these things knowingly and purposefully to your CV we advise you to do that.

The points mentioned here are not listed in the order of priority; instead they are listed in the sequence in which they usually appear on a CV.

~ Colorful or glossy paper and flashy fonts

Your CV is a formal, official document. Keep it simple.

~ Resume or CV at the top

Many people tend to add headings to their CV. The usual are CV, Curriculum Vitae and Resume. Do not do this.

~ Photographs until asked

Do not add your photo to the CV until you have been asked for it. Photographs are required only for certain types of positions like models, actors etc.

~ Usage of 'I', 'My', 'He', 'She'

Do not use these in your CV. Many candidates write, 'I worked as Team Leader for XYZ Company' or 'He was awarded Best Employee for the year 2007'. Instead use bullet points to list out your qualifications/ experience like: Team leader for XYZ Company from 2006-2007.

~ Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors

Proofread your CV until you are confident that it doesn't have any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors. These are big put-offs for the recruiters. Moreover, sometimes these mistakes might land you in an embarrassing situation.

A candidate who submitted his CV without proofreading it committed the mistake of wrongly spelling 'ask' as 'ass'. Now you can imagine the type of embarrassment he must have faced during the interview, when the interviewer pointed it out. These mistakes tend to convey a lazy and careless attitude to the interviewer.

~ Lies about your candidature

Do not lie about your past jobs or qualifications or anything which might have an impact on the job. You may be able to secure a job with these lies today but tomorrow you may lose it as well.

~ Abbreviations or jargon that is difficult to understand

People screening your resume usually belong to the HR department. If they do not understand what the abbreviations and jargon mean, they will simply dump your CV in the trash can. Avoid over-using such terms as far as possible.

~ Reasons for leaving last job

Leave these reasons to be discussed during the personal interview. For example, some candidates write: Reason for leaving the last job: Made redundant. Avoid making such statements in your CV, they add no value. Besides, if you do get an interview call, chances are the interviewer will address the issue.

~ Past failures or health problems

Mentioning these immediately slash your chances of getting an interview call.

For instance, you have a gap in your employment because you started your own business which did not do well. Some candidates might write -- Reason for gap in employment: Started own business which failed. Do not do this type of injustice with your job hunt at this stage of writing the CV.

~ Current or expected salary

Leave it to be discussed while negotiating the salary.

~ Irrelevant details

Leave out the details like marital status, sex, passport number, number of kids, age of kids. These are usually irrelevant for most interviewers but at times could be used as a basis for discrimination.

~ References

Do not include them until asked. In fact, it is not even required to mention the line 'Reference available on request'. If the recruiter requires a reference, he/she will ask you to bring it along for the interview.

Now that you have run through the list, take a fresh look at your CV and prune away unnecessary details and unaffordable blunders that could have cost you your dream job.

The author is a contributor to www.CareerRide.com, a website that addresses technical and personal aspects of an IT interview.

From India, New Delhi
hi hari this is really a good article...i hope we all will keep these checkpoints in mind while writing our own CVs and also when we check other CVs. take care Rahul
From India, Delhi
I am very much atsonished to see the repeatd posting by Mr Hari an active member and HR specialist. However, I expect Mr Hari to explain how to send Resume without title or foreword.
From United Arab Emirates, Dubai
The Same post has been done by Pinkii,, & it was removed because of copy & paste from other website,,, Why is this happened now
From India, Coimbatore
Nice recommendations, especially the first one, about the document being a formal one.

There are some exceptions however.

Photographs until asked:

When you apply for some international positions--like in the Middle East--one is required to have the photo as well.

Resume or CV at the top:

Okay, this is not necessary. On a lighter note consider the smaller consultants who may not be the most organised... This tells such recruiters about the nature of the document. :-) But the bigger issue is whether the candidate knows the difference between the two! This itself will determine what follows in the document.

Abbreviations or jargon that is difficult to understand:

This is basically a protocol issue. In English (or any language) you must spell out the full form followed by the abbreviation. Then it is okay to use the short-form in the rest of the document. But the first term must always have the full form.

Reasons for leaving last job, past failures etc are all negative 'qualities' that will not help you at all.

The 'started own business' and such issues can be discussed during the interview ONLY IF if the position requires entrepreneural qualities (or the like). But as you quite rightly mentioned, the failure aspect is best avoided.

Again, I like the recommendations but I'd like to know the reasons behind them.

From India, Delhi
it was really educative.. keep posting in more articles like the above mentioned in the future.. it helps students like us widen our knowledge. Regards, Annette
From India, Madras
Good work....
Many times i have seen candidates adding these things in their CV and i used to wonder what they really meant by mentioning the details, they will try using personal pronoun in first person or in third person which confuses me :? whether they are talking about themselves or whether they are praising someone else....
Working in an IT company, one major thing that i have to often face is people faking up their past experience; which they don't know is that it is easily detectable...

From India
thanks sir... i had a heading as resume and added photo to my resume.. as soon as i read this i have changed my resume.. thanks for this valuable information sir.. thanks and regards ANBU (fresher)

A very informative post.
However I would like to differ with you on some issues.
Well this does help, especially if you recieve a lot of correspondence/documents from different sources and people.
Salary without CTC is actually irrelevant. When we walk into a store and like a product that we so really want to buy ..we naturally look at the price tag.We would not buy anything that is not in our budget. So CTC is an absolute must.

From India, Nasik
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