I recently wrote an article on ‘How NOT to get that 2019 salary increase’ which went down surprisingly well. I decided to continue the theme and suggest a few things that should never, ever, be found on a CV.
If you want to avoid receiving a regret letter, keep reading!
So, on behalf of HR professionals everywhere:
1. Send your CV yourself
Send your CV from your work-appropriate email address, the same email address that must appear in the contact section in your CV. Please do not let your mom, or anyone else, send it from their email address.
Replying to the initial email of a candidate requesting more information, and receiving a response from their mistress, going into way too much detail, is awkward.
2. Curicuulim Vita. Curruclum Vetae. Coriculem Vite
If you send a CV with spelling mistakes in it, don’t expect a reply. Listing “Attention to detail” as a skill, then misspelling “management” or “curriculum vitae”, puts a CV straight into the ‘nope’ zone. Similarly, don’t claim to have “Advanced Microsoft Word” skills, then send a CV with alignment and formatting errors that make the document look like your pet parrot landed on the tab key.
3. For all accountants…
No other human beings use Microsoft Excel for documents that have more letters or text than numbers. Do not send your CV in Microsoft Excel format.
4. Copy & paste?
If you want to save time by copying and pasting your cover letter to multiple companies, please take a few minutes to double check that you have addressed them each to the correct firm. There’s nothing like getting a cover letter addressed to a competitor to cheer us HR people up!
Nothing like getting a cover letter addressed to a competitor to cheer us HR people up!
5. A full-body photo is always appropriate… if you are applying to be a model
If you are not applying to be a model, we do not want to see you in a bikini. In fact, most of the time we don’t really even want to see your face, lovely though it might be. Do your skills and experience match the required job criteria? Because that is all we need to see.
6. CV templates
If you use a CV template, please, and I ask politely again, please, remove parts of the template you have not populated.
7. Excessive use of CAPS
This makes us picture you sitting with your left index finger smashed into the shift key while typing with a solitary finger on your right hand. It also makes us feel that you are yelling your experience at us.
8. Celebrate your achievements
If you are a graduate with no work experience, include notable achievements from school or university.
If you are an experienced hire, unless your school achievements are truly remarkable, as well as understandable and relevant, please don’t include them.
Nothing detracts from a professional CV like someone advertising their certificate of accomplishment in the Chesstastics Championships of 2006
9. Know your audience
If your CV is going to a company where innovation and technology is prized, you can showcase your leadership skills as a leader in a World of Warcraft Raiding Guild.
Personally I would see this in a positive light, but in different industries and different contexts it may not always be well received.
10. Is your email address work-appropriate?
If you created your email account while living your best life at university, and it’s no longer a work-appropriate address, create a new one. Nobody wants to hire ‘scotty.too.hotty’, ‘babealicious’ or ‘holdmybeer_imgoingin’ as their financial director.
Your CV is a professional fashion statement
So, read your CV. Read it carefully, as if it’s the first time you have ever seen it. Your CV is the first chance you have of promoting yourself, so take the time and effort to make sure that it showcases your brilliance, and is clear in terms of your skills set and experience.
To remind you that your CV is a professional fashion statement introducing yourself to recruiters, I’ll leave you with this quote from Miucca Prada, “What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.”
By Candy Eaton-Gaul, Head of HR, RSM South Africa
RSM is the sixth largest network of auditing, tax and consulting firms in the world, with South African offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Visit www.rsmza.co.za for more information.