You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression, a wise man once said. A resume is your first – and perhaps only – chance of catching a prospective employer’s attention, making it critical that this evolving document puts forth the best version of you. A well-written resume is a way to advertise yourself and put down in black and white what you have done and what you can do for the job that you’re applying for. The content and the way it’s put down are important, but a problem arises when people don’t know how and when to cut off the “fluff”.
Here are 10 things no recruiter wants to see on your CV:
Your life historyIt’s a given that you want to send out a comprehensive resume, but that doesn’t mean that you include every detail of every internship and job that you’ve held. Include information regarding experience and skills that are linked and relevant to the job you’re applying for. Three to five years after college, move your ‘Education’ section to the bottom of your resume. Leave your schooling off, unless you are connecting with a school alumni member.Cutesy email addressesDoes your email address read something like ‘ShahidBigManUFan@yahoo.com’? Then it’s time to get another email ID for your job hunt, one that includes some iteration of your name. A recruiter doesn't need to know you’re a die-hard soccer enthusiast, nor will s/he be impressed with an out-dated email company.Funky fonts or artistic formatsWhile a little creativity on your resume is fine, going overboard with detailed fonts, excessively pretty formats or bright colours won’t build your case. So keep the design simple and clear. If it takes too long for a recruiter to decipher where you work and what your responsibilities are, s/he is likely to cut you off their shortlist.
Poor formattingThe configuration of your resume gives recruiters insight into how well you organise your thoughts. If your formatting isn’t consistent -- say, some of your job titles are in bold whiles others aren’t, the paragraph spaces are uneven or the dates aren’t aligned - a hiring manager is likely to be put off by it.
Photos Over-creative jobseekers may think nothing of including a few photos on the resume, but it’s unnecessary. Recruiters spend barely six seconds on a resume at first glance; if you add a photo they’ll spend 19% of those precious six seconds looking at the picture instead of reading about your skills. Who needs that?
Vague statements or empty adjectivesAlmost everyone sells themselves as “hard-working, honest, quick-thinking and intelligent”. But backing up these statements is what makes all the difference. Instead of “innovative leader”, say you “headed a team of 20, increasing departmental productivity by 45% in a year”. Don’t write about how you completed a project ahead of deadline -- add details of when and how. Giving information that’s specific and measurable lets a recruiting manager think that you could bring the same to their company.
Superfluous social media linksToday’s tech-savvy generation is quick to add links to their social media profiles, be it Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, to share more about themselves. However, this can backfire if the links lead to poorly managed profiles. Ensure that the profiles you submit show useful and stimulating content, and active engagement. Those selfies you and your friends took won’t help you in any way.
Unexplained gaps in work historyThe strongest of candidates could have a couple of periods when they were not working. The reasons can range from a lay-off to a self-chosen sabbatical.
Always put a positive spin on the gap – you were travelling, caring for a family member or up skilling with a new course - so that no hiring manager takes it as a sign that you were unable to get/stick to a job.
ReferencesReferences don’t come into play till you’ve reached the interview stage, which is why it isn’t essential to list reference co-ordinates or add the ‘references available on request line’ on your resume (which 99% of job applicants do). Wait till the recruiter asks for it, but make sure you contact all potential references ahead of time.
Lies or embroidered claimsWhen a two-month internship grows into a year-long project, or six months of unemployment is mentioned as six months on an overseas assignment, you have a problem. Don’t embellish successes with inflated claims as this can lead to problems down the road. Stay true to your story and tell it the best way you can. By getting these details right, you’ll create a fine first impression and greatly improve your chances of making it to the next stage - the interview.