Modern CVs are constantly evolving documents and increasingly jobseekers are being encouraged to think outside the box in order to ensure that their application stands out from the masses.
However, if you want your CV to stand out, it is worth bearing in mind that the line between genius and madman is often ill-defined, and if your CV falls on the wrong side of it, it will be memorable for all the wrong reasons.
Here’s a light hearted look at some of our favourite ‘CV don’ts’…
1. Introducing yourself in the form of a flow chart
It is alarming how often we see flow charts on CVs – for example, there are the ones that provide guidance on what the recruitment consultant ought to do on inspection of the CV…
Now, you might be thinking ‘Who doesn’t love a flow chart?’… Sure, they have their place, but this isn’t it! They don’t belong on a CV, are amusing for all the wrong reasons, and the decision to use a flow chart instead of a sentence to explain something relatively simple tends to give the impression of someone that is slightly unhinged (although arguably good at flow charts, depending on the execution). So unless you are applying for some sort of flow chart engineer role, it’s probably best to steer clear.
2. Having an appendix for your hobbies and interests
Sorry, folks, it isn’t necessary to go into too much detail about what you do in your spare time, and certainly don’t put your hobbies at the top of your CV. Yes, some people really do that.
However passionate you are about breeding Labradors or attending StarWars conventions, I can guarantee that the employer is much more interested in your relevant skills and experience and making them think you are either a dog breeder or a character from a Science Fiction film is only going to confuse them.
3. If you must have a photo, make sure that you’re the object of it.
We don’t tend to include photos on our CVs here in the UK although it is very common in other countries. It is fine not to include a photo unless one is requested, in which case a straightforward headshot is fine.
But if you are reading this and thinking to yourself “Surely the employer would prefer to see a picture of me with a giant fish? Or a Labrador? Or gazing out over a lagoon? Or maybe I shouldn’t even be in the photo, maybe I should crop myself out of it and just leave the dog?”
Well then, my friend, I’m afraid, you deserve to be mocked by recruitment consultants. Repeatedly.
4. Kicking off with a really dreadful personal motto
Mottos on CVs are a bit silly really. They just are. If the employer asks you at interview “what’s your personal motto?” then that’s the time to dazzle them by unveiling it, but even then it’s probably best to run it past someone else first and make sure it isn’t really rubbish.
So there you have it folks, with any luck you are thinking “What sort of terrible idiot would include a picture of their dog?” and if you are, then that’s good, because it means that you probably have a very respectable CV. But know that there are others out there that genuinely thought that this – or one of the other howlers on our list – was a good idea. All of the above are based on real applications that we have received during our careers in recruitment.
But if you’re thinking “that gives me an idea…” and leafing through your albums for a picture that shows Rex off to his full potential, then I guess you haven’t learned a thing…