If you’ve been out of the job market for some time – perhaps because you’ve worked your way up within the same company for many years and not needed a formal CV or resume, or maybe because you’ve taken a career break – writing your CV for the first time can seem like a minefield. Here’s part two of my ’10 things to avoid when writing your CV’. The final instalment to follow next week…! If you missed part one, check out my earlier blog post.
- Using a hard-to-read font style, or font size
Writing a good CV takes a lot of time and effort. Obviously it’s vital to get the content right, but it’s also just as important that the recruiter can easily read it. It goes without saying that the font you choose should look professional, whatever the job for which you’re applying. Arial and Calibri are good standard fonts, as is Verdana. Personally, I think Times New Roman looks a bit old-fashioned, and I would also avoid Courier – unless you want people to think that you produced your CV on a typewriter…. Size- wise, anything below 10 pt is likely to be difficult to read.
- Incorrect contact information
In the days when companies used to write to applicants to invite them to interview, it was usual to include your full postal address on your CV. Nowadays, most employers and agencies will email to invite you to interview, and in the case of agencies, usually phone you first. It is therefore absolutely essential that your contact information is not only easily found, but also correct. This may sound an obvious statement, but it is so easy to mistype an email address, and as your contact details are something you’re so familiar with, it’s easy to just skim over them when proof-reading your CV.
- Including a photo
In the modern world of social media, it may seem strange advice to avoid including a photo within your CV. Surely, you cry, any recruiter will be able to see what I look like on LinkedIn, or Facebook? Yes they will, and you should also give that some consideration when starting to apply for jobs, but that’s an article for another day. ..
It remains a fact that we all have biases, whether conscious or unconscious. Consider why it is that you want to include a photo. You may be hoping to play to the recruiter’s positive biases and feel that seeing what you look like will help your application. However, you may also unwittingly trigger negative (and probably unconscious) biases which may result in a prospective employer viewing your CV less favourably. Yes, any recruiter or employer can look you up – and probably will – on LinkedIn or Facebook, but why encourage them to assess your CV based on anything other than your experience and skills?