Embarrassing CV’s – the mistakes you must avoid!
Selfies – Unless you are applying for an appearance related job, such as modelling, or your employer asks for a photo, it;s a no-no. Recent research shows that attractive women sending in photographs makes them less likely to be employed – its best to err on the side of caution and let your future employer base their decision on your experience, skills and professionalism.
Typos – With spell checking programmes, there really isn’t any excuse to send in a CV with spelling mistakes or poor grammar – if you include them, unless you have severe dyslexia, you appear like someone who cannot pay attention to detail, and therefore not a desirable employee. Example – “I have had sex jobs so far…” – we are sure he meant six!!! Easy fix – Take a minute to hit the spell check button!
References from Relatives – employers are not idiots, ‘My Mum’ is never going to cut it as a character reference. Easy fix – If its your first job and you don’t have previous work experience, ask a teacher, local minister or family friend who has a professional standing in the community and knows you well.
Fancy borders, patterns and lines – your C.V. represents your business history, so few employers are impressed by something that looks like a perfume advert. The exception to this may be in the creative industry, where something unusual may make you stand out from the rest – but bear in mind, you need more than a standard Word border to show originality, so unless your design really does show some creative flair that they’ve never seen before, keep it simple!
Unprofessional Email addresses – there really isn’t much to be said about using ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ as your contact address yet I’m amazed at how many equally inappropriate email addresses I’ve seen on CV’s. Newsflash – Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo all offer normal sounding email addresses as well as vanity ones, so keep your fun addresses for your friends and family and use a professional address for your professional communication.
Quotes – whilst an appropriate quite can seem to you like something distinctive, it often just comes across as naff and pretentious… in other words, your C.V. will stand out for all the wrong reasons. Better to stick to your professional accomplishments and leave your philosophy for your home life.
Gross Exaggerations – Whilst to a certain extent, everyone is prone to embellishing on their CV’s, don’t take it to extreme levels – if you were the tea boy, nobody is going to be impressed if you award yourself the honorary title of ‘Beverage Services Manager’ – they’ll just think you are a pretentious muppet, and won’t even hire you to make their tea.
Big Gaps – if you have a gap in employment, its better to be honest and say you were not employed in that period/ were caring for your children/ recovering from an illness/ Taking a break rather than to just leave a gap.
Linked In, Facebook and Twitter – if you are job hunting, be aware that many employers now take a look at social media profiles of people they may wish to employ. If every picture of you on social media shows you looking dishevelled with a pint in your hand whilst you rant extremist views injected with bad language, you won’t look like a desirable employee. Linked In is a professional site, so keep your profile picture professional rather than glamorous, and if you don’t want employers seeing your private life, make sure your settings are that – private!
Criticising former employers – no matter how unreasonable your last boss was, it won’t go down well if your C.V. or Linked In profile gives your opinion on them in gory detail, nor will slightly veiling that fact work. Keep your Linked In professional too – sarcastic comments like ‘I was only given one client in the entire time (all of 4 months) I worked there…hmmm…enough said’ won’t be read empathetically, they just make you look like you are challenging to manage and confrontational – qualities which are not generally desired by employers.
Overall, none of this should come as a surprise, its all common sense. If in doubt, put yourself in the seat, looking through CV’s – what would you think?