The Dangers of CV Overkill

Nearly everything written about CV design concentrates on what you should put in. But let’s look at what should be left out, or at least minimised.

  1. Salary history or salary requirements. I’ve never heard one good reason to mention your past, current, or expected salary. If you see a classified ad that says, ‘Only CVs with salary history will be considered,’ don’t believe it. If your CV is strong enough, you’ll be contacted. Once contacted, be forthright.
  2. References. If you have copies of high-impact or well-known professional references, great. You can provide a copy to your consultant and give them permission to forward it on to an employer prior to your interview if they agree it will improve your chances and be seen in a favourable light. Otherwise, ‘References: Available Upon Request’ will do just fine. Avoid personal references like your minister or lawyer.
  3. Superfluous materials. When submitting a CV, avoid enclosing such items as your thesis, photos, diplomas, transcripts, product samples, newspaper articles, blueprints, designs, or letters of recommendation. These are props you can use during your interview, but not before. The only thing that’s acceptable is your CV.
  4. Personal information. Leave out anything other than the absolute essentials such as address, telephone number, email address. By listing your date of birth, nationality, marital status, dependents, save-the-whales activism or support group, you could give the employer a reason to think twice or suspect that your outside activities may interfere with your work.

Not long ago, I received an application from a candidate who felt the need to put their golf handicap on his CV. The person must have thought that kind of information might improve their chances of being interviewed. Given the choice, would I provide this information to an employer? No,  not unless it was for a job at a golf club !

Remember, the greater the relevance of the information on your CV and the needs of the employer, the more seriously your application will be considered. Say what you need to get the job and nothing more.

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