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What shouldn't go on your CV (plus CV checklist)

what shouln't go on your cv
This blog is part of our Believe in Possible series. If you’re ready for something different next year, we want you to know that change is possible. And we’re here to help. Get ready for next year’s opportunities. Update and upload your CV. We’ll take care of the rest. Learn more. 


70% of employers say they reject job applications based on CV mistakes (Business Daily News via Fast Company).


Here are LinkedIn’s top recommendations for things to avoid putting on your CV. At the end of this post, you’ll find a handy CV checklist. 

 

What shouldn’t go on your CV | #1: Irrelevant details


Does your prospective boss need to know that you won a poetry competition aged 11? Probably not (unless that’s somehow relevant to the role you’re applying for). 


Keep information to a minimum on your CV - give only the most valuable information. Think of your CV as a conversation starter. You want to use it to spark interest in you as a candidate, rather than overwhelming employers with a mountain of unnecessary details.

 

What shouldn’t go on your CV | #2: Elaborate formatting


You’ve probably seen those creative CVs that do the rounds every now and then. Spotify candidates have sent in applications based on the platform’s interface. Designers have created beautifully visual CVs.


But for most of us, elaborate CV formats are not only unnecessary, they’re unhelpful. Unless you are applying for a highly creative role, and you’re totally confident in your design skills, unconventional CVs can create confusion for an employer, who will most likely discard your application rather than spending time trying to decipher it.

 

What shouldn’t go on your CV | #3: Unexplained gaps in your employment 


Although this shouldn’t be the case, unfortunately, employment gaps do still raise red flags for many hiring managers. 


If you have a gap in your employment history, don’t panic! But equally, don’t avoid addressing it. Instead, acknowledge the gap and give a brief explanation. You can always discuss the gap in more detail if you’re selected for interview.

 

What shouldn’t go on your CV | #4: More than two pages of information


This advice still holds true - unless you’re the CEO of a major organisation, you’re unlikely to need a CV that is more than two pages in length. 


Think about it this way: a hiring manager will probably be sifting through tens if not hundreds of CVs a week. They won’t have the time or energy to read through pages and pages of information. Keep it short, sweet and to the point, and the person reading your CV is more likely to remember you. 

 

What shouldn’t go on your CV | #5: The wrong company name


Probably the cringiest mistake - and one that most of us are probably too embarrassed to admit that we’ve made! 


Make sure any references to the company name are correct! Having a competitor’s name in the document title or in the top profile is a surefire way to have your CV cast into the reject pile.

 

What shouldn’t go on your CV | #6: Claims without proof points


Don’t make generic claims on your CV. 


Here’s an example: “I increased sales within my team.”


This gives no information about your specific achievements and skills. 


Instead, try: “By introducing a new customer relationship management system and pioneering its use throughout the team, I helped to increase sales by 10% on the previous financial year.”


Specific examples backed up by evidence are much more compelling.

 

What shouldn’t go on your CV | #7: Poor spelling and grammar


Poor spelling and grammar will have hiring managers questioning your professionalism and attention to detail (of course, this doesn’t apply to those with a learning difficulty like dyslexia). 


Often make spelling and grammar mistakes? Grammarly is your friend! Just make sure you’ve set it to British English. 

 

What shouldn’t go on your CV | #8: A .doc or .pages file 


ALWAYS save your CV as a PDF! Enough said.

 

CV checklist


Use this checklist to make sure your CV is in mint condition:
  • No spelling and grammar issues
  • Document has correct company name 
  • File name is correct 
  • CV has two pages or fewer 
  • All claims backed up by evidence
  • All career gaps accounted for
  • Document saved as PDF
 

Next steps


Want to write a CV that stands out? Check out our guide to writing a CV plus a FREE CV template.
 

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