What to avoid when developing your resume or CV
The aim of your resume/CV is to sell your experience, skills and qualifications so you can secure an interview when you apply for a job.
To give your CV or resume the best chance of success, it should only include information which is relevant to the job you are applying for. This means it should exclude any unnecessary information that can detract from your skills and experience.
Below is a list of information that should be avoided when developing your resume/CV:
Date of birth
The majority of job applicants would prefer that recruiters/employers focus on the quality of their skills and experience outlined in their resume/CV and not their age. This is especially the case if you are a younger or older worker and are concerned that employers/recruiters may make assumptions about the type of employee you will be based on your stage of life. In Australia, the Age Discrimination Act 2004 makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate on the basis of age during recruitment and selection processes. As a result, it isn’t necessary to include your date of birth or age on your resume/CV.
Even though there is legislation in Australia which prohibits employers discriminating against people on the basis of their gender, racial background, disability and age (Sex Discrimination Act 1984, Racial Discrimination Act 1975, Disability Discrimination Act 1992 and Age Discrimination Act 2004), using a photo on your resume/CV may lead to some sort of bias, whether it is intentional or not. Therefore, don’t provide a photo unless it is specifically requested as part of the recruitment process. The focus of your resume/CV should be on your skills and experience – not your appearance!
Information in your resume/CV should be not only relevant, but recent. With this in mind, remove any obsolete training from your resume/CV, as well as any qualifications from school (unless you were at school in the last three years). With your employment history, only show your last ten years of employment unless you are demonstrating a track record of achievement in a particular sector or area of expertise. Even so, if you have more than 15 years of experience, you should place more emphasis and provide more detail on your recent work history.
Relationship status and other personal information
There was a time when your relationship status may have been included in your resume/CV. That time has passed. There is no requirement to include any information about your relationship status or history in your resume/CV. This information, as well as any other personal information, including your religion or nationality, is irrelevant when applying for a job and should not be included.
Generally, a section on hobbies or other pursuits should not be included in your resume/CV. However, there is one exception to this and that is when your hobbies are relevant to the job you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a job as a mechanic and you enjoy restoring vintage cars in your spare time, then include this hobby in your resume/CV. Also, if you engage in some volunteering as a hobby and have developed a particular skillset that is relevant to the job you are applying for, then it is worthwhile including this volunteering experience.
Why you left a job
There is no need to provide any information in your resume/CV about why you left a particular job. People leave jobs for all kinds of reasons including family circumstances, financial reasons, the need for more stability, because they are relocating – the list goes on. Very few people have a ‘job for life’ these days and as such, employers and recruiters expect people to have a varied work history.
Fancy graphics and formatting
When developing your resume/CV, steer away from using flashy graphics, colours, text boxes and columns which might prevent your resume/CV getting through an Applicant Tracking System (ATS) and, which may lead to it being viewed unfavourably by recruiters/employers. Keep your focus on ensuring your resume/CV is well-structured, clear and easy to read.
Juvenile or inappropriate email addresses
When providing a contact email address on your resume/CV, make sure it is business-like and appropriate. If you have to, set up a new email address specifically for your job applications.
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