5 things not to put on your CV

Here’s 5 things that people commonly put on their CV which are a waste of space and simply clutter up the real story you should be telling:

1. Good timekeeper – Seriously, why say this? Every employer works on the assumption that you can get out of bed in the morning!

2. Enthusiastic – Again, why say this? Employers start off assuming that you are enthusiastic about the job since you’re applying for it.

3. Team Player – Unless you are a lighthouse keeper or a hermit the odds are that you have to work or interact with other human beings so of course you’re a team player – we all are.

4. Bubbly – Just don’t put this on your CV. If it’s on there, delete it. NOW.

5. Hard working and reliable – As with the other points, this is taken as a given by any potential employer.

The main thing to always bear in mind with a CV is that it’s only real purpose is to get you an interview and you do that by telling the employer what you have to offer by way of experience and/or potential.

Interests on a CV

What interests (if any) should you put on a CV?

Firstly, it is a good idea to put some interests on a CV as it helps to portray you as a person – not just a name on a piece of paper.

What interests should I put down?

It’s easier to list what you shouldn’t put! Many employers can be very quickly put off a candidate by the wrong interests against which they have some, perhaps hidden, prejudice such as a particular football team or music. The basic rule of thumb is to avoid being too specific. So, you may like reading but don’t list the authors you read. You may be a computer gamer but don’t mention which games.

A good list would be:

Reading, sport, keeping fit and music.

A bad list would be:

Reading the works of Chaucer, supporting Tottenham Hotspur*, Step Aerobics and listening to 1970’s Disco.

You need to avoid anything that could be seen as divisive or about which people have strong opinions or misconceptions. So, keep it simple and you’ll stand a much better chance of getting the interview which is the whole point of a CV.


*Nothing against Spurs by the way!

What Font to use in a CV?

This is a commonly asked question and it makes a big difference to your CV.

Basically, you should use a modern looking font that is easy to read and not too dense.

Some fonts have a smaller gap between letters and these are useful if your CV has run into an extra page by just a line or two as changing font can significantly shorten a CV. Try switching between Calibri and Arial and you’ll see what I mean.

Avoid using Times New Roman or similar fonts like Georgia as they make your CV (and you by inference!) look dated. Equally you should avoid Comic Sans like the plague!

The best thing to do is experiment with different fonts and see how they can make your CV appear until you find one you’re happy with.

Spelling Mistakes

Just had a CV in for review and it had the following as an opening Key Skill:


Why didn’t they spot this!!

It’s simple. Firstly they haven’t properly read their own CV and secondly it’s in UPPER CASE. Why does this matter?
Because Word doesn’t look for spelling mistakes when words are in upper case and we’re all so reliant on spell checkers that we’ve become lazy with our spelling.
So, do not use UPPER CASE in your CV and make sure you get someone else to proof read what you’ve written – they’ll spot your mistakes!

Magazine Style CV

We’ve noticed a growing trend for CVs in what we refer to as a magazine format.

Basically the CV is written like a page from a magazine with small snippets of information dotted around the page with different fonts and different colour backgrounds – much like you might see in Hello! or OK! magazine.

These CVs look great but they are a major mistake.

Magazine pages are laid out that way for a very specific set of reasons. Their authors know that their readers are essentially scan reading articles whilst relaxing or killing time and are looking to be informed, entertained or even titillated by sometime random snippets of information.

The person reading a CV is in a completely different mind set.

They are focused on extracting key pieces of information that will tell them if the person they are reading about has the experience and/or qualifications to do the job vacancy that they are looking to fill. If you make that task hard for them – they’ll give up looking and move onto the next one! The information has to be where they are used to looking for it.

So, please, make it easy for the person reading your CV!

A good CV – 91% rating!

We reviewed one of the best CV’s that we’ve had in for ages today.

Pretty much everything had been done correctly and we had to really nit-pick to find anything wrong with it!

Against our 10 key criteria it scored 91% which is fantastic when you consider that our average score is 74%.

The only areas that this CV had mistakes in were all in minor formatting points which is something very rare for the CV’s that we normally see. When we sent the review back we included a note to the effect that it would really be a waste of money having any work done on what was (very nearly) a perfect CV!

Reasons for Leaving

We often see CVs where people have put down their reasons for leaving against each of their jobs.

This is generally unnecessary and can be counter-productive.

During an interview one of the main conversation points is going to be the reasons behind your career moves and if it’s all written down then you’ll have nothing to discuss!

If you’ve been made redundant from your last 2/3/4 roles, then writing this down may actually prevent you getting an interview in the first place.

Remember, a CV is designed to get you an interview so you must avoid giving the reader any reason for not seeing you.

Spelling Mistakes

Latest 3 CV spelling mistakes are errors that just don’t get picked up by spell checkers:

Roll instead of Role

Manger instead of Manager

Collage instead of College

If you do nothing else with your CV – get someone else to proof read it.