Writing your first CV? Despite all the templates out there, it’s still hard to figure out what to put on it, especially when you’re just starting out on the career ladder. Here are 5 common CV dilemmas and my answer to them.
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1. But I’ve Only Ever Had One Job!
You’re applying for a position but you’ve only ever worked for one company and your CV looks a little bare in the ‘jobs’ department. Don’t worry, that’s not a problem; all you need to do is play to your strengths.
First of all, working for one company shows you’re a loyal worker, which is definitely worth mentioning. Being loyal to a company is a really attractive asset for a future employer, so don’t be afraid to mention it, if not flaunt it.
Adding to this, you can also place emphasis on the fact you’ve been focusing on career growth in that company. Employers love applicants who are ambitious and including evidence of this will only help you.
All that white space on the page to focus on just one job also means you can really expand on your role within the company and all of your successes. Just keep the format clear and easy to read – bullet points go down a treat.
2. I’ve Had Lots of Jobs
Whilst some people are struggling to find things to say on their CV, others have far too much. If you’ve had lots of roles, with varied responsibilities in each, how do you work out which bits of include and which bits to chop? Because you do need to chop some – with only rare exceptions, a CV shouldn’t exceed 2 sides of A4 because employers just won’t read it all.
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Should you include that McDonalds job you had when you were 15? If you’re applying for a relevant position, such as a sales assistant or a retail manager, keep it in. Otherwise, and if you’ve had plenty of jobs since, cut it out.
When it comes to giving details of what you did in each role, expand upon your one or two most recent roles because these are what employers are most interested in, and simply give a line or a handful of bullet points with your main responsibilities in jobs further back.
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3. Should I Include a Photo in My CV?
It’s a hotly debated one but my personal opinion is probably don’t bother, unless it’s for a specific job, such as modelling.
It is not expected by employers to have a photo of candidates; in other words, it’s not what they are looking for. Some recruiters even remove photos before sending them to their client so there’s no guarantee they’ll even see your lovely face.
As human beings, however hard we try, we often crumble to prejudice and form a split second opinion of someone on his or her looks. It’s not always a bad impression, but why take the risk by including a photo of yourself? Let your academic credentials and experience do the talking. Leave the interview for first impressions.
4. Is it Right to Include Your Date of Birth on Your CV?
This one has a pretty simple answer and it is “no”. You shouldn’t include your date of birth anywhere on your CV. Legislation, like the Employment Equality Regulations (2006) and now the Equality Act (2010) are in place to stop age discrimination in employment.
There is no need for you to include your date of birth in your CV as employers no longer expect to know their applicants’ age. It has been argued by some that to include your date of birth will often give you a disadvantage, compared to everyone else. For this one I think it’s safer to leave it out.
5. What Can I Put in My ‘Interests’ Section?
Almost every CV has a little line or two near the end for ‘other interests’ or ‘hobbies’. Will employers actually read this bit? Well, some won’t, but some will. Most employers like to see a candidate who shows a bit of personality, rather than a robot who’s all work-work-work.
After all, most work environments thrive best when they’re 95% professionalism and 5% having fun and socialising – it builds a good team spirit and a happier workplace is often a more productive one, too.
But what can you put here that doesn’t sound like a cliché from your university UCAS application? Try to be a bit more interesting than “I like reading, listening to music and going to the cinema”. After all, that describes most of the Western population! What do you do that sets you apart? Do you play a musical instrument, write a blog or host a weekly knitting session? Write that!
Stick to these guidelines and you’ll have the most attractive CV in town. Writing work experience will always be a great asset to your CV, so remember not to neglect it. Happy job hunting!
Can you think of any other CV errors that are easy to make? Share them in the comments.
About Author: Joseph Raynor is an enthusiastic blogger who knows the importance of putting together a good CV. He writes for GKBCinc.