It’s common knowledge that recruiters only spend a few seconds glancing over a CV before moving on to the next one in the pile. For this reason, it is crucial that you, the job applicant, remove anything superfluous from your CV that could distract the recruiter from what you really have to offer – or worse, cause them to quickly decide that you aren’t right for the job.
We asked several employment specialists to identify which elements of a CV should be changed right away in order for the value of your experience, education and attitude to shine on the page. No matter where you are in your career path, your CV should catch and keep the attention of recruiters who are looking for the ideal individual for a position.
Here are the 8 things that you need to remove from your CV – today!
1. Banal tasks
Make the descriptions of previous jobs on your CV more readable and enlightening by removing any mention of tasks that are uninteresting and dull: data entry, customer follow-ups and making phone calls are all tasks that can be covered with a brief mention of “related tasks”.
“Going into detail about routine, banal tasks on your CV saps the time and energy of a recruiter, and minimizes the impact of the more important things you did in your previous positions,” confirms Monique Soucy, a career management coach. Instead, your CV should focus on important tasks you did and the successes you enjoyed, especially ones that are relevant to the position you are applying for.
2. Your career plan
When it comes to applying for a new job, a potential employer wants to know what you can do for them, not what they can do for you. In the introductory section of your CV, avoid talking about your ideal career path. “Many candidates make the mistake of focusing primarily on their interests, as opposed to their skills, talents and qualities,” says Monique Soucy. If you really want to talk about your professional aspirations, do so in your cover letter, not your CV.
3. The word “professional”
Do you explicitly mention that you are a “professional” in your CV, with the hope that this will make a good impression on a recruiter or employer? In reality, this is a bad idea. “Using the term professional is unnecessary – implicitly, all organizations want to hire professionals. Being a professional is a must, not an asset,” says career development and management coach Nadine Beaupré. If you’re really trying to land a job, being professional goes without saying.
4. The word “management”
While using the word “management” in your CV is appropriate in some situations, many people use it incorrectly as a catch-all for minor tasks and responsibilities. “A recruiter may end up with the idea that the candidate is applying for a management position for which they may not be qualified,” says Isabelle Bédard, Director for CIB Développement organisationnel. Unless you are actually applying for a management position, don’t risk confusing a recruiter with this word.
5. The expression “teamwork”
Many candidates think it’s important to mention that they are comfortable being part of a team. The problem is that this is an essential requirement for a majority of workplaces, and should be treated as a prerequisite, not an additional skill. “It today’s workplaces, you need to offer more than just being able to work as part of a team – you need to be an informal influencer and leader!” says Nadine Beaupré. In other words, to really stand out from the pack, you need to show that you can find your niche within a team.
6. The expression “results-oriented”
Saying that you are “results-oriented” is usually intended to mean that you take your work seriously and that you strive to meet and surpass the goals and objectives as defined by your employer. But think about it – isn’t being focused on results something that recruiters and employers expect from all of their employees? “Using this expression was common in the early 2000’s, but today, saying that you are results-oriented doesn’t have any value in the eyes of a recruiter. It’s outdated to the point that it’s no longer used in the descriptions of job offers,” says Isabelle Bédard. Skip using these buzzwords; recruiters will appreciate it.
7. The word “versatile”
Using versatility as a descriptor of your abilities is a double-edged sword. Possessing a wide range of skills may make you a valuable resource, but not if your skills are superficial in nature. “A candidate who tries to be too broad when describing the scope of their abilities risks not being able to distinguish themselves in the areas where they really shine,” explains Catherine Leduc, career counselor at Brisson Legris. Instead of describing yourself in broad terms, use your CV to clearly specify the value that you can bring to an organization.
8. Spelling and grammar mistakes
Mistakes of this nature are simply unacceptable in any CV. Your CV is a summary of all your skills and professional experience; by including obvious mistakes, you show recruiters and employers that you are a negligent person who doesn’t take the time to do things properly.