Don’t include your photo in your CV – and other things that could negatively impact you when it comes to getting that job

A young woman works on her CV in a coffee shop.
A young woman works on her CV in a coffee shop.

The changing tide of recruitment and applying for jobs often means that the more succinct you are in terms of providing information, the better.

Prospective employers receive a lot of CVs per day and painstakingly peruse through them. It’s important to make sure yours is error free (get someone to check if you’re not sure) and has enough relevant information to gain the best kind of attention you want.

Of course that means being careful about what you include because while it shouldn’t be the case, there are some things that create unconscious bias and could affect how you’re perceived.

READ MORE: This is why I’ll never recommend a friend for a job again – here’s what I’ve learnt

A while back I read a thread someone tweeted about how a woman revealed that her husband never hires young married women in the industry he works because apparently the women are focused on having children next and the company cannot afford to let women be off for months at a time.

We’re living in wild, sexist times, aren’t we?

The responses to that thread quickly revealed that it’s illegal for Employers to ask anyone about their marital status. And legally, companies aren’t allowed to reject you as a prospective employee based on that.

The thread got us to thinking about the fact that there’s a lot of bias when it comes to revealing certain kinds of information about yourself – and while you shouldn’t have to hide innocuous facts like your marriage status, discrimination in the workplace still happens.

We’ve rounded up a list of things you should probably avoid including on your CV.

READ MORE: Is it still necessary to add references to your CV?

Don’t include your age

If you’re worried that your age may count against you, leave it off your CV. Yes, your employer will eventually know these details, but you want them to be interested in your skills and not just your skills in relation to your age.

The debate around age and experience has been a contentious one for quite a while. In fact, on Youth Day earlier this year, Cyril Ramaphosa appealed to public and private sectors to look beyond experience – or lack thereof when it comes to hiring people.

The point is that we’re living in an ageist society.

Some companies might think you’re too old, while others could consider you too young, but you should never have to be hired simply because people think you’re the right age and therefor the right fit for a job.

Unless you’re applying for a job as a model, don’t include a photo of yourself in your CV

According to HuffPost, including your photo may leave you open to potential bias against you

It also protects companies from discriminating against you based on your race, weight, age and appearance. 

It’s different if your job requires you to be a model or actor since those jobs usually require certain specs based on your image, but if you’re applying for a job as a receptionist or accountant, then your image should be anything but the focus.

Don’t use buzzwords

Go-getter. Self-starter. Innovative and out of the box thinker. These words are clichéd and don’t offer anything new.

The point of your CV is to give you the opportunity to present yourself as someone who can offer the company something unique. Using words that have become nothing but corporate buzzwords shows a lack of effort and results in your CV get in lost in the mire of hundreds of other resumes.

Don’t use fancy fonts or complicated layouts

Your resume should be legible and to the point. It also needs to be simple in design, although that’s not to say you shouldn’t make it look any less attractive. 

But bear in mind that during the screening process anything that makes your CV hard to read or impossible to decipher in terms of order of information because you wanted to opt for something fancy, can make it hard to read.

Avoid listing skills that aren’t relevant to the job you’re applying for

Everyone wants their skills to be as impressive as possible, but some of them might be considered obsolete or not relevant to the job you’re applying for. 

Don’t use the skills you know aren’t relevant to create a filler space if you’re worried and feel that you don’t have enough skills listed to consider a candidate. 

Instead work your skills into your last job, describing what you’ve done on a day to basis. 

It’s also important to not only look at what the company is looking for based on their job advertisement, but to research the company and have an in-depth look into their work ethos to help you position your unique skills in a way that makes your resume attractive to them.

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