Debunking misconceptions about what you should and should not put on your CV.

Addressing misconceptions people have about what to include on their CV

The resume. Writing a resume is almost always a daunting prospect, and there is so much contradictory advice on the internet it is often hard to know what information you should follow. Resumes vary from country to country, profession to profession and have also changed considerably over the years. The CV of today is an entirely different beast to those that our parents were writing.

On the one hand, there are some things which all experts agree should never find their way into your CV. Personal details such as your age and marital status are outdated and unnecessary. In fact, it is illegal for employers to use this information in their selection process. Likewise, photos are at best cheesy, and at worst discriminatory.

On the other hand, there are some things which fall into a grey area, for example, objectives. Often at the beginning of resumes, you will be advised to have an “objective” paragraph. It may begin with something like “Hardworking go-getting seeking a role in fortune 500 company.” Phrases like this mean nothing to recruiters. It’s up to them to decide these things for themselves when they meet you. If you are applying for a specific position, it is pretty clear what your objective is. There is no need to write it down. However, there are some exceptions. For example, if you have minimal career history or if you are a career changer. In these cases, an objective section on your CV could come in useful to clarify your intentions if you can’t otherwise do so in a cover letter. Just steer clear of useless filler words and stick to stating your goals clearly and concisely.

A good rule of thumb is to think about the purpose of your CV and modify it to that end. For example, if you are an executive with years of experience, the best option might be a chronological CV[1], while on the other hand if you are a career changer, you might be better to focus on a functional resume[2]. There is no one size fits all solution for everybody.