Myth-busting your CV

When it comes to writing your CV there’s no shortage of information and advice out there, from what you should include, to how long it should be, even to what font to use! (We’ll give you a clue: it’s not Comic Sans).

You’ll get different – and often conflicting – advice from different sources but the truth is that there’s no one way to write your CV. The best, most appropriate CV style for you will be determined by your experience, the industry you’re in, the job you’re going for, and plenty of other factors.

With that in mind, we thought we’d cut through the conflicting advice and dispel a few myths surrounding CVs so you can start building one that’s right for you.

‘It must be two pages long’

This is one of the most common myths surrounding CV writing. Lots of advice websites and resources will tell you that two pages is the optimum length for your CV. Yet while two pages is the best length for some people, for others it simply isn’t appropriate. If you’re a senior partner at a law firm, for example, two pages isn’t going to do you justice!

At the same time, if you’re fresh out of college and looking for your first job, two pages might be too long. If you only have limited experience, keep it to one page and focus on your academic achievements – trying to stretch to two pages will only look odd.

‘You need to detail every job you’ve ever had’

It can be tempting to include you entire employment history on your CV; after all, it shows you’re versatile, hardworking and employable doesn’t it?

No! Including every job, from your paper round at 13-years-old onwards, isn’t necessary and wastes valuable space. You should only list the experience that’s relevant to the job you’re applying for, with details on your responsibilities and achievements within each role.

It’s important to tailor your CV for each individual role, to make it as attractive to employers as possible. If you’re going for a wide range of jobs it’s a good idea to have more than one CV, to give yourself the best possible chance.

“And include your reasons for moving on from each one”

Your employment history shouldn’t simply be a list of the jobs you’ve had, with a couple of details of each role. It should cover the relevant roles with details on what you achieved, and it certainly shouldn’t include the reasons for moving on!

Yes, employers will certainly want to know this, but that comes at the interview stage. It’s important to keep your CV as positive as possible, so detailing the fact that you fell out with your manager and had to leave one of your jobs won’t look good!

‘You should mention your hobbies and interests’

It can be tempting to show you’re not a robot by including some details on your personal life. Yet at this stage recruiters and employers are only concerned with your experience and what you can bring to the role.

Figuring out whether you’ll fit in to their workplace, and whether they’ll be able to work with you, comes when they meet you face-to-face.

‘You should include your references’

While it’s certainly a bonus to have a bank of glowing references from previous bosses, there’s no need to put them on your CV. Referencing comes much later in the recruitment process and is often just a way for employers to check that you’re claims of brilliance – or, at the very least, former employment – are true.

Putting references on your CV not only takes up invaluable space, but could look rather unprofessional. Think about it: if you’re listing the names and contact details of individuals on your CV, then sending that CV out, it doesn’t send a good message.