What it’s not ok to say on your CV and cover letter.

CV Sam Routledge3It’s obviously not good to make silly spelling mistakes like saying “I farted” instead of “I started”.  But the realms of not ok go much further…

Don’t tell people that you don’t have skills in ….

The amount of applications I have seen where an applicant painstakingly tells me why not to employ them is staggering.  If you are applying to a job where you have a good amount of the skills listed then you do not need to mention the ones you don’t have, certainly don’t tell me that you don’t have them.

Perhaps you don’t have the skills at the required level or have only observed or learned about them?  You can talk about that, but do it positively, tell me what you have observed and what you learned.

If you have learned a similar skill such as using Excel or SPSS and the company wants a different statistical package, you can demonstrate you have learned something similar to a good standard and that you will be able to pick up this new skill easily.

Don’t be disparaging about other companies as a reason for wanting to work for this company

We often say that in order to say why you want to work for a company you need to be aware of their competitors, how this company is different and therefore attractive to you.  This does not mean listing the reasons why other companies are rubbish in your opinion!

Don’t say bad things about the company you worked for last – be discrete no matter how bad it was.

Most people have worked somewhere and it was not to their taste!  Maybe you didn’t like the staff, your boss, the atmosphere, the clients or just the work.  This is not something to mention on your application or really even at interview.

You still will have learned something from the experience, skills, knowledge and even the knowledge that it was not for you.  So if asked about that job, talk about the positives or how it helped you realise your career direction or strengths lay in a different direction.

Don’t tell me on your CV that you were sacked and the reasons why.

You may feel a job where you were fired, or let go stands out like a sore thumb, but no one else knows this.  Maybe you only worked there for a short time so you think it might look odd, but people leave jobs after a short time for lots of reasons.

If you only worked for a few weeks and gained very little from it – you could choose to exclude it. If you worked for a while and feel it’s still useful on your CV then be discrete – talk about the skills and positives.

Humour and opinions.

A job application is not really the place to be making jokes or humorous observations unless asked to do so.   What you think is funny may just fall flat and you may not be taken seriously or worse be seen as inappropriate.

Most companies would like you to share their ethos and values so its natural that you will want to demonstrate this.  Just be careful that strongly held opinions show you in the right light

Photos, date of birth, gender , marital status, are all a no on UK CVs

But in other countries them may be required so you do need to check.

…….Oh and finally,  try not to get the name of the organisation you are applying to wrong!

The dangers of reusing a cover letter or a personal statement on a CV!




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