Apr 12, 2021

4 minutes

You may be a job seeker who wants to land that dream job or seeking to get that promotion at work, but your efforts seem futile. It is about time you change your “bad luck” into “good fortune” by improving the most important aspect of your job-seeking process, your resume!

You may be missing the mark if you are not hearing back from companies that should have been a perfect fit. Usually, the answer does not lie within your suitability, but within your ability to convey that suitability to recruiters in your CV.

Here are a few pointers on what not to include in your CV inspired by @therealcvguru on Twitter and ultimately becoming a highly sort after candidate.

Career Objective

According to @therealcvguru your career objective can make you stay away from what is important. The most important and effective way to introduce yourself is by conveying your value to a potential employer. Therefore, seek to communicate what you can do, why you are the perfect hire, and how you can solve a problem.

Most career objectives just communicate what you are seeking rather than what you can offer. You must prove your value by communicating what makes you the best candidate for the position you are applying for.

Personal Information

Including personal information like your home address, ID number, date of birth, marital status, age etc. has been used over time in structuring one’s CV but according to @therealcvguru, it is redundant to include such information because if you get hired the company will likely have to conduct a background check.

Photos/ Head Shots

Every human being has an inherent bias in every aspect of life. Assuming that a recruiter is unlikely to be biased is quite superficial. Unless the job you are applying for is dependent on your looks or appearance including a headshot relates to putting yourself in the crossfire of criticism. This might shift the recruiter’s focus from your skills and experience which are more important.

Additional documents

Being that your resume is an important document, it should be a stand-alone document. You should avoid combing other additional documents such as your certificates and copy of your ID to your CV unless requested otherwise, in which case you should attach the documents separately.

Buzzwords/ Cliches

@therealcvguru discusses words that have been overused and therefore lost meaning. You should avoid such words when structuring your CV because the essence of what you are communicating will lose tastefulness. The recruiter might pass you over for the next best candidate not because you lack skill but because you were not convincing or outstanding.

On the other hand, do not be ambiguous. Keep it simple, interesting and edgy!


Graphics might be very captivating for the human eye but with the advent of using hiring software’s in the hiring processes, including graphics such as charts, tables, logos etc. might not be compatible depending on the software.

The most common AI in this realm is called applicant tracking software (ATS). Using algorithms and proprietary code, ATS scans a giant stack of virtual resumes to identify candidates meeting specific criteria.

Once the AI finds potential candidates matching those presets, the program whittles down that huge stack to a smaller, more manageable pile. Then only these applications get passed along to hiring managers.

Therefore, avoiding graphics that may deem your resume unreadable to the ATS (depending on which ATS it is) will put you at an advantage.

Unnecessary Fluff

Avoiding unnecessary fluff is simply avoiding unimportant “extra” details. @therealcvguru gives an example of having your CV titled “Curriculum Vitae…” She points out that you only have a few seconds to prove to the recruiter that you are worth a second glance and unnecessary details will not help to that end. Get to the point!

Long paragraphs

Long CVs do not get read in full and sometimes important information gets buried at the bottom – which leads to good candidates being skipped over.

Social Media Links

Do not just include social media links because you see other CV formatting techniques doing the same rather be intentional with your social media links. Unless you are adding your LinkedIn profile, other social media platforms will only apply if they are showcasing your skills and professional abilities in relation to what you are applying for.


Some references speak only to specific skill sets. Therefore, adding references should be relevant to what you are applying for. You might have gathered a good number of references in you career so, not including them gives you time to choose which references you would like to pass along for each role.

Lastly, @therealcvguru points out that there are several different CV formats being adjusted every other day, and if you take every piece of advice that comes your way, you will constantly have to keep changing your CV. We should therefore be critical with the advice we decide to take up.

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