Did you know that there is such a thing as ‘over-share’ when it comes to applying for jobs? While most job seekers pride themselves in being forthcoming, there are certain things you simply should not include in your CV.
Let’s begin with your personal information and those demographic details that actually bear no relevance to your application. While some demographic information is requested for statistical purposes – or in South Africa for Employment Equity purposes – be sure that you are comfortable disclosing this information and that you do not feel that you might be discriminated against during the application process for having included it.
For instance, your marital or relationship status should have no relevance on your ability to do the job. It is also not necessary to disclose whether or not you have any dependants. Similarly, your age or religion should be of no concern to your future employers. The only time that you might choose to disclose your age is if you are nearing retirement and the company would therefore have to replace you in the very near future. You would of course also disclose if you are a minor – in which case you most likely shouldn’t be employing for full-time employment anyway. Unless you think that you might be getting a birthday card, don’t include your birthday either.
It is always a general guideline to exclude your Identity Number from your Curriculum Vitae in the interest of protecting your CV against identity theft. However, when you submit your CV to any online job portal, you will most likely be asked to enter your Identity Number in order to validate that you are a legitimate person and to prevent duplication of your profile on their databases. These portals usually protect your personal details with a secure login. However if you have the option to upload your own CV as an attachment to your profile, rather remove your ID from the uploaded CV portion anyway. If the recruiter needs it for any reason, they will request it from you.
You may be asked during an interview or on an application form to disclose your race and disability status. While you are not compelled to include this information in your original Curriculum Vitae, it is probably best you disclose this during the short-listing stage if asked, as many companies require this information in order to meet their Employment Equity hiring quotas. If you are in doubt as to why you must provide this information, simply ask the interviewer politely as to the relevance of this question.
To further protect your confidentiality, never include your residential address on your CV. It is sufficient to simply list your suburb or region. This will give the recruiter an idea of where you are located for interviewing purposes, but will not give away your full physical address. If the recruiter needs it in order to present you with an offer, they can request this from you later.
It is alarming to see how many job applicants think that their outside interests and hobbies are actually of any interest to the recruiter. If the recruiter really wants to know how you entertain yourself after hours or what your interests are beyond work then they will most likely ask these questions during the interview stage.
Your initial Curriculum Vitae should be concise and to the point describing your skills and abilities in relation to the job you are applying to. It is therefore not necessary to list all your high school achievements or accolades either. Unless you are a recent school-lever, this information is less important to a recruiter when considering your ability to perform in the job.
It is often considered distasteful to include your photograph on your CV. Not only does it appear somewhat tacky, it could also be considered as discriminatory should a recruiter judge an applicant on their appearance in the photograph. Your skills should market your suitability for the job, your presentation skills will be considered at the interview stage. Don’t afford recruiters an opportunity to judge you before they have even screened your CV or had the opportunity to let you sell yourself in the interview.
Your medical history is also not required on your CV. Whether or not you have a medical condition should not be used against or for you during the initial application phase. If for any reason you do suffer from a medical condition that might require the company to revisit their office access, or where you might be required to be absent for extended periods of time, then you might choose to disclose this during a final interview, certainly not upfront in your CV.
The same goes for your criminal status. While it is best to be honest, including any mention of a criminal record is not necessary in your CV. If the recruiter has a policy on criminal backgrounds, then they will mention this during the interview or screening phase. If you have been asked to disclose your criminal status, and you have been convicted of an offense, it is best to be honest about it. Unless you were convicted for an offense directly relating to the inherent requirement of the job (i.e. you were convicted for fraud and you are applying for position in accounts), then the recruiter may not discriminate against you. Most financial institutions in South Africa have a strict policy against this, but again it is not necessary to put this into your CV. If asked, only then do you disclose this level of information.
Now that we have covered the personal and demographic information, there is one more tip that we leave you with: Never ever bad mouth your previous employer or boss in your CV. If your reason for leaving was due to a bad relationship with your previous employer, simply list your reason for leaving as ‘to be discussed in the interview’ and only then explain the reason for your conflict – still, not slating them in the interview as this will make you look bad, even if you were not the evil one in the relationship.
Remember, at all times be honest and never misleading, and let your strengths be what stands out first in order to secure the interview.