When less is more on a CV

While the war for talent may be real in certain sectors, for the majority of job seekers that doesn’t mean they’re receiving job offers left, right, and centre. In fact, plenty of openings will easily attract upwards of 100 applications, meaning candidates have to put in some serious effort to stand out.

Unfortunately, some candidates take it a little too far. In a Glassdoor blog post, executive CV writer Anish Majumdar lists the seven signs of a CV that’s trying too hard. We’ve picked our favourite three below.


1. Infographics

When you know your CV might end up on a pile with 99 other ones, it can be tempting to want to make it “stand out”. And while Majumdar admits it can look impressive, he points out that focusing too much on the design of your CV can lead to one big problem. “In 99% of cases, what I’m left remembering isn’t the person or the accomplishments, the but the design wizardry.”

2. Mimicking the job posting

According to Majumdar, employers aren’t looking for yes men, but instead want someone who will bring something extra. That’s not to say you should completely ignore the job description and blindly type up your CV and cover letter based on the facts of your work experience.

As with so many things in life, they key is to find the middle way. Think about how your experience matches certain parts of the job requirements, and make sure to emphasise the skills listed under Must Haves in the job ad. Supplement this with additional skills or experience not mentioned in the ad, as they will help you stand out from the crowd.

3. Giving equal emphasis to every job held

Most people will have developed their CV over time. From the first version filled with parttime jobs and internships, to the current three pager describing their complete professional career. While it’s understandable to want to display your full career path, in this case less is more, and when applying for a job it’s important to help the recruiter focus on your most relevant experience.


If it’s not relevant, summarise in 1 to 2 lines. “Too much space used on irrelevant positions makes you look low-level, or directionless,” Majumdar warns.


This article was first published in Human Resources and is reproduced with permission. Original article can be found at http://www.humanresourcesonline.net/when-less-is-more-on-a-cv/