Working on your CV at the moment? We’ve got some brilliant tips for you – no, that’s not right. We’ve got hold of the world’s worst CV so that we can show you how not to do it.
We spoke to Jenny O’Sullivan, a UK resourcing advisor for O2 Telefónica who has seen hundreds of thousands of CVs, to find out the worst she’s ever come across, as well as her curriculum vitae pet hates, in order to compile the worst CV ever in the world.
I’m actually leaving GoThinkBig at the end of July (apply to have my job here) and am considering handing this into potential future employers. I mean, obviously not. It’s painful. My actual CV is basically perfect, in case anyone is wondering.
Check out the CV, then make sure you read the points below (from top to bottom) to make sure you don’t commit any of the following offences:
- Don’t put a picture on your CV. Not only does it distract from the important info, it also looks totally naff.
- Why is your name so big? It’s taking up way too much space. Save that space for something impressive that’ll knock your future employer’s socks right out of town.
- Er, probably put some contact details on there so people can, er, contact you. Although they probably won’t, considering the multicoloured stars.
- On that note – don’t theme your CV unless it’s in keeping with the job you’re aiming for. Advertising? Yes. Design? Yes. A part-time retail position in a phone shop? No.
- Separate your CV into sections: you can have a personal bio if you like, just a line or two describing who you are and what you’re doing (i.e. I’m a freelance writer published in a wide variety of magazines and websites from Prima Baby to The Evening Standard looking for shift work, freelance work and holiday cover) then go straight into “previous experience” followed by “skills” and “education”. Clearly labelled.
- If your bar job isn’t relevant to the position you’re applying for, don’t put it on.
- Put dates next to each position, please. Please please.
- Once you’ve put where you worked and when, bullet-point or list the duties and skills you gained. And show, don’t just tell. So, instead of putting that I wrote the best celebrity articles you’ve ever seen in your life, I’d find out the stories that got the most hits and interest or if I broke any big scandals. Also, apart from being resolutely untrue, it sounds like I’m really up myself. So avoid that, too.
- Don’t hide the relevant stuff in amongst the totally irrelevant – so any paragraphs you find on your CV a) should be bulleted and b) shouldn’t include the time you spent stapling bits of paper (I did this, for nine hours a day, and I’m proud of my work ethic, but it’s not quite right for now – I sometimes mention it in passing in my cover letter to illustrate how I’m willing to do nearly anything for money) (nearly) (I wouldn’t kill a man)(…).
- Don’t put your current job right at the end – especially not if it’s relevant to the application. So if you’re working in a bar and writing for free on the side, and you want to be a journalist, then put the places you’re writing for at the top. Relevance always trumps chronology, too, so don’t be afraid to put that work placement you did last year at the top if it’s going to impress, despite the fact you’ve been at McDonalds for 18 months.
- Don’t include pictures of workplaces. Yes, this is something Jenny sees a lot and no, she doesn’t hugely appreciate it.
- Check your spelling! Then double check it! Then triple check it!
- The CV should be black and white, normal font (say, Arial) and formatted in a logical, consistent way. It shows you’re professional and, y’know, able to format things so they don’t look mad.
- Your education section shouldn’t take up an entire page
- Remember to include actual results of any qualifications you do include – just listing your GCSEs is pointless, and if they’re after a C or above in Maths, for example, then make sure you include that.
- SATS are rarely useful to an employer. You were 13 when you took them.
- Including the ‘other interests’ section at the bottom is fine, but keep it to a line or two lines maximum. And if you can, try and make it relevant to the position.
- One thing this CV has done well (amazingly) is that it’s kept to two pages. You shouldn’t go over two pages.
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