Things That Merely Occupy Space on Your CV  

If you are interested in having your CV pass the scanning test, this is for you. First, let us discuss some scenarios. Have you ever walked into a Company’s Reception or Front Office (pre-pandemic of course)? What first impression did it give you about the Company? 

I have walked into the Front Office of certain companies, and my first impression was ‘Wow, ‘these people are super organised’; for certain other companies, I was disappointed and felt there was ‘some disorganisation around here’.

Let me clarify, it was not about luxurious furniture (for either category), but in their attention to details, orderliness, near immaculate state of the decors and fittings; the professionalism and comportment of the Front Desk Officer/Receptionist, and an endearing work environment created by the first and ignored by the later.

You are wondering what a Front Office scenario has to do with the information on your CV. It is about the first impression.

Your CV gives a Recruiter the first impression of you. A very good reason, you must give great attention to details to the CV you push out there. From the content to layout, to the type and size of the font, to organisation and readability; your CV should give a good first impression about you.

Your CV provides a Recruiter a glimpse of you? Are you professional? Do you have attention to detail? My experience shows that my perception of candidates is usually not too far from the impression they provide on their CV.  

Information That Occupy Space On Your

In reviewing a candidate’s CV or resume for interview shortlisting purposes, one key interest is suitability or potential for the job role. So it is important to give enough space to sell yourself under the ‘Work Experience’ section of your CV and leave out information, such as those discussed below that merely take up space on your resume.

Age:  It is not in all cases that a recruiter is interested in a candidate’s age during the first screening/shortlisting stage. Only include this if the job advert specified certain age for the job. It would nevertheless be required for an online job application form or at a later interview stage where you would have the opportunity to specify.

Home Address: Apart from the fact that this occupies space, it puts you in a disadvantaged position if your home address is too far away from the job location, especially if you are certain you can conveniently work in that location if employed. This is because a Recruiter could be looking at location suitability (if an employer has emphasized this) in deciding during the shortlisting stage. In place of home address, include Email address, contact telephone number(s), and State as location. 

Nationality, Province, State of Origin, Town, Place of Birth, or Local Government:  Except for government or civil service jobs where any of such information may be required; or for an online job application where any of these could be required, this form of information is not necessary for your CV. In today’s ever-changing world of commerce with scarce human capital, employers are looking for problem solvers and those who will help their businesses, even if they come from the ‘moon’. Moreso, the diversity and inclusion advocacy and reality is making such information less pronounced in a recruitment process

Language:  If you are a national of a country with English as an official language, a language section where you specify fluency in English and your mother tongue for a local job is taking up space. Your language section will be more relevant if it is an international language – such as French, Chinese, Japanese, or Russian and for a job outside your home country. 

An exception is where there is a requirement for English fluency or local or mother tongue language in the job advert. An example, an international organisation could need local language skills for its operation in a country. Say a job advert in Nigeria that requires the successful candidate to be fluent in any of the local languages – Igbo, Efik, Hausa, or Yoruba; same for South Africa, India, or any other country with local mother tongues other than English or French.

However, if you are a national of a country with a language other than English as an official language, you may need to insert your language fluency including English to support your application. This also applies to persons residing in multi-racial environments such as the United States, United Kingdom and, Canada.

Photograph: There is no need to include a photograph on an already crowded CV page. It is more a distraction than an addition. Save this for when you are asked to upload a photograph. However, this can be relevant for beauty pageant applications or jobs specifically requesting an applicant’s photograph (in such a case, there are better options for upload and you can avoid having it pasted on your CV).

Lengthy List of Skills: I have seen CVs contain half a page on Skills candidates claim to have. Skills are subject to proof, and can only be proved at interviews (sometimes) and mostly on the job. Instead of using have a page listing your skills, use that space under your work experience to detail what you did on the jobs you have held and highlight some of your achievements on various jobs.

Your listed skills should include at least 3 – 4 technical skills relating to the job you apply for. An example, if you apply for the role of Microbiologist or a Quality Control Officer, you can include laboratory testing skills, research skills, numerical and analytical skills, use of computer and, any other non-technical skills (that you have). Your skills list should not be more than 6 or 12; this leaves enough space under work experience for what you have done (your experience); which invariably shows what you can do (your potentials).

Specific Country Requirements: Note that some of the categories of information addressed here may be key requirements in certain countries (for tax or immigration purposes). If you relocate to another country, it helps to download CV templates for that country and adapt your CV to fit the country’s recruitment specification; or engage an experienced Recruiter in that country to review your and adapt your CV.

Concluding, before you submit your CV for the next job opening, review it and ask yourself if:

– your CV contains the information the recruiter is looking for in the ideal candidate on your CV?  

– your CV is full of too much information not required at the first screening stage?

– if your CV can pass the few minutes scanning tests?

In the last couple of years, I have reviewed over 10000 CVs manually in the course of recruiting for our Clients, and I have seen job seekers provide too many details and most times miss out on relevant information needed at the screening stage.

This first-hand information is part of the reasons my team and I include CV reviews in our Online Career Coaching Sessions. If you will like to have your CV reviewed, click the contact button to sign-up for our online career coaching session.

I hope this has been helpful. If you like what you have read, do visit the Resources–Careers section of my website for more job search and career guides. And remember to click the share button to share this with your network, like, comment, or ask questions below. I will be glad to interact with you


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