Carol Hauser
Carol Hauser
Try | Make Mistakes | Learn | Succeed

5 Tips on What NOT to Do in Your CV and What to Do Instead – Part 2 of 2

Since this subject is very comprehensive, I had to break it up into two parts. I hope you found the previous post useful in assisting you on how to write a good CV. If you haven’t read it already, I recommend you do before reading this one, so that you can understand the context.

When you submit a CV for an open position, you have the first chance of being considered for a position. It is, therefore, imperative that you do it right in order to advance to the next steps!

Below is a summary of the main CV Don’ts, based on my own experience.

1- Don’t send a generic CV

2- Don’t add picture, age, family status, address

3- Don’t confuse the hiring team

4- Exclude courses, certificates, graduation that aren’t required for the job

5- Don’t state more years of experience than asked for in the job description

Following, I’ll explain why it’s important NOT to make these 5 mistakes and what to do instead.

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Don’t send a generic CV

When I shared the previous post on social media, I added the term “spray and pray”. This is what happens when you send in a generic CV. To the eyes of the hiring team, it looks like you didn’t put any effort when sending in your CV. Is this the first impression you want to give your future employer? Are you looking for “a” job or for “the” job?

I’ve spoken to many people that mentioned the following:

“I think I sent my CV to your company”

“I’m not sure to which position I sent my CV last time”

“I’m sending so many CVs that I might be confusing companies and positions”

This is “spray and pray” and this doesn’t work in such a competitive job market. So, if you’re looking for “the” job, you should improve your tactics when sending your CV for each position.

If you want to start organizing yourself, I suggest the following:

  1. Create a base CV (explained in part 1)
  2. Customize your CV to each position you apply for:
    1. Insert keywords from the job description (explained in part 1)
    2. State the name of the position you’re applying to (explained in part 1)
    3. Keep track of every CV you send

What do I mean by keeping track of every CV you send?

Sometimes, companies contact you about a position that you applied for quite a while ago. When interviewing for the job, you’ll need to be focused and direct your answers to suit the job description (what the company is looking for). How do you expect to do that if you don’t know which position or company you sent your CV in to? You do agree with me that this is quite impossible, right?

So, what I used to do when I was looking for a job was to keep a list of all the positions I applied for and update it with the maximum amount of information I had. You’re in luck, I’m sharing a free template here! Please, don’t forget to make a copy for yourself!

Believe me, you’ll see a difference when you’ll start treating the company and the position as “the” opportunity.

My last advice on this topic is: do not use the “easy apply”. Remember the saying: “what comes easy, goes easy”.

Don’t add picture, age, family status, address

This next item is connected to bias. For those unfamiliar with the term, bias is defined by the Cambridge Dictionary as: “the action of supporting or opposing a particular person or thing in an unfair way, because of allowing personal opinions to influence your judgment”.

Recently, more and more companies are trying to implement diversity in the workplace. This means that they’re trying to fight against unconscious biases. By adding your picture, age, family status or address, you’re giving information that can make the hiring team have biased information on you. I’ve heard that some companies are not compliant if they continue a hiring process when they have that information beforehand.

Remember: add only things that are really important to your CV and can add value to your experience.

Don’t confuse the hiring team

This item has been explored and explained in part 1 – item “Clearly write the name of the position you’re applying to”.

After I posted the first part of this CV Dos and Don’ts, I received a direct message from a hiring manager saying: “you don’t know how many Project Manager and Educators CVs I received” (the examples I gave).

Do you want the opportunity to pass the CV screening phase and get to speak with the hiring team? If your answer is yes, don’t confuse them! For your own good!

If you’re applying for a Customer Success Manager position (for instance), don’t write “I’m a Project Manager with experience in customer facing positions”. If you have never worked as a Customer Success Manager before but you’re trying to pivot your career by using transferable skills, I advise you to use different wording, such as PROFESSIONAL + adjective.

Some examples I got from a simple Google search:

“I’m an enthusiastic professional”

“I’m a hardworking individual”

“I’m an articulated communicator”

Exclude courses, certificates, graduation that aren’t required for the job

This item was partially explored in part 1 – item “Make your CV fit in one page”.

When moving to a different country, you may need to take a couple of steps back in order to advance your career. And that’s fine!

So, if you’re applying for a more junior position than the position you held before, where the requirement is to only have an undergrad diploma, why add an MBA diploma? Do you want to be excluded from the process because the hiring team may consider you overqualified? I assume your answer is NO.

In order to avoid being considered overqualified, you should remove information that isn’t adding any value to this first step of the hiring process. Just keep courses, certificates, graduation that are required in the job description.

Don’t state more years of experience than asked for in the job description

This item is linked to the previous one. Let’s say that the job description of the position you would like to apply for is written “3-5 years of experience in (…)”. In your home country, you had +10 years’ of experience doing whatever is described in the job description (if you read the first part, you’ll understand that this was my case!). Now, put yourself in the shoes of the hiring team:

  1. You have a specific budget for this position
  2. You probably have hundreds of others qualified candidates for the same position
  3. You have other positions to fill and/or other tasks to perform

They can’t afford to read each individual story carefully and understand that you would be willing to take some steps back in order to advance your career. As I wrote in the previous post: help the hiring team help you get the job.

For this, I recommend not to state in your summary how many years of experience you have (please, refer to the previous post where I demonstrated how a one-page CV should look like, in my opinion). Also, only add the amount of experience asked in the job description in the Professional Experience sector. This way, you probably won’t be considered overqualified for a job, and you’ll pass to the next step, where you’ll be able to tell them a bit more about your career path and plans for the future.

Regarding the difference between the information in your LinkedIn profile and your CV, you don’t need to worry. You should keep a complete profile (but adapted, using the keywords of the profession you’re trying to achieve in the new country) on LinkedIn and only consider the above tips in your customized CV.

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I really hope you enjoyed and learned something new with this blog post! If you did, I would really appreciate it if you could leave a comment!

After preparing a winning base CV and several customized CVs for each position and increasing your networking in your new country, you’re now ready to start sending your CVs for open positions.

My next blog post will be about referral programs, also known as חבר מביא חבר (friend bring friend) in Israel, and what is behind all this buzz and why should you give preference to send your CV through a current company employee. Stick around!

About the Author
Carol was born and raised in Brazil. She has a BA in Business and MBA Finance. She had spent her professional career working as a business consultant there. In 2015, she decided to make Aliyah and try a new life in Israel. After two years of experience working for Netafim (an Israeli manufacturer of irrigation equipment, pioneer in drip irrigation technology, considered as 'low-tech'), she still found it difficult to land her second meaningful job in Israel with no technical background. In 2018, she initiated her path into the digital world to stand out in the crowd. She started blogging in the 'The Times of Israel', attended networking events and kept reskilling herself. This is how she landed her current position at Checkmarx - she not only built, but also nurtured relationships. She also was interviewed and featured in Israel's leading women's magazine, La-Isha (The Woman, in Hebrew), as one of five examples of women who had no coding experience nor any background in the high-tech scene in Israel, but they did it anyway. In this blog, she shares her knowledge and practical tools to help all the other job seekers. “What you keep to yourself you lose, what you give away, you keep forever.” - Axel Munthe
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