Another Expert CV Writing Tip in our series: 7 Items You Should NEVER Include On Your Military (or Civilian) CV – Tip Series, Day 4 . . . .
Yesterday’s tip, and the previous two, should have given you plenty of food for thought. You will have seen a pattern emerging, i.e. that anything of a subjective nature included on the face of your CV is career suicide. Today’s tip is a little more straightforward, and that is:
NEVER include the date your CV was prepared, or worse – today’s date!
The reasons are simple.
Many people, when constructing their CV, do so on a “work” computer. Typically, it would automatically include a path to the file (for example C:/Documents/Personal/CV2011) in the document footer; thish often “helpfully” includes the date the document was prepared. It’s so commonplace that we don’t even notice it. However, if your job search takes a while (and it can, if you don’t get a good professional CV written <shameless plug>), the reader will immediately be able to determine how long you may have been out of work. This can obviously affect what they consider to be your suitability for the role applied for, and may disqualify you. So make sure you leave it out, or clear it from the footer before sending.
<em>(Incidentally, it’s always a good idea to put page numbers into the footer or header, in case the pages get separated. For this reason, you should always put your name and a simple descriptor there too, e.g. Stephen Thompson, CV Writer Page 1 of 3.)</em>
If, as we’ve seen on some CV’s, today’s date is included then other issues may come into play. If the date is a live data field (i.e. it inserts the current date when the CV is printed or saved), then again if the job search takes any length of time there will be an ever-increasing gap between your last employment and the date of the CV. If the date is inserted manually the same process will occur, but will need to be physically changed at each save.
The worst case scenario is even more dire. In an agency environment, it would be possible for differently dated versions of the same CV to be present on their database, which may confuse recruiters and employers. Anything which requires brainwork, particularly on the part of a third-party, could result in deselection.
A useful device which can cover quite a wide gap from the end of your most recent position, is to include the word “Present” in the “to” part of the dates span. For example, “March 2011 to Present”. While not suggesting for a second that you should lie in your CV, there is absolutely no point in including prejudicial information. Be selective in what you ‘disclose’. The objective is to get the interview; you can explain any gaps or other issues that come up once you get through the door.
Another CV Writing Tip of this nature, is to truncate the dates in the ‘from’ and ‘to’ column or header. For example, you may have finished a particular job at the end of November 2016, but not started your new job until February 2017. This is a gap of perhaps 4 months. If the previous job ran from May 2015, you could just put 2015 to 2016, and then the start of the new job as 2017. This effectively ‘masks’ the gap. Be creative and ‘sharp’ to such issues…
There you are; a simple tip that will improve or enhance the likelihood of your being selected for interview!