What you should never include in CV or cover letter

Friday April 26 2019

Application. Be as professional as possible

Application. Be as professional as possible when writing your CV and cover letter. Photo by David S. Mukooza 

By Zuurah Karungi

A strong curriculum vitae (CV) can raise your chances of acquiring a job, says HR consultant Herbert Zake. Therefore, applying for a job requires one to be very careful, especially on the information they provide in the CV and cover letter. A CV is sometimes referred to as a resume while a cover letter can be called motivation letter. Sometimes what makes one fail are the simplest mistakes that you would rather avoid. Here are some of the things you should never include in your CV or cover letter.

Wrong addresses
Zake notes that your cover letter and CV create the 1st impression of you to a prospective employer so a lot of care and caution has to go in their preparation. “Ensure it is correctly addressed to the right company and contact. If I receive a cover letter erroneously addressed to my company, I will most definitely discard it. It demonstrates lack of seriousness,” he says.

Do not use slangs
Zaake notes that do not use slang language because it depicts lack of seriousness. Spell all words correctly. And before you send, review or proof read it. Misspelt words can be irritating for an employer. He adds that if possible, get a professional to review the cover letter and CV.

He also says do not tell lies because you will eventually get caught and your values will be under scrutiny. Do not include things you cannot do just to make an impression, for example say you are an IT expert, when you are not.
He adds that do not exclude qualifications you have so as not to appear too qualified for the role. This is concealment is a reflection of dishonesty.

Avoid unnecessary details
Isaac Kamanyire, a business man, adds that while stating things that got you from your previous jobs, avoid mentioning reasons why you quit that could have you rejected. For example, was accused of fraud. Do not include details that would rather be voided.
Zake says unless specifically requested for, do not include your salary and / or benefits expectations. The prospective employer will imagine you are only in it for the money and you will not add value. “Avoid information that does not relate to the job. It’s best to write a short and precise CV and cover letter than including unrelated work experiences,” he adds.

Be professional
Emmanuel Kakuba, a Literature and English language teacher, says be professional when writing. You should take it seriously. You are selling yourself and need to convince the other party why you are the best candidate suitable for the role. Mention your value add. What is it you have to offer?
Do not put blame on your previous employer
Zake says do not blame your previous organisation or supervisor. Some people use the cover letter to complain about their previous employer.

In case you stay in place that is not known, don’t include it in you CV, for example a village that too far and no known. You can instead use your phone number or email address. This also works for someone without a permanent address, especially those that keep shifting to different places. For email addresses, he says that make sure you use your real name and avoid things like cutie22@gmail.com because this shows you are not serious and irresponsible.

Do not include things that aren’t asked for
Some people add things that have not been asked for such as photos of them or their work to create an impression. He says this is like suicide. He, however, adds: “Employers may reject you depending on how you look without looking at your capabilities. However you can include your photo in case it has been asked for,” he says.

Do not over praise yourself
Zake adds that carefully share your strengths and achievements without boasting or being full of yourself as this will nag people reading your CV, avoid things like “am the best, am intelligent” and other self-praise statements. All you have to do is state your capabilities.

Stating availability
Lastly, he says do not show that you are desperate. If asked when you will report, do not reply “tomorrow”. That shows you are desperate. Reply that you need two to three weeks to sort out a couple of issues.