How to not hide things on your CV
Everyone has something they like to hide about themselves. Mine is that I was born in Stellenbosch. Some people don’t like to hear this and truth be told, I’m not your typical Stellenbosch person (for starters, I’m English). Yet for some reason, I prefer to hide this. That isn’t the right way to go about things.
A better way to run your life is to be open about who you are (to a mature and relevant extent). If I was to say I’m from Stellenbosch (instead of “the Cape”), people would slowly see that the town is not one to generalise about. Also, I’d stay in contact more with open-minded people, which I like. Similarly, if you are open about information on your CV, you’ll only get interviews from companies that like who you are and not many interviews with companies that later regret your application based on what they later found out.
Here are two issues people generally hide.
If you’ve started a UNISA degree many years ago and still have a number of subjects to go, don’t write down the qualification without the words “Incomplete”. What tends to happen is that the company doesn’t ask about it and assumes you have completed it. Then, when they eventually want to hire you, a qualification check is done and you have much explaining to do.
Rather state “Incomplete” and add that you do or do not wish to finish it. Don’t pretend that you might still finish it if you don’t want to. Be open, honest and say it with conviction. If a company needs the degree for their silly recruitment plan, let them need it, but that job is not for you. Move on and find something that matches the person you are. Don’t hide things on your CV!
Age! Getting on in years?
I have experienced some job seekers who are getting on in years and feel this is something employers don’t like. Of course, it’s not legal to refuse someone employment based on their age and technically employers are not allowed to ask.
Yet the truth is, if you’re older than the average candidate, then yes, you are not going to be chosen for many positions because some companies just don’t want people over the age of 40 or 50. But why hide your age on your CV and then get upset when you don’t get the job? If the company doesn’t want someone like you, it probably means you wouldn’t enjoy working there in the first place!
When I was a recruiter, we had a specific, scripted message for anyone over a certain age – we just couldn’t place them. But guess what? When I next checked their LinkedIn profiles, they had always found a job somewhere, just not the clients we had. If you think your age is a negative, stop thinking that. Make sure your CV does show this fact and you’ll only get interviews at companies that are happy to take the process forward with you.
Of course, as in life, hiding something that is necessary for the company to make a decision is similar to lying. But even if the detail is “not the company’s business”, they’re going to find out sooner or later and make their decision. As much as this issue is a challenge to tackle, my advice is to stop hiding the elephant in the room and focus on jobs that actually want you.