Questions on what to write in your resume or CV
Should your resume or CV detail reasons for leaving previous positions?
“I showed my resume/CV to a recruiter. She said I should add the reasons why I left each previous position and my salary expectations for the job I’m applying for. What should I do?”
You need to take what recruiters say with a grain of salt. Recruiters don’t get paid for hiring the best candidate for the job – they get paid for finding a low risk candidate who fits the job specification.
The only reason a recruiter would want to know why you left a job is to quickly eliminate you from the pool of applicants as a potential risk. This information can never convey a benefit – at best its neutral. Thus, anyone ever fired or with slightly strange reasons for leaving a job might get eliminated at a first cut without the recruiter even looking at the person’s suitability for the role.
Your reason for leaving a job is always contextual and should only be dealt with in a phone or face-to-face interview where you can provide the background detail. Perhaps if you were internally promoted, you could mention that as part of achievements. Otherwise, leave this information out of your resume or CV.
Should you advise your salary expectations in your resume or CV?
Providing salary information is more difficult. In Singapore and Hong Kong it’s the norm for applicants to be asked to give their salary expectations up front. It seems to be creeping into some hiring in Australia and New Zealand and in the UK and the USA it is not expected.
Expecting applicants to state their salary requirements up front is lazy HR and unfair on applicants because they cannot yet know what the job involves in detail. Stating your expectations up-front, without full knowledge, potentially limits your ability to negotiate a fair salary later on in the hiring process.
Clearly the recruiters do a first cull of the pile of resumes and CVs by looking at salary bands (too low as well as too high). If you haven’t included your salary expectation, you risk being left out anyway.
The way to deal with this requirement (only if asked for in the job advertisement) is to add it as a paragraph in your covering letter, rather than into your resume or CV. The price you give should be highly qualified and cover a wide range:
“My salary expectations depend on the requirements of this job and market rates. This is likely to be $ 50,000 to $ 70,000 per year.”
The lower rate is your current salary or whatever is your minimum for considering a move to the new job.
While your resume or CV needs to be accurate, honest and clear, it remains a concise document focused on selling your strengths. There’s lots of other information the HR types want (but isn’t relevant to getting you into the interview). You can fill that in on their multipage forms once they offer you the job!