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7 Things You Should Never Include on a Social Work CV

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7 Things You Should Never Include on a Social Work CV

It can be tempting to try and include as much as possible on your Social Work CV. You want the person reading it to get a really clear understanding of your work experience and personality. However, there are some things which don't belong on your CV and this list aims to clear up some common misconceptions.

1. Photos

Some people may disagree with us on this one but it’s one of the riskiest things to put on a CV.

Human beings make innate judgements based on the way people look. If you put a photo at the top of your Social Work CV, the Recruiter or Hiring Manager will make a snap judgement on you based on the way you look. It’s risky because you have no way of knowing if that judgement will be positive or negative.

Your CV should not contain anything which people could judge you on. This includes your birthday, marital status, and hobbies.

Discrimination on any level is completely inappropriate and, in many cases, illegal, so keeping the CV to the critical facts ensures it is judged professionally.


2. Text Boxes

This is the biggest pet peeve of all Recruiters.

When you apply for a Social Work role, your CV will be sent to a portal where a text-only version of your CV will appear in the list of applicants. If you have text boxes or strange formatting, it will not appear properly in that first view. In some case, the text doesn’t appear at all!

You want to stand out from the crowd and having a Social Work CV that looks poor in that initial view could work against you.

Also, most Agencies need to standardize your CV before sending it to the relevant client, so text boxes can slow down the process.


3. Unusual Font

Your CV font should be professional and clear to read. If you have a messy layout or a comical font, you will be portrayed as a person who is messy and unprofessional. Below are a few guidelines to follow when formatting your Social Work CV:


No colour other than black should be used on your CV. The worst colour you could ever try to include is red because it’s the colour with the most negative connotations.


Whatever you do, avoid Comic Sans!

The typeface should be simple and professional. Best practice would be to use one of the following: Ariel, Times New Roman or Calibri. Any other font is at risk of you being perceived as unprofessional.


The main body of your Social Work CV should be no bigger than a size 12 font. For headings, you can go up to 14 or 16 but try not to go overboard as it can make your CV look disproportionate.


4. References

Never put the contact details of your professional references on your Social Work CV!It is unnecessary and risky because someone could end up calling your reference without your knowledge! Our compliance procedure means we collect 5 years of references for all our Social Workers. When it comes to the point of collating this information, we will contact you, so no need to provide these details upfront.


5. Over-Elaborate Work History

Due to strict compliance procedures in Social Work, we often need ten years' work experience on a CV. This can mean your CV becomes quite lengthy, so try to use the below tips for keeping it succinct:

On your most recent and relevant roles, you should list both 'responsibilities' and 'achievements' (roughly 6-8 points). On less relevant positions, you should only list 2-4 points to explain your role. If your ten years' experience includes the part-time job you had at Tescos, only write the bare necesseties (job title, position and dates).

Try to be as succinct as possible and remember to use bullet points to make things clearer.

6. Pre-Requisites

We regularly find candidates who state their specific requirements at the top of their Social Work CV.

Things like required salary, asking to work part-time, or for specific hours. Your CV is not the place to mention this. If you are uploading your CV onto a job board, there is usually an option to list your pre-requisites outside of your CV. Equally, if you are registering for a Social Work Recruitment Agency, they will call you to discuss your registration and that is when you can tell them your needs.


7. Lies

According to HireRight, 85% of people will lie on their CV at some point.

Lying on a Social Work CV has serious consequences. It can be considered a criminal offence under the Fraud Act 2006, meaning the maximum penalty for this can be imprisonment for up to ten years. A Social Worker was recently accused of lying on their CV, saying they were on a career break when they were actually working at a Local Authority. This resulted in a caution from the HCPC which stayed on their record for two years.

A new survey from CareerBuilder of more than 2,500 hiring managers found that 56% have caught job candidates lying on their resumes. That, plus the extensive reference checks we carry out as Recruiters means the chances of being caught out for lying are extremely high. Therefore, moral of the story: just don’t do it.


In conclusion, these are the 7 things you must never include on a Social Work CV:

  1. Photo 

  2. Text boxes

  3. Unusual font

  4. References

  5. An over-elaborate work history

  6. Pre-requisites

  7. Lies

If you are ever unsure of your Social Work CV, you can always speak to one of our experienced Social Work Consultants on 0118 948 5555.