In just a few minutes’ time, you’ll know exactly what doesn’t need to be included in your CV as well as why not. This will save lots of time as you can make some quick and simple edits! What’s more, with some additional and unnecessary information out of the way, the information that you do include will stand out even more.
For instance: Should personal information be included? What about that witty email address and will a photograph really impress an employer? All these questions and more will be answered below!
Too Much Personal Information
CV-writing and employer expectations have changed. Your parents may have told future employers that they were married with two boys and a girl as a consequence, but there is no longer any need for you to do the same.
So, don’t include details of your marital status or sexuality, as it is none of the employer’s business. Nor do you need to mention your race and nationality – leaving this information out can help you to avoid overt or hidden discrimination. Under equal opportunities legislation, it’s illegal for employers to select candidates on the basis of their race, age, sex, marital status, or sexuality – so, you don’t need to include any of this information on your CV.
Politics can definitely stay out of your CV too, unless this is directly relevant to the position you are applying for. If you were applying for a job working for a politician, then your politics would be highly relevant, but if you were applying for a job as a mechanic at a local garage then it wouldn’t be relevant and should be left off.
The only personal information that you really need to include on your CV, is your name and contact details.
Your Witty Email Address
Avoid including the email address that seemed funny when you set it up at school or college. It is unprofessional and will do nothing to impress an employer, who will think you are frivolous (and unfunny). It will only work against you.
So if your email address is firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, just keep this for your own personal use and set up another email address – it can often be a good idea to set up a separate email address that you use solely for job applications.
It may be tempting to include a photograph. But, in most instances, it is inappropriate to include it on your CV, unless you are specifically asked for a photograph. Your image may say more than you expect to a prospective employer, who may have a negative response for no real reason other than that they can. It is different in an interview, when your appearance is part of your overall package!
If you do need to include a photograph, then make sure that the photograph is a good likeness of you and shows you in the right light. That photo you put up on Facebook to make your friends laugh might not be appropriate. If you can afford it, a professionally taken photo will make your application stand out.
Courses That You Didn’t Finish
If you started an educational course or a professional certificate, but failed to complete it, then don’t include it on your CV. It’s tempting to do so, leaving it looking as if you simply forgot to include the completion date, but there’s a chance you’ll get caught out. You won’t look good when an employer notices.
Consider leaving out your hobbies once you have been working for a number of years, they take up space and don’t usually add much to your CV. If your interests say something really positive about you, in that they highlight your transferable skills (e.g. teamwork, determination to win, support for others, fundraising, administration, etc), then you may want to include them.
While it’s true that your interests can be interesting conversation starters at interview, many don’t help you to look good or sell you to employers. Likewise, it is often best to leave out information about political parties or Masonic Lodge membership, either of which could lead to rejection.
If you do include some of your interests, be selective and only pick things that show you in a positive light.
Your Social Media Pages
There’s already a high chance that if short-listed, an employer will seek out your Facebook or other social media pages, so make sure that there’s nothing that will work against you if they do come across your pages.
You should avoid drawing an employer’s attention to your pages. Pictures of you drunk as a student may cost you an interview! So, don’t list any social media pages on your CV.
When writing your CV, it can be as helpful to know what to leave out as what to include. Having a clear idea of this can save you lots of time and indecision.
– Personal information should be kept to a minimum.
– Don’t include an unprofessional email address.
– Photographs generally don’t improve CVs, so don’t include one unless asked.
– Leave out educational or professional courses that you failed to complete.
– Hobbies and interests can generally be safely left out of your CV.
– Social media pages should be left off your CV.
Please let us know what you think by leaving your comments below.
If you need help with your CV / resume please check out our professional CV / resume writing service.
Bradley CVs Ltd.
29 responses to “What Information Can You Safely Leave Off Your CV?”
I’d like to ask a question. Should I include my internships in my CV since I have not yet secured a real job? I’ve had various internships to improve the experience section of my CV – I have also been doing this so that I don’t stay idle at home. Please help.
Yes, it’s usually a good idea to include internships in your CV. Make sure that you include details of what you’ve learnt, including the skills and experience.
Employers will look on your internships very positively – it shows that you’ve got more get up and go than the average person – well done.
An internship may even lead to a job, if one of the employers has a vacancy, so keep in touch with them, even once you’ve completed the internship – as a job may come up at any time.
Bradley CVs Ltd.
Good – actually useful!
Dear Bradley CVs,
I am grateful for your very insightful information. I am sure it will really make a difference in my CV and consequently to my job search.
Keep it Up!
Thank you for this information. I have been writing resumes for many years and agree with you. I have a comment for Motshidi (8 December 2010 1.56 pm), I have often included “Positive Feedback” as a heading at the end of the Resume. I write the relevant comments in italics under a heading and include the author’s name. This has proven to be quite successful.
I am currently updating my CV in order to apply for new jobs and at the moment it runs over 2 pages (it’s 2 and a half). I’m in the legal sector, out of uni 2 years and have legal work experience but also a lot of non-legal which shows a lot of different skills I have acquired over the years so I don’t really want to leave it all off. Does it look unprofessional to have a CV of this length?
I’d normally recommend keeping a CV to two pages.
An employer in the legal sector is going to be most interested in your legal experience and is going to be less interested in your non legal experience.
So, you can delete some of this non legal experience from your CV to keep it to two pages.
Make sure that you put the most important information on page 1, as most employers will only spend 30 to 60 seconds reading a CV at the first pass.
Bradley CVs Ltd.
I have done a degree in graphics design a year ago, but also have experience of catering, retail and customer service from part-time work during university. I also worked in a clerical administration job for a short while after university, but none of this seems to count for anything and I just can’t get any interviews whatsoever, well I had one, where the job turned out to be ‘dodgy’.
I’m not actually looking for a graduate role, have never been interested in ‘grad jobs’ so to speak, I’m just happy to work in a normal role such as admin or retail.
I’ve been advised a few times to ‘dumb’ my CV down a bit as my degree is most probably a big put off to employers. Should I leave my qualifications off? It’s really unfair that I have to deny something I enjoyed and worked hard for four years to get, just because employers discriminate against it!
What should I do? Something is clearly wrong.
It’s hard to say exactly what is wrong, as we’ve not seen your CV or spoken to you.
We generally find it’s a combination of problems, it’s usually down to the CV, cover letter (or email) and job search strategy.
Few people have a CV that sells them and their particular skills, experience and achievements. Whilst most cover letters / emails, say little more than here is my CV, they don’t specifically say why the person applying is right for the job that they are applying for.
Another thing that most people don’t think about, is their job search strategy. A typical person’s job search strategy mainly revolves around applying for jobs advertised in newspapers or job sites – these can sometimes attract 100’s of applicants, so it can be difficult to get an interview. A far better strategy is to network with and thoroughly research local employers and meet with them directly at every possible opportunity.
A few weeks ago, we did a one hour job search coaching session with a recent graduate (we also wrote her CV). Following the coaching session she secured an interview and we’ve just heard that she’s been offered the job.
So, as well as your CV and cover letter, you might want to give some further thought to your job search strategy too.
Bradley CVs Ltd.