What Information Can You Safely Leave Off Your CV?

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 eightpintsnightly@hotmail.com or fluffybunny@gmail.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.

Your Photograph

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.

Your Hobbies

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.

Kindest regards,

Paul Bradley.

Managing Director.
Bradley CVs Ltd.

29 responses to “What Information Can You Safely Leave Off Your CV?”

  1. This is a really useful post, especially the email address and hobbies stuff. I’m changing my CV now!

  2. Regarding courses that were not finished. I went to University for a year to read history. I disliked the course and Uni itself. I read two elective law modules, which I enjoyed and passed with high grades. I looked into the options and decided law was for me. I discovered a non graduate route whereby you qualify as a lawyer by taking professional exams, so I left University to pursue that course. I am now qualified as a lawyer. In that instance, do you think leaving off the degree I didn’t finish (it was about 7 years ago) is a problem? Doesn’t it show the ability to take action and still achieve a goal?

  3. Hi Iain,

    That’s always a really tough decision!

    Here’s a few questions that you (and the other people reading this blog) might want to consider. They are the sort of questions that we (Bradley CVs) would be thinking about when we write a CV for a client.

    How relevant is it to what you want to do now?

    Will an employer be interested in it now? [This is especially true, if it was a long time ago.]

    Have you taken more relevant qualifications that would be more interesting to an employer?

    Will leaving it off, leave a gap in your CV?

    If you include it, will you be happy to answer questions about it at an interview?

    If you are asked questions about it at an interview, will an employer see this as being a positive or a negative?

    Kindest regards,

    Paul Bradley.
    Bradley CVs Ltd.

  4. Hi,

    Thank you for the tips, they help me improve my CV writing skills, especially now that I am looking for a Job. I live in Uganda and as I’m unemployed I can’t afford your services, but nevertheless I am grateful for the free advice you keep sending me. I know that with these tips, I will get my dream job someday and I will let you know.

  5. Hi Moses,

    I’m glad you are enjoying the tips.

    I hope you find your dream job soon.

    Kindest regards,

    Paul Bradley.
    Bradley CVs Ltd.

  6. This posting is indeed, educative, appropriate and helpful. It directs prospective newcomers to the labour market to trends currently existing. But, do these tips apply universally, or is this version for a particular entity. I am asking this because it is almost the opposite of the German version. Your response will be highly appreciated. Thanks.

  7. Hi Sarfo,

    You should treat this article as providing general guidance only – what you should include / leave out, depends entirely on your own personal circumstances.

    Different people (in both the UK and Germany) will always have different points of view on what should / shouldn’t be included in a CV – even two CV writers working for the same company won’t agree on everything!

    There is often no definitive wrong / right answer.

    What you must carefully consider yourself (if you’re writing your own CV), is whether including something or leaving it out will improve your chances of getting an interview.

    You need to look at this from your own point of view, what might be right for you, may be completely wrong for someone else.

    Kindest regards,

    Paul Bradley.
    Bradley CVs Ltd.

  8. Thank you for providing these tips free of charge. In an age of extreme capitalism and profit maximisation, it is amazing that a business entity can provide this sort of free servive. You are one of the few entrepreneurs giving the world some ray of hope that all may not be lost in our cat-and-mouse economic order.
    Warm regards!

  9. Hi Paul

    Thanks for the reply. It’s an interesting point. I was hoping to create some added value by showing I was ‘university material’ and able to make decisions and see them through. However, I left my year at Uni off my first batch of CVs and got 3 interviews out of 5. I then added it, applied for 4 and heard nothing back from any of them! Might be a coincidence but it certainly sounds like I haven’t added much value by including it – there is certainly a negative aspect of them being able to label you a quitter – so I think I’ll remove it and chime on about the courses I have finished!

    Thanks again.

  10. Hi Iain,

    Thanks for sharing this very valuable information with us.

    Based on your results, I’d certainly be inclined to leave off the Uni experience – getting 3 interviews out of 5 is very good – that’s far better than most people do, well done!

    I’d always recommend test things, but if you are already getting great results (like you are), you may be better off leaving your CV alone, as you can easily ruin a good CV by making even relatively small changes (as you’ve found out).

    We often find that we have to dissuade the clients of our CV service from making changes to the CVs we’ve written for them, so that they don’t wreck their chances of getting interviews.

    Most people just don’t realise how easy it is to ruin a good CV, a few words here and there can make all the difference between getting interviews or rejection letters.

    Kindest regards,

    Paul Bradley.
    Bradley CVs.