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. I write a lot of CV’s for long-term disabled. I always ask for details on hobbies and interests, e.g. reading (what type of books, what authors, etc), music (what type, do you attend live concerts, etc), DIY (details of recent projects, do you assist/advise family/friends).

    Also have you done anything unusual, e.g. raised money for charity (how much/how was it raised) or climbed a mountain, run a marathon, run scouts/guides or a football/netball team.

    There are LOADS of transferable skills in all this STUFF as well as the qualities employers should be looking for: leadership, commitment, loyalty, potential, problem solving, etc.

    I believe a lot of employers are looking beyond work skills and want staff with character, if the personal “chemistry” is right you can get the job ahead of a dull boring person who is better qualified!


  2. Hi Mr D,

    As I stated above, only people with several years work experience should consider leaving out their hobbies / interests.

    If you’ve not got much work experience, then I agree that you have to focus more on hobbies and interests.

    Employers of recent graduates and disabled people, tend to look for people that have the necessary skills, whether these skills come from work experience or outside interests.

    When you are listing your hobbies / interests, you therefore need to clearly show the transferable skills that you’ve gained.

    I’d recommend on focusing on things were you have personally contributed something, such as running a club / society or charity fund-raising.

    Don’t focus on passive things, such as reading or music, as everyone lists these. If you do read books / publications relevant to the job that you are applying for, then you should mention them, but, don’t just put the word ‘reading’ on its own.

    As to music, if you’ve got heavily involved in a group and help to run their fan club or got involved in helping out at gigs, then mention it, but if you just listen to music at home on your own, then it sounds far less interesting.

    Kindest regards,

    Paul Bradley.
    Bradley CVs Ltd.

  3. The advice you have given may work in the UK. But for those of us who have lived elsewhere, the info is too confined.

    In Germany for instance, it is obligatory to include a photo of yourself. I lived there 16 years. Two pages is all that is needed. No more. And better still, get it translated into German. They will be highly impressed.

    In most of the Middle East, your marital status is important because salary packages are quoted as either single or married.

    Furthermore, one’s religion is important to state in the ME. It is required on most documentation. It is not possible to even enter a place like Mecca or Medina unless your are a Muslim for instance.

    There are varying expert opinions regarding Dubai. I was advised by a so called well known UK head hunter in Dubai that long CV’s, up to six pages, are required. As usual with this so called expert knowledge, exactly the opposite proved to be true.

    Two to three pages, no more. HR people don’t have the time. Many don’t have the command of the English language they think they have.

    The first page, like first impressions, counts volumes. Make the cover page count.

    Write two or three differing CV’s to suit the kind of work for which you are applying, so long as you have the relevant experience.

    My long experience has shown me one thing; the right and wrong way of writing a CV means nothing compared to personal contact, particularly in the ME. Personal contact particularly in the UAE, Saudi, Oman, etc. works wonders, and you can almost throw your CV away.

  4. Hi Roger,

    Thanks for joining the debate and sharing your own personal experience.

    I should state that our advice above is most applicable to the English speaking world. If I tried to address the needs of every country in the world, the article would be 20 pages long and would contain so many caveats, as to be almost useless.

    I would agree with you that people in the UK don’t like photos, whilst in Germany they do.

    What is really important is to test your own assumptions, as you’ve found out from your personal experience (and Iain who commented above also found out).

    What is applicable to one person’s CV, may not be applicable to another person’s CV.

    What is applicable in one country may not be applicable in another.

    One employer may want to see your CV set out in a specific way, whilst another may want it in a different format.

    There is really no wrong or right way to write a CV, ‘experts’ will always disagree on the specifics.

    What you need to do is create a CV that works for you and gets you interviews, by testing what works for you personally and what doesn’t.

    I completely agree with you 100% about making personal contacts. But, I think that this is equally applicable wherever you live. The clients of our CV service come from all over the world and have used personal contacts to successfully find a new job. Using personal contacts is not just applicable in the Middle East.

    Kindest regards,

    Paul Bradley.
    Bradley CVs Ltd.

  5. Thanks for the tips regarding what to include on a CV. I graduated as a mature student with a degree in chemistry 3 years ago but have only had a few interviews during that time. I currently work part-time for a major retailer, which is what I’ve been doing since my second year at uni, plus I have a 24 year work history with no gaps to this date.

    None of my past jobs appear to be relevant to what I’m applying for (laboratory technician or similar), and I’m wondering if I should even leave them out altogether on my CV in future. I’m also having to juggle work with caring commitments,and am worried that a prospective employer will ask me what I’ve been doing during that time since university.

    I’ve also had a number of interests over the years, including team sports (until 11 years ago) which have all involved using transferable skills, such as teamwork.
    My past qualifications are in photography, IT and a certificate gained from an Access to HE science course I successfully completed prior to university, plus some rather ancient CSE’s in maths, English and science, which I’m thinking of leaving off my CV altogether as I don’t think an employer will think they’re relevant.

    I’m currently working on my CV to make it more attractive to employers, but should I include only my time at university and my current employment and leave out the rest, even though it’ll leave big gaps in my past employment history?

  6. Hi Everton,

    I wouldn’t recommend leaving big gaps in your employment history – this will always worry an employer.

    I would certainly reduce the amount of space that past employment (that isn’t relevant) takes up on your CV. If it isn’t relevant, then you don’t need to go into great detail about it.

    Good luck with your job hunting.

    Kindest regards,

    Paul Bradley.
    Bradley CVs Ltd.

  7. This information is really useful. I have a question for you: Is it advisable to print off anything that shows all the excellent comments that your supervisor has made about you and attach it to your application. I want a promotional job, but don’t get short-listed, I’m very good at what I do and my supervisor and our boss always give me good feedback by email, when is a good time to share this with my potential employer?

  8. Hi Motshidisi,

    It’s great that you’ve got 2 people who are happy to recommend you and give you a reference.

    However, I would only recommend attaching references to your application if an employer specifically asks for them.

    Kindest regards,

    Paul Bradley.
    Bradley CVs Ltd.