What not to include on your CV

There are plenty of articles about writing a good CV, but what if you’re overlooking some of the things that shouldn’t be included? The list below details some of the pet hates employers have when they receive a fresh batch of resumes. If you want to get through to the next stage, do your best to avoid these!

A photo

Unless a photo is requested, you don’t need to include one. A job should be given on merit, not on appearance, and photos can act as an unhelpful distraction.

Your age

While some jobs may have age restrictions, the majority won’t, so unless there’s a clear reason to give your age, don’t bother.

Personal data

There is no need to include your marital status, political affiliations, religious beliefs or national insurance number. These may have been required at one time, but giving these details is now highly discouraged and could even be illegal in some circumstances!


This should be a given, but anyone who watches The Apprentice will know that there can be a tendency to embellish the truth when it comes to writing a resume. As well as harming your conscience, the truth has a tendency to come out. Even if you get the job, it could put your future in jeopardy if a fib is exposed down the line.


Many of us automatically include hobbies on our CVs because we want to show employers that there’s more to us than just work, work, work. But unless they’re relevant to the job you’re applying for, they will simply take up the hiring manager’s valuable time.

A stated objective

It should be fairly obvious that you want the job if you’re applying for it, so avoid stating this. The exception to this rule is if you’re moving from one industry to another and want to explain the transition. You can say why you want the job in your cover letter and at the interview stage.

Irrelevant work experience

You may have been the best paper girl or boy in your town as a teenager, but it probably isn’t relevant to your future field of work. Include only the key roles you’ve had and demonstrate why they are relevant if it isn’t immediately obvious.

A ‘cheeky’ email address

If your personal email address is in any way controversial or unprofessional, set up a new one specifically for job applications. This will help when you send your CV off and will also enable you to keep track of applications more easily.

Annoying buzzwords or jargon

If your CV is packed full of irritating phrases like “There’s no I in team” or “cross-platform synergy” or “thinking outside the box” you’re sure to put the hiring manager off. Good terms to use (in moderation) include “achieved”, “managed”, “resolved” and “launched”.

Unnecessary formatting

You may think including headers, footers, tables, images and charts demonstrates your excellent use of Microsoft Word, but employers will see it as a waste of time. Worse still, if the company uses an automated CV tracking system, the data may be extracted and regurgitated in an almost incomprehensible form. Stick to clear, simple, black fonts, bullet points, subheadings and concise text.

Remember that hiring managers typically receive around 75 CVs for each post, so yours needs to stand out for the right reasons. They will spend an average of just six seconds at the initial screening phase, so don’t give them any reason to dump your resume without giving it a fair chance.

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Joy Tibbs is a freelance writer and editor regularly who contributes to Premier. Find out more at joyofediting.co.uk and find her on Twitter @joyous25

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