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10 things to exclude from your CV

Nov 13
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Most people have a set idea of what a CV should look like. It’s different for every person, job, industry etc. Whilst working out what to include in a CV seems obvious there are some things that really don’t belong. Here’s a list of common offences from our experience.

‘Curriculum Vitae’ as a heading

People know what they are looking at – leave this out as it’s redundant. Just use your name, as you are the subject. However, the letters ‘CV’ do belong in the filename if you send a PDF or Word document.

Date of birth

This was common practice not so long ago, but it is now illegal to use age when considering candidate selection. Also, since April 2011 the statutory retirement age of 65 no longer stands.

Leave your age out of the CV; if the employer feels the need to work out your age, they’ll estimate it from your career history and education.

Too much personal data

People add all sorts of irrelevant information to CVs that do not help anybody. Your marital status, citizenship, ethnicity, religion, credit status and national insurance number do not belong on a CV. If you are lucky enough to start the job, you may be asked for some of this information, but this is not the place.

If you have decided to leave management consultancy for a career as a chauffeur, let people know that you have a full driving licence. Otherwise, leave it out.


As people get more used to LinkedIn as a tool for sourcing talent, more people are asking whether they should include a photograph on their CV. Recent research has shown that employers accidentally get distracted from important information on online CVs, this is likely to be mirrored when reading a CV in Word.

Including pictures still is not common practice, unless appearance is an essential part of the job. Nowadays, an employer is unlikely to ask for a photo of you as it can add weight to any claims of bias based on age, ethnicity, weight etc.

Too much information about past jobs

Employers are most interested in your recent work history and their interest in your experience will diminish in proportion to how long ago it happened. The job you were in two jobs back or eight to ten years ago is an important addition to your CV, but you do not need to elaborate on them as much as the most recent jobs.

Your job title in earlier jobs is likely to explain what your responsibilities were, so focus on any outstanding achievements instead. If the jobs are really far back, just list them instead of providing details.

Training courses

Most training courses that people include on CVs are irrelevant, so think carefully about the value a course adds to your CV. Was it a one-day course on how to negotiate or was it a month long course at a well known business school that furthered your personal development?

People often list every training course they have just to fill the space on their CV. This is another thing that may make your CV look less serious. If the course had an exam or assessment that you passed, list it in your qualifications.

Early education

Keeping a CV to two pages is very difficult if you insist on listing every school you ever went to. If you aren’t a graduate or very young, knowledge of the schools you went to before you attained a degree is useless to an employer.

Some people insist on adding the name of the revered institution they attended. Remember that a potential employer can see an Eton education in a positive or negative light.

Hobbies and pastimes

It may seem obvious, but it’s something we still see – too much information about your personal life will make your CV look less professional. Does your potential employer need to know that you keep chickens, waterski, knit or bake fabulous cakes?

Ask yourself whether the information will help persuade someone you are capable of doing the job you are applying for.


Offer details of referees when asked. It was once common practice to include two referees in a CV, but things have changed. Employers only tend to approach referees if they have offered a job, mainly because it’s a time consuming process.

It’s also important that potential employers that do want to check out your references do not annoy contacts you have built a relationship with and respect enough to ask for a reference.


Don’t disclose your last, current or expected salary on a CV. You don’t know who might forward on the CV document. It’s better that the salary discussion does not overshadow the reviewing of the CV. Some recruitment agencies may request this information at the upfront stage but will send this information separately from the CV.

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