11 Things You Shouldn’t Include on Your CV

Things not to put on your CV

Make sure your CV doesn’t include any of these unnecessary or controversial elements to give yourself the best chance of being invited for an interview:

  • Too much information

  • A solid wall of text

  • Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors

  • Inaccuracies about your qualifications or experience

  • Unnecessary personal information

  • Your age

  • Negative comments about a former employer

  • Details about your hobbies and interests

  • Passive language

  • Tiny text

  • Miscellaneous extra content

Too much information

If you include the details of every job you’ve had, the important information could become less visible, so focus on the skills you have that make you a good candidate for the role you want.

Include only positions that are either relevant to the job you’re applying for or are necessary to show a certain length of employment history. When listing job duties, limit the list to three or four brief examples and include a skill you developed to add relevance.

A solid wall of text

In addition to keeping information minimal, you’ll also need to organize it well to ensure readability. A well-structured resume is easier to read and draws a hiring manager’s eye to your most job-relevant skills so that they can see at a glance whether you are an appropriate candidate.

Bullet points are an effective way to highlight your key abilities visually, and the format lends itself to a series of direct links between the job description and your experience. Many recruiters will use software that scans resumes for the keywords they are looking for and gives you a rating based on the similarities between your resume and their list of requirements.

To improve the chances of your resume scoring well, use the same terms as they have in their job description and don’t include images, charts or anything that an automated system will not pick up as text.

Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors

If you are applying for several jobs and tailoring your resume to each of them, changing the structure and adding new text can lead to typos and other errors. Ask a friend, family member or colleague to read through your CV to catch any mistakes you might have overlooked. You can also use spelling and grammar checks in your word processor or online.

Inaccuracies about your qualifications or experience

Top among the things not to put on your resume are dishonest statements. These can take the form of half-truths, inaccuracies or misleading statements, but they all amount to the same thing. Many hiring managers are actually quite flexible about their requirements and will consider an applicant who has the right attitude even if they don’t meet all the criteria, so avoid embellishing your history.

Unnecessary personal information

Your resume is a place to showcase the achievements that make you a great employee, so stick to the information that’s most relevant to the job. If you had a particularly life-changing experience that led you to your current career, you can include a brief explanation, but otherwise, consider saving the rest for an interview.

Unless your family situation, religious beliefs or political leanings are directly and specifically related to your application, leave them out and focus instead on the professional skills that make you a good candidate.

Your age

Although hiring managers do their best to not form preconceptions of applicants, it’s much better not to provide any information that could work against you. There was a time when people routinely included their birth date on their resume, but it’s now acceptable to exclude references to your age as much as possible. If the role you are applying for has age-related requirements, you can simply state that you meet them and don’t go into any more detail.

Negative comments about a former employer

When writing your resume, omit any details about why you left a job or, if still employed, why you’re dissatisfied with your current position. You might include a statement about the kind of role you are looking for, but keep it positive. Similarly, when describing your experience, you should focus on the objective facts relating to your achievements in the role. It’s fine to highlight some challenges you faced and describe how you overcame them, but avoid speaking negatively about other organizations.

Too many details about your hobbies and interests

A hiring manager who is reading through CVs will expect to see some degree of personal information on a resume. With the increasing focus on work-life balance and the need for downtime, including some details of your interests and hobbies is expected and even encouraged.

However, even the most relevant hobbies or interests should only make up a couple of lines of your resume and you should avoid including anything that might undermine your application.

A hobbies and interests section on your resume is generally optional. The more professional experience you have, the less relevant your hobbies are likely to be.

Passive language

Your career isn’t something that just happened to you, so use action words and take credit for making it happen. Your resume is your chance to make an impression on a hiring manager, so make sure you take full advantage of that with strong action verbs and a roundup of all the things that make you a great choice for the job.

Tiny text

Although reducing the font size can seem like a great way to free up some space to include more information on your resume, you want your resume to be easy to read to encourage a recruiter to read as much of it as possible. Keep your resume to a reasonable length by prioritizing your most relevant skills and using bullet points or short statements to keep the word count down and ensure that there is a little white space on the page which will give it more visual appeal. Use a reasonably-sized font that is clear and easy to read and consider how your resume looks on the page.

Miscellaneous extra content

Your resume should focus on what you can bring to an employer, so you can also leave out anything that doesn’t contribute to that, including:

  • Photographs: Keep your resume to plain text unless specifically requested.

  • Contact details for your references: Your employer will ask for these if they need them.

  • Unexceptional academic results: Instead, draw attention to more positive achievements.

  • Company-specific jargon: Use terminology that anyone can understand.

  • Non-business social media or websites: Only give details of relevant sites that you use for work.

  • Your current salary: You can address this later in the process if necessary for negotiations.

  • Details of short-term roles: Focus on the positions where you stayed for at least several months.

  • First-person language (“I,” “we” or “me”): A recruiter will know your resume is about you so use action words to describe your achievements so that you can avoid overusing references to yourself.

 It’s natural to worry about leaving something out but avoid any temptation to embellish your achievements or include irrelevant information. Stick to areas where you can prove your skills and where your experience and achievements speak for themselves.




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