What Not to Put On Your CV

What Not to Put On Your CV

Creating a CV can give even the best writers nightmares. Pesky typos, the pressure to make your dull work history sound exciting, ensuring your summary pops out at the recruiter, it’s all enough to make you hide your head under the duvet and defer this chore for another day.

Yet procrastination won’t get you that job. This article sets out to clear up a few misunderstandings about what to include in your CV. We won’t harp on about spelling and grammar mistakes – we’ll assume you know about this already and you’ve installed Grammarly for those vital extra checks.

So, what’s officially out?

Personal information

Of course, your CV is about you, so you need to put your name and an email address a recruiter can contact you with. However, if you’re used to putting your age, date of birth or National Insurance Number on your CV, it’s time to remove it.

CVs can stay on the internet for a long time and potentially fall into the wrong hands if you’re posting them to various job sites. Therefore, it’s wise to limit the amount of sensitive information you give about yourself.

Likewise, putting your age or marital status can lead to discrimination.

Other people’s personal information

In the same way, adding names and addresses of references is risking their personal information. What the recruiter or hiring manager will normally do is ask for referee contact details after you’ve already got a provisional job offer.

A photograph

In some countries, it’s common practice to include a passport-size photograph with a CV or resume. In the UK, however, recruitment processes seek to eliminate discrimination wherever possible. Adding a photograph could leave an employer open to accusations of bias. Whether you’re a match for a role or not has nothing to do with your appearance, so leave the photo off.

Social media information

Unless it’s somehow relevant to the job, don’t add your social media handles to your CV. Even if your Instagram grid plays home to your design portfolio, you’re unlikely to need it on your CV as they’ll ask to see design samples later in the process. HR professionals are adept at seeking you out on social media anyway. They don’t need your help, so save the space for something more interesting.

Soft skills

Your skills section is for hard skills that are relevant to the job you’re applying for, so save this space for IT qualifications, languages and technical competencies.


You should include your hobbies if you have any. However, instead of listing them all, it makes sense to be strategic. Make sure they add to your application, rather than just being afterthoughts.

Not all hiring managers are interested in hobbies, so they won’t always give them much attention. Other people love to know what you get up to in your spare time, and it can really make you stand out from other applicants.

Some interests may not be beneficial to include as they don’t give the best impression. You’re safe including reading and going to the cinema (as long as it’s true). If you have a lot of hobbies, be selective.

A daft email address

If you’re still using the same Hotmail address from 20 years ago which reads like: ilovejustintimberlake99xx@hotmail.com, then you ought to register for a new one with something more practical, such as your name. Don’t include your year of birth, though, as again, discrimination.

Overly designed formatting

Keep the formatting of your CV simple so the space is used for the most important information about you. Bright colours and confusing fonts can be distracting and uncomfortable to read, as much as you want to show off your design skills. Save these for your portfolio.


One we often don’t think about. It sounds impressive to be able to use acronyms or technical terms relevant to our work, but if the job you’re applying for isn’t in the same industry, then HR managers and recruiters aren’t going to understand. Sell yourself and keep everything in plain English other than where it’s strictly necessary.

Waffly language

There is a trend to use highfalutin language (there’s one example just now!) on CVs, on LinkedIn profiles and in application forms. It’s as though the more syllables you use, the cleverer you seem. That trick may have worked once upon a time, but recruiters and hiring managers are much savvier now. If you sound like you’ve swallowed a dictionary, you come across at best pretentious and at worst, like you don’t really know what you’re talking about. Keep to the simplest terms possible so your CV is easy to digest.

There – we hope that makes the CV-writing process a little easier. If you can think of any other CV faux-pas or something that’s old hat, be sure to leave us a comment on our LinkedIn Page.

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