10 things NOT to include in your CV

Don’t send the wrong signals


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10 things NOT to include in your CV

I have seen a lot of CVs and it is safe to say that the quality has been variable.

When we conduct FREE CV Reviews we do see some excellent creations that follow the Golden Rules (see my BLOGs elsewhere) and would virtually guarantee an interview.  Sadly, it is far more common to see a CV that sells the writer short; this still upsets me after all these years.

One of the simple things that you can do to improve your CV writing is to exclude things that do not have a bearing on the opportunity for which you are applying. It might sound obvious, but people put all sorts of things in CVs that do not need to be there.  I remember a chap who was applying for a buying job stating under the heading 'Achievements': “flying in a tandem microlite over Mount Kilimanjaro”.  I am sure it was a great holiday experience, but did it in any way make a case for that person as a procurement professional?  No. The following is a short list of things I regularly see in CVs that do not need to be there:

• Date of birth – under recent age discrimination legislation you are not required to provide this.  It is true that the reader will probably try to work out your age by looking at your career history, but they shouldn’t.  It is illegal in the UK for age to form part of the recruitment decision-making process.

• State of health – this can also be used to discriminate against you.

• Current salary – Recruiters can make assumptions about what you will and won’t accept and may not include you in a shortlist as a result.  Don’t put it in. This is something that should and would be discussed at interview.

• References – I don’t even use the commonly seen phrase: “available on request”. You can supply references when you get to the exciting point of actually being offered a job.

• Weight and height – you’d be surprised, some people include this.  For ‘some people’ read ‘some men’ – no woman would do this obviously (Yes I know that was discriminatory but it was a joke).

• Reason for leaving last job – again, this can be discussed at interview.

• Marital Status – In what way is this relevant to your ability to do the job?

• Hobbies and past-times – I don’t like football (I’m a diver, divers do not like football - fact) and you would be amazed at the number of times people (again, usually men) state: “lifelong supporter of blah blah football club”.  Who cares? Are you a good engineer?  If your hobby tells the recruiter something about you that supports your application, well then do include it.  If you are a diver, for example, obviously.   If your hobby has been helping a charity build a free Wi-Fi network in your town, and that has some bearing on the telecoms job for which you are applying then put it in.  By the way, I also do not want to be told that you spend time playing with your kids.  You’d better do!

• Photographs – I’ve said this elsewhere. Most photos I see in CVs appear to be of serial killers, or nymphomaniacs.  Just those two groups.  Oh, and I’ve seen a photo of someone who appears to be the most boring man in the world.  Unless the recruiter insists, don’t do it.  If they do insist take the time to make it a good photo. Do let me know if you agree with this list, or if there is something missing.  

If you were kind enough to direct your friends to this BLOG, I would be most grateful. If you would like someone to cast a professional eye over your CV and not charge you for the privilege, I know just the man.  Just click on the button marked FREE CV Review.


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