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What not to put on your CV

What not to put on your CV

What not to put on your CV

Employers don’t need to know everything, so it’s important to keep your CV focussed and to the point. While you might think including additional information will help win recruiters over, in actual fact it could have the opposite effect. It’s not unknown for some candidates to effectively talk themselves out of the position they’re applying for. To avoid making the same mistake there are several things we recommend you leave off your CV.


It goes without saying that you should always be positive on your CV, but while many candidates point out things they’re good at; equally they include the areas that need improvement. By including any negatives you’re giving employers the ammunition they need to take your application out of the running. Of course we all have things we need to work on, and if a recruiter asks at interview you should be honest, but always do this with a positive spin.


Most employers will exclude CV’s with photographs attached on general principle. For the vast majority of roles, unless you’re an actor or model, you won’t be hired based on your looks, making a photograph irrelevant.


Although it can be tempting to use clichés such as “team-player” and “detail oriented”, these terms won’t help you to stand out from other applicants. If you want to make an impression in the minds of recruiters try a different way of expressing these sentiments. An original approach is more likely to carry favour with recruiters than reusing the same tired clichés.

Personal Qualities

You don’t need to include details such as age, race and religion in your application. Although it’s against the law to base employment decisions on these factors, sadly in reality this practice does occur. Spare yourself the worry of wondering whether or not your application has been rejected for legitimate reasons, and leave these details off.

Additionally, including items that are irrelevant just clutters up your CV, making it more difficult for recruiters to find the information they’re after.


It’s easy to think that a little white lie won’t hurt. Stretching the dates of employment to cover up a gap is a common tactic. However if you’re lucky enough to be offered a position, your new employer will ask for references from your previous job, meaning your lie will soon be uncovered. Don’t risk losing out on a new opportunity for something that can easily be explained. Lies may seem like the easy option, but in the long run it isn’t worth it.

Long Term Goals

Many applicants have lofty ambitions of moving on to bigger and better things. It’s great to be ambitious and employers will admire your determination to succeed, but including your long term goals in your CV could also backfire. If the job you’re applying for is simply a stepping stone for bigger and better things, this won’t go down well with recruiters. Your employer wants you to be focussed on the role you’re after right now, not where you’ll be in a year.

When deciding what details to include in your CV, keep the following questions in mind:

  • Is it positive?
  • Does it add to your application?
  • Is it truthful?
  • Is it relevant?

Clear, concise and relevant CV’s are proven to give applicants the best chance of success. If in any doubt, cut it out.