When you’re putting together your CV for the first time, or even updating it, it can be tempting to attempt to include absolutely every aspect of your work life, and indeed lots of personal information, but you should also put some thought into (or ask some advice on) what you should leave out. The standard CV format, and what the recruiter or employer expects to see there has changed a lot in the last few years, and including some details can make your profile look dated, or that you’re not keeping up with recent developments. Also, too much detail on work experience that isn’t relevant to the role you’re applying for can make it seem like you’re shooting out multiple CV’s to various jobs without making sure they’re a fit for you, your skills and your experience. Below, we’ve put together a few things that employers’ won’t ​want to see on your CV, and that could make the difference between your CV being progressed, or put in the “not of interest” pile.

Irrelevant Work Experience

Too many candidates see their CV as an opportunity to list literally every responsibility they’ve ever had across their career. While it depends on the point in your career (obviously a recent graduate will have fewer roles to work with than a more experienced person), the general rule of thumb is that the recruiter or hiring manager will only give real attention to your last 2­3 roles, so list the jobs before this using just date, company, title, and maybe a one­ liner on your role there. That you were a cashier at Morrisons’ while at Uni, or collected glasses at the rugby club on Saturday evenings most likely isn’t going to be relevant for type of roles you’re applying for now. Even in your most recent positions that you’re going to be going into more detail in, leave out irrelevant duties, and keep only the more transferable skills that are included in the job spec you’re applying for.

Non­matching Personal Statement

The jury is still out on whether to include a personal or mission statement at the top of your CV, but if you choose to, make sure your career aspirations match the role you’re applying for. This applies in terms of level, while ambition is great, if you’re applying for a middle management role but mention you see yourself in a “head of” role, it may seem like you’re not willing to get your hands dirty­ but also position; if you’re applying for a role in hospitality, don’t mention you’d like be a writer, as you’ll seem like a flight risk, and totally uninterested in the role at hand.

Irrelevant Personal Details

Recruiters often see an abundance of details about the person’s personal life that really aren’t needed. 30 years ago, seeing marital status and children on a CV was common, but now can be a sign that the person is a little behind the times; ­no employer needs to know these details. It’s advisable to include your name, phone number, email address, website (if you have one) and LinkedIn URL­, that’s really all they need to know. Even your full address is unnecessary, especially if it’s not close to the job being advertised as it can turn a recruiter off immediately. Unless it’s for a driving job, your license and status is also unnecessary, and can look like you’re just filling up space to ­keep it clean and streamlined!

References or Recommendations on the CV

Again, 30 years ago, without easy communication, this may have been the norm, but these days, references aren’t requested until late on in the interview process­ when you’re close to offer. There’s no need to take up space with
these on your CV­ if it’s assumed that you’ll be able to provide them upon request. The exception to this is if you’re a recent graduate where including the name, phone and email of a trusted University advisor can be a help if you have no other work experience­ just make sure to give them the heads up first.

Your Photograph

Unless you’re an actor, model or similar, there is literally no reason to include your photo, and it can often be quite off­ putting to a recruiter. Further, some recruitment management systems don’t support JPEG (photos), so it can mean your CV not being uploaded correctly, removing you from the process immediately. In the age of Linkedin and other social media, it’s unnecessary anyway, the recruiter can check you out any time they like!

The general rule of thumb for what to include or not in your CV is to look at it from the recruiter or hiring manager’s point of view -­ what is the bare amount of information needed for them to progress your profile? Include that and stop there – adding superfluous details can be confusing and off ­putting and can actually go against you in your application. If you’re in doubt about how to put together a coherent and relevant CV, consult a professional!