What Not to Include in Your CV

A great CV is vital if you’re to secure a job interview but there are some things you really should leave out if you want to impress a potential employer. Here are a few things that your CV does NOT need.

An objective that does not make sense

You might harbour a secret ambition to be the next Bill Gates and believe that you’ve got what it takes to achieve that, but don’t say so on your CV. An objective statement is designed to convince employers that you have a clear career goal and that you’re suitable for the job; don’t ruin your CV with outrageous, farfetched statements. If you want an employer to take you seriously, keep your objectives brief, clear and tangible.


Unless you’re applying for a position as a model or the job advert specifically asks for one, don’t include a photo of yourself. Your physical appearance is of no interest to a recruiter and a photo of yourself dressed as Henry VIII at the college end of year fancy dress ball won’t portray you in a professional light!

Unrelated job experience

Don’t be tempted to include irrelevant job experience. Concentrate on work you’ve done that is directly related to the position you are applying for.

Avoid religion and politics

Everyone has their own views on politics and religion but this is of no interest to a potential employer (nor is it any of their business). Any particularly radical views you might hold could even prejudice a recruiter who does not share them.

Achievements that are not really achievements

No doubt you are very proud of your achievement in winning the speed eating contest during your freshman’s year at university, but a prospective employer won’t be that impressed! Keep to relevant professional achievements to raise your profile.

Weird hobbies

Sometimes it’s good to include a few hobbies and interests that might be illustrative of your character; volunteering at the local homeless shelter during Christmas week for example. Don’t include things like, growing super-hot chilli peppers on my windowsill or crocheting cushion covers; they are not relevant and the recruiter is not interested.

Fun E-mail address

Always set up a separate business/job application email address when you begin your search for a job. This should not include your birthday or funny college nicknames; keep it professional-sounding and include your name but keep any other personal details out of it.

Annoying clichés

Don’t fall into the trap of using CV clichés, text-speak or current trendy jargon as these are a total turn-off for recruiters. Keep it professional and use business English to make your prose clean, impactful and appropriate. The type of language you might use when posting on Facebook should not appear on your CV!

Out-dated fonts

As a general rule, stick to black type and simple fonts for your CV layout. The most important thing is that the text is easily readable and laid out clearly with headings for each section. Choose a modern font, like Arial for example, and avoid old-fashioned fonts like Serif or Times New Roman. Font size should be at least 12 and certainly no bigger than 14.

In conclusion

Today’s jobs market is competitive and the average CV perusal time for recruiters is just six seconds; keep these tips in mind and avoid the “Dear John” pile.

Image source: Shutterstock

Alison Page

About Alison Page

Alison is a small business owner, freelance writer, author and dressage judge. She has degrees in Equine Science and Business Studies. Read her full story at

Alison Page

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