10 things not to include in your CV

Published: 9 January 2014

Are you thinking it’s time to find a new challenge and fresh opportunity?  The biggest barrier to getting your job search underway is often the pain of pulling together a CV that reflects you and grabs the attention of future employers.  Never mind the “must dos” in CV compilation, focus on the “do nots”. Get it right and you’ll create an engaging, personal and focused resume.

1.  Do not include a physical description of yourself.  Employers don’t care about the colour of your eyes, height, and weight or hair style.  The head and shoulders photo of you on your CV or Linkedin is enough.

2.  Hobbies: You may be interested in hill walking or knitting, generally speaking employers aren’t.  What you do in your spare time can always be discussed but doesn’t need to be in your resume and can affect the way you are perceived.

3.  Personal Information: Sexuality, marital status, age, religious beliefs are all personal – keep them that way.  Employers aren’t sexist, racist or ageist, by law.

4.  Profile Statements: There is a risk that long and subjective descriptions of you can come across as arrogant.  It’s great to have a simple statement —if you can describe yourself in 140 characters, all the better.

5.  Bad gramer and speling: Employers will have an immediate negative view if your CV contains errors – this is a real demonstration of a lack of attention to detail and inability to check your own work.  If in doubt get someone else to proof your CV.

6.  Gaps in work history: Don’t generalise and don’t leave out roles or detail.  It’s better to explain moves than not include them as the gaps will come to light and you’ll appear dishonest.

7.  Don’t exaggerate or worse make it up.  Don’t be one of those rare individuals who create imaginary qualifications and experience.  We will find out.

8.  Employers hate jargon.  It may be part of the language within a specific organisation but it’s not understood by all.  Spell it out please.

9.  Your CV is all about you and what you achieved so don’t waste space explaining previous organisations in detail or work that you didn’t directly influence.  What did you do and influence? 

10.  Unless you’re a creative type going for a creative role avoid colour, jazzy fonts, and pictures.  Keep it simple and two or three pages max.

Tamsin Terry-Lush is a Principal Consultant in the Retail Practice at Berwick Partners

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