Getting your CV right is essential for job-hunt success as it’s the first stage of convincing a prospective employer that you’re the one for the role.
To make sure you present yourself as the talent they need to bring on board, here are eight things that should not be included on your CV. Remove them right away and you’ll create an impression that lasts for the right reasons.
- Age and date of birth
As your age doesn’t affect your ability to do the job you’re applying for, it has no place on your CV. Employers should measure your ability on years of experience, not how old you are.
In the UK, under the Equality Act 2010, it’s illegal for employers to discriminate against candidates because of their age. Therefore, recruiters should not ask for this information during the job-application process, and they should not base their decisions on hiring or not hiring you based on how old you are. Don’t give them the fuel to do so by including your age on your CV.
- Marital status and dependents
Like your age, your marital status and the number of children you have don’t affect your ability to do a job. Therefore, you don’t need to include this information on your CV. Plus, these are protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010.
- Personal circumstances
Most candidates are extremely lucky to experience a smooth career trajectory, as most of us go through a few bumps here and there. Your reasons for being out of work have no place on your CV for two reasons.
Firstly, your CV is a two-page document filled with your most relevant skills and abilities to show why you’re a great fit for a vacancy. You don’t want to waste precious space with details that could convince the prospective employer why you might not be so great. This is particularly pertinent if you were dismissed from your last role.
Secondly, some personal circumstances are also protected characteristics, such as being pregnant or on maternity leave. It’s worth noting that you’re legally protected by the Equality Act if you’re associated with someone who has a protected characteristic, such as if you were caring for a family member or friend with a disability. Even if your reason is protected, don’t open yourself up to potential discrimination by listing it on your CV. There are better ways to fill the space.
- A photo
In some countries, a headshot is customary. However, in the UK, a photo of yourself is not required.
Firstly, employers should judge you on your skills and experience, not what you look like. Therefore, it’s more beneficial to fill the space with the details they’re looking for.
Secondly, a photo can often reveal your age, or at least give a general idea of it. Avoid the possibility of age discrimination by not including a headshot on your CV.
- Your address
Once upon a time, listing your address on your CV was a requirement. Today however, you simply need to list your town and county of residence.
Most application forms ask you to fill in your address separately, so there’s little point in adding it to your CV too. But your general location can be a nice addition to your CV if your locality is deemed a selling point.
If you think your location might negatively affect your chances of landing a job ‒ if you live quite a distance away, for example ‒ you can omit your location from your CV entirely.
- ‘Curriculum vitae’ as the title
Many job hunters make the mistake of titling their CV with the phrase ‘curriculum vitae’ or ‘CV’. This is outdated and unnecessary.
As most CVs are sent digitally, the file name of the document should be enough to signal to the recruiter what it is. Plus, if you’ve formatted your CV correctly, a prospective employer will know that it’s a CV with one glance.
Treat your name as the title of the document. After all, your CV is all about you. Place it at the top of your CV in large lettering, followed by your email address, phone number, location and your LinkedIn URL.
- Irrelevant work experience and qualifications
It’s extremely important to tailor your CV to the job for which you’re applying. Therefore, don’t be afraid to cut irrelevant details from your CV. This includes work experience from over 10 years ago or positions that are unrelated to the industry you’re entering, for example.
I’d also encourage you to avoid listing every single qualification to your name if you’re a few years into your career. Summarise your qualifications where you can; for example: ‘four A-Levels, grades A to C’. And if you’re an experienced professional, it’s perfectly acceptable to list only your most recent or weighty qualification, such as your degree. The rest of your education is suggested.
How useful is the line ‘References available upon request at the end of your CV? Not very.
Across the UK, there is a mutual expectation between past and prospective employers that an exchange of references may be necessary when a new hire starts their role. Therefore, as everyone is in the know, it’s redundant to say at the end of your CV that you have references at hand.
If your new employer wants a reference, they’ll ask for it, so use that space on the page for more important points to show recruiters what a great hire you’d make.