10 Things to Leave Out of Your CV

In this list produced by our professional CV writers, you will discover 10 things that we recommend you leave out of your CV.

1. Photos

In the UK including a photograph on your CV is not usual protocol. There are some exceptions, for example if you are an actor or member of airline cabin crew. In certain parts of Europe the inclusion of a photograph is not only the norm but is essential in some cultures.

The obvious reason for not including a photo is that it will be the first thing the reader sees and therefore could be inappropriately prejudicial - with the best will in the world appearance can generate an opinion and you do not want to introduce anything that interrupts the readers' positive mind flow.

It could be something simple like the background or the colour of a tie or blouse! Worse still that blurred holiday snap of you sneering at the pool bar in T-shirt and shorts probably does not send a business-like message.

2. Any sort of failure

A CV is a positive document written from a 'cup is half full perspective' and not 'cup is half empty' - they are both the same but of course the former sounds better! This means anything with a negative connotation has no place on a well-written CV.

Also the reader will probably not want to know these negative issues as part of their decision-making process in terms of inviting you to an interview. We all have unscheduled events in our lives, many could be seen as a hindrance that will conflict with a career.

Why would you want to emphasise these? They are your personal business and remember a CV is a tool to win an interview - end of!

So, no 'I got sacked', 'I got divorced', 'I had loads of time off sick', 'I failed my exams', 'my business failed' or anything else that is perceived as a failure!

3. Every vacation and Saturday job you've ever had

When clients send their CV to our CV writing service they have often listed holiday jobs from 20 years ago. These may be relevant while you're looking for your first job having just left education, but after that they're quite useless to the reader and their thought process when inviting you to an interview.

If you have long gaps between jobs that were filled with temporary roles then do include these but do not go into a lot of detail and make it clear they were stop gaps while finding your main job.

4. The words 'I', 'he' or 'she'

The opening statement at the top of your CV should be written in the third-person, as though somebody was writing it about you. This means that you should not include 'I', 'Me', 'My', 'He' or 'She'.

The main body of a CV should really be written in the past-tense, after all it is describing events that happened historically even if they were only last week. Again there should not be any of the aforementioned words included. Try to begin a sentence with a powerful word and avoid any reference to 'I' or 'My'.

5. References

Reference taking is really a flawed process. You are not going to supply the name and contact details of a person that will give you a bad reference are you? A new employer knows this as well!

There is absolutely no point in including references on a CV, unless an employer specifically asks for them. It is out of your hands anyway - it will be the new employer's prerogative to seek references no matter if you like it or not!

Don't include names, addresses, emails and phone numbers. The phrase "References are available upon request" should also be left out too.

As you have no control where your CV will end up once you have released it, how do you think your referees will feel knowing that their private direct dial phone number and email address is out for all to see in cyberspace. Identity thieves may thank you for it though!

Above all else this information will NOT win you an interview - so why use up valuable space on your CV by including it?

6. Reasons for leaving each job

Remember the 'Mission Statement' of your CV is to 'Raise interest and secure an invitation to an interview'. Will stating why you left each job champion this cause?

No, it will not.

Everybody leaves jobs, it is a fact of life. There aren't too many positive (honest) reasons for leaving a job! If a potential employer wants to know why they can ask you face-to-face in an interview.

7. List of all your schools

If this is your first CV for a first job after leaving full time secondary education, then there might be a place for this.

However, once you have begun full-time work, and worse still you are 10 years down the road, what possible influence will listing every school and every exam you've ever done have on winning you an interview? Leave these details off!

8. Salary information

This can only be used to reject your application. If an advertisement specifically requests this information, you can always include it in your cover letter.

9. Patterns, borders and graphics

This is an absolute no no! Yes, it will make your CV stand out, but for the wrong reasons!

This is a business document to be used to market your personal skills and capacity to add value. A bright pink border will not help this cause.

In fact any colour be it graphics, employer logos, blue hyperlinks or borders and fonts are a complete distraction to the reader. There is a school of thought that a graphic designer's CV might not always be monotone, but they should know what they are doing. Most CV authors will not!

10. Binders and folders

Pointless as most applications will be emailed of course!

If you have networked, set up a meeting and the decision-maker is only seeing you plus one or two others then yes by all means put your hard copy CV in a simple and business-like folder to be left with the interviewer to allow them to remember you.

That said they will already have an emailed copy that they printed off before meeting you, so they may well just stick your second copy in the bin - particularly if they did not like you!

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