Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
CVS / NOV. 27, 2014
version 4, draft 4

What to Leave Out of a CV

A well-written curriculum vitae is like a key: One that fits is going to open the door to a new job.

While the CV document tends to be longer and includes more relevant information than a resume would, it’s also not meant to be an exhaustive document that lists everything you’ve ever done.

After all, some of the activities you’ve participated in are probably not going to be appealing to certain employers, while other items are just going to waste a hiring manager’s time. While you should take the time to tailor your CV to every job for which you’re applying, there tends to be a few things that don’t have a place on any CV, any time.


Nothing screams “throw me away” louder than a CV fraught with spelling mistakes, grammar flubs or typos. If editing your own work is not your strong suit, get help. Ask a friend or even a CV-writing service to look over your document and ensure it’s free of mistakes.

Personal information

While employers are not supposed to discriminate against you due to your marital status or family circumstances, mentioning that you’re the sole breadwinner for a family of six is probably not the best way to appeal to a prospective employer. Likewise, talking about your upcoming wedding might be a source of joy for you, but it’s going to tell an employer that your mind might be on things other than work. You’re at your job to work, so leave the information on your CV to those things that are work-related. That includes skipping your birth date, religion, marital status, and information about your kids. If you’re including a "Hobbies" or "Interests" section, include only those that relate to the job. For example, stating that you’re a member of the local rock climbing club is relevant only if you know the new boss is a climber, or if you’re applying to be the manager of a health or fitness center.

Jobs that don’t matter

The standard length for a CV is about two pages, suggests the University of Kent, but in some industries, such as management or banking, it’s more like one page. That doesn’t give you space to talk about that summer job you held as a carnival clown or the month you spent working on an organic farm. If the job isn’t relevant to the one for which you’re now applying, leave it off.

Lengthy job descriptions

CVs need to be succinct, and adding too much detail -- even for relevant jobs -- should be a no-no. When you create your bullet points describing a job, include only the duties or skills that relate to the new job. If you’re a former bank teller who’s now applying for a bank manager position, for example, talk about your financial and management duties, but leave off the fact that you were also responsible for sweeping the floors at night.

Outright lies

Whatever you do, don’t lie on your CV. Lying about your education or experience could land you the job, but if the employer finds out, it could land you back on the unemployment line without a reference -- or worse. In some industries, it could lead to legal action against you.

Salary information

Hopefully, the new job for which you’re applying will mean a salary increase -- and if it’s a big one, an employer might consider a lower amount when he sees how much you’re making now. There’s no need to include your requested salary either, unless the prospective employer requests it.

Explanations about gaps in employment

Use the cover letter to explain that you’ve been working as a freelancer or that you’ve been managing the family home instead of including any of that information on your CV. Since recruiters will look at your cover letter first, it could keep your CV from ending up in the discard pile right away. 

Even with stellar qualifications, getting a job requires a lot of hard work. To make yourself the best candidate possible, don’t make the mistake of including useless or potentially-damaging information.


Image courtesy Ivy Exec, Creative Commons Images

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