What NOT to include in your CV


Kelly Worrall career zone

You may have spent years building up the necessary skills and qualifications to come across as the perfect applicant for your dream job. Don’t go and blow it all now by including any of these fatal mistakes on your CV!


Jargon and Fluff 
Avoid using acronyms and jargon when writing your CV. Employers will lose concentration if they have to stop and work out the meaning of every acronym on your CV. Also avoid unnecessary fluff – keep it clear, to the point and back up any lofty statements with hard facts.


Comedy email addresses 
An inappropriate email address like will mark you out as unprofessional. If you don’t have a professional-sounding email address then set one up before you start applying for jobs, especially if you are posting an online CV!


Irrelevant information 
When compiling your CV, don’t include irrelevant information and make sure anything you do include can be interpreted as a positive attribute for the job. List your most relevant and transferable skills on the first page and keep the document under two pages long.


Fancy paper 
Your CV should be recognised for the quality of information it contains. The way to do this is with a clear CV template, not with fancy fonts, coloured paper or complex layouts. Use plain white paper, and print on one side of the page only.


Too much personal information 
You don’t need to include your marital status, age, place of birth or gender on your CV. These could lead to identity fraud. Unless any of these are demonstrably relevant to the position, the employer doesn’t need to know.


Long, convoluted sentences 
Use short, snappy sentences that grab the reader’s attention and portray you as someone who gets things done. You don’t want to lose the attention of your audience. Use bulleted lists for skills and achievements and use an online CV template with clearly marked-out sections to make it easy for the reader to follow.


Common as it is, exaggerating achievements on your CV or making them up from scratch is one of the best ways to get blacklisted by an employer. If you do make it through to the first interview, only to be discovered as a fraudster, you’re unlikely to get a second chance.


Negative thinking 
Avoid including anything negative in your CV. Don’t be tempted to give ‘reasons’ why your career in a certain position did not progress as you would have wished and don’t include ‘reasons for leaving’. Negative-sounding words are also out – don’t say ‘problem’, for example, say ‘challenge’ instead.


Criticism of previous employers 
Always remember that you are posting your CV to an employer. Don’t criticise your previous employers or the way they run their business or there is a good possibility that the reader will view this as disloyalty.


We all have words that we prefer to use, but be sure that you haven’t repeatedly used the same word or phrase through the CV, or you will appear unimaginative.


Referring to yourself in the first or third person 
Do not start sentences with either ‘I’, ‘he’ / ‘she’, or your own name. It is best to leave out all of these and use a report-writing style instead.


One of the most common error is spelling mistakes. Remember to spell-check and proofread your CV several times and find someone else to check it. It is easy to miss grammatical and spelling mistakes on the first read-through. In the hands of an employer, just one mistake could label you as careless and lacking attention to detail.


For further careers advice, visit our dedicated Career Zone 


Scroll to top