23 Things NOT to include on your CV / Resume

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Written by Jonathan Burston

CV and Resumes come in all different shapes and sizes. They are designed to showcase you, your skills, knowledge and experience to a potential employer. And that’s where the problem starts.

What to include? What not to include? What a headache!

And what’s interesting to us is bound to be interesting to a recruiter, isn’t it? No!

Interest & Intrigue

CVs and Resumes are designed to be interesting and intriguing. They must have the balance between enough information and too much.

Having seen thousands of CVs and Resumes over the years, it’s fascinating to see what candidates write.

Stand Out CV

More often than not most are incredibly bland and do nothing to help a candidate stand out. Then, there are those that stand out – for the wrong reasons. For the things they’ve included that shouldn’t have been.

The List of 23

Here’s a list of 23 things that shouldn’t have been included:

  1. Lying about your qualifications
  2. Describing what you look like
  3. Having a personal statement that contradicts itself
  4. Including a photo or photos of yourself
  5. Your Religion
  6. Your age
  7. Listing your sexual orientation – why??
  8. Too much personal information e.g. married, divorced, separated, children, step children
  9. Political affiliation
  10. Odd hobbies e.g. ‘Searching for the perfect white shirt’
  11. Using negative language e.g. bad, fault, hate, problem, awful, aggressive
  12. Listing all your skills, knowledge, experience and achievements over 8 pages! Yes 8 pages
  13. Handwriting your CV
  14. Using too many colours (and too many fonts)
  15. Using clipart
  16. Meaningless and annoying buzzwords, jargon, clichés or vague words e.g. dynamic, go-getter, think outside the box,
  17. Bad grammar and abbreviations
  18. Using slang
  19. Having spelling mistakes (particularly when you list ‘attention to detail’ as a core skill)
  20. Unprofessional email addresses e.g. themaverick@….
  21. Links to your personal social media accounts
  22. Explaining a gap in employment with an odd reason e.g. to get over a pet dying
  23. Achievements that are not relevant to the role you’re applying for e.g. Winning best looking man competition 2009 at University

Is that it?

Now I’m sure there are more that could be included. If you know of one that should be included in the list, let me know and I’ll include it.

Just make sure that your CV isn’t including one of the 23 listed above.


YES! I want to stand out at interviews.

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About the author

Jonathan Burston


  • I assume you meant ‘not’ rather than ‘note’ under the ‘Stand Out CV’ section. If you’re against typos I’d suggest you review you’re own writing before you post.

    • Good spot! Thanks for commenting. Sometimes even when you check it you miss something. All sorted now, thanks again.

  • Fantastic article! This could be so helpful for any candidate who is taking on the job searching process, especially if they are new to employment or even if they haven’t updated their CV in a while.
    Everyone who is creating/editing their CV should use this as a check-list when doing so.