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What to leave out of your CV

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Most job seekers are aware of what should go into their CV, but what you leave out is just as important. Recent school leavers will struggle to complete two pages and may choose to include lots of irrelevant waffle. On the flip side, some job seekers have years of experience and want to include as much as possible to impress – even going over to 3 and 4 pages.

But neither of these two options is viable if you want to get frequent job interview requests. Your application needs to instead be more focused on what the employer wants, and not just a forum to show off your entire career history.

To help you get more job interviews, here’s what to leave out of your CV.

Irrelevant credentials

Although you may feel it would impress an employer to include every achievement, qualification and skill you’ve ever attained – it won’t! The hiring manager doesn’t have time to read everything you’ve ever accomplished and is mainly concerned with how relevant your credentials are to the role. There is an exception to this rule however, and if you have an outstanding achievement in another field, then you should always share it.

But when it comes to your list of skills, your education, background and experience – you need to leave out the irrelevant information. At the very least you should consider dumbing down the irrelevant stuff and only expanding on what matters.

As long as you can cover most or all of the mandatory and important skills you can leave out the others – 4-6 core skills are all that’s usually needed. Check the job advert to see which skills are requested and ensure you match the wording so there’s no confusion. Your work history could also be more focused on what the employer wants to see. Look for transferable skills and highlight those, leaving anything else to sit in the background.

Cliché words and phrases

Cliché statements are a thing of the past, and when an employer is looking for achievements and results, these statements mean nothing. Here are a few examples of the cliché statements to avoid: 

I am a dynamic and enthusiastic…

I am a hard worker

I work well on my own and as part of a team

I have a keen eye for detail 

These kinds of statements are bordering on arrogant because they assume the employer will and must believe them. But is that really fair? The employer has to read lots of applications and will attempt to see through the embellishments and even lies, and cliché statements make it easy for them.

So leave the clichés out of your CV and look to instead provide achievements and results. If you can back up your work experience with actual numbers, figures, stats, graphs, customer service examples, and so on – then you are much more likely to get a job interview.

Personal details

With the exception of certain careers like acting and modelling, the employer does not need to know your age, height, political views, religious beliefs, or anything else of a personal nature. All they require is your full name and two forms of contact information – email address and mobile number.

Leaving out personal information from a CV helps prevent any discrimination. The employer should only be able to make their decision based on credentials, and nothing else matters.

Whilst it shouldn’t be true (and indeed, it is against the law), even your date of birth could go against you if the perception is that you are too young or old for the role.

We’d recommend continuing this trend into the interview if you can – avoiding mentioning or wearing anything that might give an employer a reason to discriminate, such as religious jewellery. Whilst the right to wear this is protected unless there is a objective reason for it to be restricted (such as health and safety or hygiene), sadly discrimination still exists in the earliest stages of the hiring process.

Reasons for leaving previous roles

Your reason for leaving a previous job isn’t something you need to divulge on your CV. Lots of people leave a job and start a new one every single day, and this is nothing special or helpful towards your interview chances.

The problem with trying to explain your reasons is that it can sometimes backfire. Not every employer will see your decision as a good one, no matter how complimentary you are about the company. And if you were thinking of having a little dig, then this would certainly be something you should leave out. Even when asked about a previous employer in the interview you should always remain positive.

So no matter how acceptable your reasons for leaving a company were, they just don’t need to be on a CV. You only have to provide the timelines between each role along with the usual tasks and responsibilities. Save this line of questioning for the interview.

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