Ask 10 people how to write a CV and you’ll likely get 10 different pieces of advice. But if there’s one thing that everyone agrees on, there are certain things that just don’t belong on a CV.

So whip out your CV, go through this list, and make sure you remove anything that’s on here!

1. Profile photo

This was common practice in the olden days, but you’re no longer expected to send a photo of yourself with your CV. It’s an outdated formality, and you don’t want to risk hiring managers making assumptions about you based on how you look.

Instead, just make sure you have a good, professional head shot on your LinkedIn profile.

2. Objective statement

Likewise – you can leave this on your LinkedIn profile, but make sure it’s nowhere near your CV.

The problem with objective statements is that they’ve become so watered down over the years that they no longer mean anything. Saying that you are a “motivated, driven individual looking to succeed at a large organisation” has zero impact.

Instead, just let your key skills and work experience do the talking. Hiring managers would rather see real-life evidence of your ability than vague statements about your goals.

3. Referees

Many people assume it’s mandatory to include referee details, but when you think about it, it makes perfectly logical sense to leave them off.

A hiring manager will only be interested in calling your referees after the interview, once they feel fairly confident they want to hire you. And at this point, they’ll simply ask you for a couple of referees.

Mentioning referees on your CV only wastes valuable space – the company you’re applying at hasn’t even met you yet! Don’t even include the redundant “Referees available upon request” line.

4. Your GPA or grades

On the very rare occasion (e.g. when applying for a formal graduate programme), you might be asked for your academic record. If this isn’t the case, just leave it out.

5. Jobs from high school

Sure, that part time job at McDonald’s might have taught you a thing or two about teamwork. But after all these years, is it even relevant to the job you’re applying for?

A good rule of thumb is if a role is more than 10 years old, it’s safe to leave off your CV.

6. Anything beyond page 1

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – limit your CV to one page. It is possible, and it is highly effective.

If you’re not sure how to trim yours down to a single page, talk to a CV expert who can show you where you can cut down.

7. ‘Microsoft Office’

Every man and his dog knows how to use basic computer software. If you have this listed as one of your skills, please remove it immediately.

8. Buzzwords

You probably know what they are. “Team player”. “Results-oriented”. “Creative”. “Hardworking”. Think about it – aren’t we all hardworking to some extent? And if you aren’t hardworking by default, would anyone be interested in hiring you?

Empty, fluffy buzzwords like these do more harm than good. Be specific, and mention concrete examples of how you’re hardworking, instead of just saying it.

9. Typos and grammar mistakes

Don’t underestimate the negative impact a single misplaced letter can have. This is why it’s so important to check, double-check, then triple-check for errors, and get someone else to read your CV as well.

Know anything else that shouldn’t be on a CV? Disagree with any of the above? Let us know in the comments below!

– John

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