The second in a series of expert advice blogs, from Dave Wood of www.northwestwebjobs.co.uk .

The battle against bad and ugly CVs continues! This week we set a keen eye on the personal details that you should and shouldn’t be including in your document.

Children in British schools are, commonly, taught to write their name and age at the top of a piece of work. Many people seem to carry the habits of their school days into their adult life, in particular when it comes to CVs. It’s important to break those habits, and to recognise that your age has no bearing on your ability to do a job. As such, you should always leave your age/birthdate off a CV. Sadly, people make sub-conscious emotional decisions, and it’s entirely possible that an employer may have a particular perception of younger or older staff, based on past experience. Don’t allow yourself to be judged on anything other than your talent and character.

Much like age, it’s fair to say that information on race and religious beliefs can be a point of discrimination. The only time that you should give an employer such information is if prompted by a non-considered equal opportunities form.

NOTE: There are, of course, some exceptions to the “no age” rule. One such example would be the 18+ restrictions applied to employment in alcohol retail.


Another example of personal information that shouldn’t be included on your CV, would be your references.

A good CV will make it clear that the jobseeker has a number of potential referees. However, there is no need to give away your references before interview. A prospective employer’s conversation with a previous employer could make or break your chances of getting the job. The aim of a CV is to help you to get your foot in the door, and to give yourself an opportunity to state your case. Don’t allow someone else, no matter how trusted, to do it for you!

I’d also be sure to leave social media links off a CV. It’s probably best not to make your drunken pictures accessible to any employer! When it comes to contacts, I’d include nothing more than name, address, email and phone number; centring these at the top of Page 1.


A further suggestion, specifically for those in the writing trade, is that you should link any work samples from your covering email, as opposed to the CV. This will save room on the CV, whilst making the work instantly accessible to the employer. On a personal note, I’ve been offered interviews in the past based off of the impact of articles that I’ve provided links to. A blog link could be the quick, eye-catching, game-changer that you’ve been looking for. It could sell the employer on interviewing you, before they even look at your CV.

Along similar lines, I’d also suggest that every candidate should include a small section, perhaps at the bottom of the first page, listing their hobbies and interests. This will be especially useful should your hobbies coincide with the specification of the job in question. The list may also act as an ice-breaker in an interview situation. Who knows, perhaps one of your interviewers will share your love of Clint Eastwood movies!

Next week, Dave shares the benefits of his experiences regarding self-assessment.

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