When you are seeking a new job, your CV and cover letter are critical tools to support your success. Because the job market is quite competitive, you need your CV to stand out from the crowd, but not in a wrong way! Specific pieces of information should never be included in a CV. Some may get you disqualified immediately, while others are just more appropriate to disclose later in the hiring process. Let’s take a look at five things never to include on your CV.

5 Things Not to Put in Your CV

Date of birth

Ageism is an unfortunate fact of life in the job market, and coming right out with your date of birth can negatively affect an employer’s interest in reading your whole CV. Whether you are straight out of college or inching toward retirement, don’t allow your age to be a relevant factor in the hiring process. Your general age group is easily understood by the dates included in your job and education details, but if you keep the focus on everything that you have achieved in your career, it becomes an incidental detail rather than its bullet point.

Personal information

There is no need to disclose your family situation, religion, sexual preference, or whether you smoke. The same goes for any weird hobbies you have or unusual pets you own. Not only are these factors irrelevant concerning the job you may be hired to do, but some of them are also illegal for an employer to even ask. Though there is no reason to be ashamed of your personal life, these details could cause an employer to make assumptions about how committed you will be to the job or how well you will fit in around the office.


This is a relatively new recommendation, but references on your CV do not serve a job hunt exceptionally well. For one thing, employers already assume that if you have job experience, you can produce references. It is not crucial to proving it up front.

Also, remember that each company has its own requirements for number and type of references, so it is a waste to provide ones that don’t match up. And finally, due to privacy concerns, it is better not to expose the contact information of your references to every company that receives your CV. Wait until references are requested by the smaller number of companies that invite you in to interview.

Reasons for having left your last job

This is a question that may very well be asked in an interview, but leave it off of your CV. Every job situation is different, but as human beings, it is natural for hiring managers to conclude the future based on results from the past. When you include this information on a CV, it does two things. First, the hiring manager wonders if the reason you left your last job will cause you to leave your new one. Second, it puts too much focus on the end of your job, stealing attention from everything you accomplished during your tenure. When you face this question in an interview, you are in a better position to offer context. CVs are much more black-and-white.

Salary history or requirements

When you include your salary history on a CV, it may not take into account professional growth that warrants a higher salary than you have yet achieved. Don’t make it easy for a new employer to pay you less than you are worth.

Another problem with providing this info up front is that each company has a structure for determining salaries and if yours looks too high or too low, recruiters and potential employers may not consider you as the best in your field. In short, you will be instantly disqualified. Give yourself time to demonstrate your value in an interview, and be open to negotiating a compensation package that works for both you and your new employer.

Remember that what you do not include on your CV can sometimes be just as important as what you do. A critical eye toward keeping this document relevant and compelling will serve you well in the hunt for your next great professional adventure.