What not to include in a resume

Sometimes, knowing what not to include is just as important as knowing what to include in a resume. This isn’t about deceiving the employer; it’s about leaving out irrelevant information so that the CV comes across as focused and professional.

Here’s a list of what not to include in your CV:

  • Personal preferences. Don’t indicate your race, nationality, marital status, children, religion or political preferences.  
  • Cliché’s. It’s easy to fall back on over-used phrases, such as ‘dynamic individual’, ‘great communicator’ and ‘out-of-the-box thinker’. Instead, think about how you could articulate your skills in a way that would add positive value to their business. 
  • References. If you leave out references, it will mean that the hiring manager will need to contact you to ask for the referee information. This helps you get a good indication of how you are progressing in the role – as usually, references are checked in the later stages of the interview process. Also, it gives an opportunity to drop a courtesy email to your referee, so they know to expect your hiring manager’s call and can be prepared to respond promptly and positively.
  • Computer skills. These days, it’s expected that you will be proficient in computer software such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Listing them out can make you look amateur.
  • Salary details. Don’t be tempted to reference what you are earning. In other countries, such as the United Kingdom, you are required to share your present salary details. In New Zealand, you should not mention your salary on your resume, as it can be an important negotiating tool.

Knowing what to put in a resume is critical to crafting a great CV that will get you noticed. Other skills like tailoring and being adept at laying out a clear and professional CV are also very important.

Take a look at our resume tips page for more advice on how to write a resume.