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Write an outstanding CV or Resume for all job situations. Use your Career Tools to track job selection criteria and tailor your application for every job opportunity.

Clean up your resume!

You've worked hard to create a high-impact resume. Don't dilute it with irrelevant information.

Here are some items best left out of your resume, or included with care. Check with a local recruiter to determine how acceptable these are in your local job market.

Activities, hobbies and interests

  • Sipping pina coladas and getting caught in the rain may be your favourite hobbies, but that's no reason to include them in your resume, unless you know that the hiring manager shares your interests.

Photo

  • Appropriate only in some resumes, notably those prepared by models, airline staff and hospitality staff
  • In some countries they are prohibited on the grounds of discrimination
  • Don't include a photo unless you are sure it is required

Age and date of birth

  • While it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of age, it can and does still happen, meaning it's best to leave it out (unless you're sure it help your application).

Unrelated past jobs

  • Unless you graduated recently, don't include jobs you held during school unless they are directly relevant to your target role.
  • The same applies to jobs held very early in your career. Reduce these to one line detailing the company, position and dates, or consider omitting them completely.

Gaps

  • Any gaps in your career history will be noticed and questioned. Pre-empt questions or potential discrimination by explaining any significant gaps with a one-line explanation

Generic skill claims

  • Limit generic claims like 'highly motivated', 'high achiever', 'excellent communication skills' and so on.
  • Demonstrate these qualities by highlighting your achievements. Your qualities should speak through your experience.

Other irrelevant information

  • Don't include details about your family, such as your spouse's name or the names and ages of your children.

Exceptions

It can sometimes be effective to appeal to the biases or personal preferences of the hiring manager, if you know what these are.

Example

Joel is applying for a position with BT Funds Management as a financial advisor. Joel's friend who works at BT has assured Joel that the hiring manager prefers to hire candidates with a strong sporting background. In the manager's mind, successful sportspeople are self-motivated, disciplined and motivated to succeed; traits that correspond to those found in successful financial advisors.

In this situation, Joel makes a point of including details about his sporting achievements, to stand out from other applicants.

As always, these recommendations are generalisations. Always obey the conventions of your local job market. In some countries it is appropriate to include some of this information. If in doubt, check with a local recruiter; they're a great source of information about how your local job market works.

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