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How much information is too much on your CV?

Today I have looked through so many CVs that my eyes have gone quite funny. I was checking each for a specific piece of information but couldn’t help noticing as I went through them, how many people add superfluous personal information to their CVs.

I was amazed to see things like Marital Status: Divorced with two children or Marital Status: Attached and co-habiting. A colleague said he had also seen on CVs: smoker, name of children, number of pets, names of pets, eye colour, hair colour, height and even weight. This doesn’t really sell to an employer what you can do for them! Also, it’s not information an employer needs to make a decision on whether they would like to interview you for a role.

Another bugbear of mine I realised as I struggled through the pile is people chattily listing their hobbies, particularly if these hobbies are very bland, along the lines of  "I enjoy reading detective novels and gardening. I also find swimming and yoga at my local leisure centre very relaxing".

We quite often write articles or give talks on writing a good CV and the first thing we always stress is that your CV is a marketing tool. It is the basis on which employers decide whether your skills meet their requirements and whether they would like to meet you for an interview to find out more. It is not your life history!

I know that some people feel that adding personal information to a CV gives a more rounded picture and perhaps I’m just grumpy after reading through so many of them in one go but I really feel that this sort of information isn’t helpful to you in marketing yourself and can even be damaging to your changes of finding a new job if it doesn’t come across in the way you intend.   

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