What NOT To Put In Your CV I Oxford Open Learning


    What NOT To Put In Your CV

    A CV Guide for A-Level Students

    Crafting an effective curriculum vitae (CV) is essential when applying for a job. While it’s important to include relevant information that highlights your skills and qualifications, it is equally so to know what to exclude. By avoiding these common pitfalls, you can ensure your CV remains focused, professional, and impactful.

    Enough About You

    When it comes to personal information in your CV, less is more. Avoid including irrelevant details such as your social media handles, hobbies and interests, etc. Focus on the essentials.

    • A brief and concise statement summarising your skills, experiences, and career aspirations is appropriate. However, avoid overly personal or subjective statements that do not directly relate to the position you’re applying for. Keep it brief and consider the impact, e.g., during my time at X, I did Y which resulted in Z.
    • Unless explicitly requested, refrain from including a photograph. In some countries it is mandatory, but not in the UK.
    • Hobbies and interests: While it is acceptable to include relevant hobbies and interests that showcase transferable skills or highlight your personality, be selective. Avoid listing generic or unrelated activities that do not add value to your application. Only include those that have a direct relation to the role.


    As an A-Level student, your CV won’t exactly be full of achievements, so there can be the temptation to pad it out with everything right down to Primary school. Don’t. Again, less is more. Minimise the emphasis on anything below GCSE, unless they directly relate to the position or course you are applying for.

    Coursework can be useful. If you have a particular piece or project that relates to a role you’re going for, absolutely incorporate it. But, avoid listing every single coursework or assignment completed. Employers care about what you can do not what you have done. Keep that in mind when picking accomplishments that best showcase your skillset.

    Every Word Counts

    Using generic statements and buzzwords can dilute the impact of your CV and make it less memorable. Avoid the following:

    • Clichéd phrases: Phrases such as “team player,” “good communication skills,” or “detail-oriented” have become overused and lack specificity. Instead, provide concrete examples and accomplishments that demonstrate these qualities.
    • Industry jargon: While it is essential to demonstrate your familiarity with the industry, avoid excessive use of technical jargon, especially when there’s a good chance you’re not going to know that much about the industry given your level of experience at your age. Keep things simple and use clear and concise language that can be easily understood.
    • Empty buzzwords: Avoid using buzzwords or trendy phrases that do not add substance to your CV. Instead, focus on conveying your unique strengths and accomplishments in a meaningful way.

    It is vital to know what NOT to include in your CV. By omitting irrelevant personal information and avoiding generic statements and buzzwords, you can create a focused and impactful CV. Remember, your CV should highlight your relevant qualifications and experiences, enabling employers or admissions committees to assess your suitability for the position or course. Following these tips will give you an advantage over other applicants.

    Best of luck in the job hunt!

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