Sobhan Mohmand, Career Expert 7 February 2023
A common question we are often asked is,
“What personal details should I put on my CV?”
The short answer is that the personal details section of a good CV should only contain the following four pieces of personal information of the applicant; name, home address, telephone number and e-mail address.
It is optional to include a link to your LinkedIn profile or personal website.
Other personal details, such as date of birth, gender, marital status, nationality and national insurance number, should be left out of your CV. These things are outdated, irrelevant to your ability to do the job and will harm your job application.
Use the guide below to get up-to-date information on what personal details to include or omit from your CV to improve your chances of securing job interviews.
Let’s get started!
The personal details section is located right at the top of your CV and it is the first thing that recruiters will see when they review your CV.
The following is an example of a personal details section of a CV:
Providing contact information
Putting your contact details at the top of the first page of your CV will make it easier for employers to identify and contact you.
An employer or recruiter will not try to get hold of you on several occasions, so you must provide clear contact details and regularly check your messages, emails and postal mail after submitting job applications.
The good news is the personal details section of your CV is not too difficult to compile because it is just about the factual details of your life.
The number of personal information that should be on a CV can be counted on the fingers of one hand, they are; name, address, telephone number and email address.
The first essential personal information that your CV must contain is your name.
It is recommended to display it in slightly larger type than the rest of the contact details, in boldface and centred on the page.
Guidelines for writing your name on your CV:
The second essential information that you must include on your CV is your current address. Employers may want to send you your employment contract through the post or keep your address on file as standard HR practice.
Including your address on your CV could also have several benefits.
Your home address can be a positive trust indicator that you are local, established and/or settled in a particular location rather than being always on the go or not having a permanent address.
Your address could also give your job application a boost when applying for local jobs because employers usually give preference to local applicants over those that commute long distances to work.
It is recommended to use your mobile phone as your preferred point of contact. With a mobile phone number, employers can contact you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Your email address is the last piece of essential contact information that you must include on your CV. In today’s digital world, employers will 90% of the time contact you via email instead of the post.
Your job interview invitation or employment contract may also be sent to you electronically so double check the email address has been written correctly, even a single letter or number out of place will prevent incoming mail from reaching you.
You can add a link to your LinkedIn profile or personal website/portfolio if they contain additional information that could strengthen your job application.
Tip: Keep your LinkedIn profile and personal website up to date with your latest information.
There are certain personal information that you used to be commonly put on CVs but new anti-discrimination laws have made these details irrelevant today.
Don’t write your date of birth on your CV. Recent anti-discrimination laws mean that employers must consider your suitability for the job based on your skills and experience, not on your age.
Benefits of omitting your date of birth from your CV
Exception: If you’re applying for something in which age is an important consideration, such as a course that is only available to a certain age group or an apprenticeship with a cut-off upper age, then it makes sense to include your date of birth on your CV.
Where you were born is irrelevant.
As long as it was somewhere on planet earth, you’re good to go.
Don’t write your nationality on your CV unless you’re a foreign national and wish to inform the employer about your work eligibility in the country.
A short statement such as “Polish, eligible to work in the UK”, will suffice.
It may also be useful to write your nationality on your CV if you’re applying for certain governmental jobs for which eligibility is partly based on one’s citizenship of that country. This is usually the case for national security and civil service jobs.
Including a photograph on your CV tells a prospective employer: “I want to be judged on my appearance rather than on my relevant work experience and qualifications.”
Photographs may be essential on social media platforms but they have no place on a CV.
Employers asking for photographs is extremely unusual in the UK, mainly due to powerful anti-discrimination laws. Unless you have explicitly been asked to provide your photograph or are applying for jobs where looks matter, for example being an actor, model, presenter or performer, don’t put your photograph on your CV.
Note: Different countries have different rules.
A standard CV in the UK, USA and most of Europe should not include the gender of the applicant.
Four reasons not to put your gender on your CV:
Marital status is another outdated piece of information that you shouldn’t put on your CV.
The employer does not need to know whether you’re single, married, divorced, remarried or engaged. As long as you are a strong candidate for the role, that’s all they care about.
Many CVs still include the ages, sexes and even the names of the applicant’s children. Leave these out. The number and names of your children are irrelevant to your ability to do the job and are a prime source of prejudice. You may be a strong candidate, regardless of whether you have no children or are a chief of your own large tribe.
Roughly speaking, employers expect you to be earning within plus or minus 10% of the salary they are offering. It may put them off if this is not the case.
One jobseeker in a well-paid job found that disclosing his current salary on his CV acted as a deterrent to employers. They either felt he was unlikely to stay on a lower salary or that he was overqualified for the role.
Similarly, if you’re last salary is significantly lower than what the employer is offering, you may not be taken seriously for the role.
For this reason, never disclose your current or last salary on your CV.
There is no need to state your reasons for leaving a job on your CV, particularly if there was a conflict with the previous employer.
People leave jobs for a variety of reasons, including lack of progression opportunities, needing to earn more money, conflict with the employer, moving to a new city, boredom, making a career change, being made redundant or for health reasons.
Most of these motives are unflattering to the candidate so it is best not to say disclose this information on your CV. If employers are truly interested in knowing this information, they inquire about it at the job interview.
If you are applying for a job which is far from where you live, it may be useful to add some context to explain how you will get to work every day.
If you are willing to relocate, add a short statement to this effect next to or under your address at the top of your CV. Indicate which areas of the world you would be prepared to work in; for example, ‘Prepared to relocate within the UK.’
You may not want to be too specific here, for example, by restricting your relocation to a specific town or city.
Only refer to your religion if you’re applying for jobs in which your religious beliefs matter. For most jobs, this information is completely irrelevant and it can lead to discrimination against you.
The status of your driving licence usually only matters if driving is an essential part of the job. For most applicants, this won’t be the case so they should not put their driving license information on your CV. There is, however, an exception to this rule which applies to young people or those that are just starting their careers:
If you have few qualifications or little work experience, you may put driving as a life skill in your CV’s skills section to show the employer that you have the ability to learn and drive a vehicle. Simply write, ‘Full, clean driving licence.’ Employers may be impressed by a clean license.
If the licence is not clean, however, you should indicate that you have a full driving licence only. Never state your driving licence number, speeding convictions or penalty points on your CV!
You are under no obligation to mention any disability or health problems when applying for jobs. If you need additional support or assistance due to your disability (e.g. you are a wheelchair user), you could inform the employer of this on the application form, your cover letter or by calling them directly – never put this information on your CV.
It used to be the case that applicants who applied for jobs in which physical fitness was an important consideration, for example, swimming instructor or physical fitness trainer, they would add a ‘health’ tag along with the statement, “Fit and healthy.”
This is no longer required and employers will be able to assess your general health status from other information on your CV, such as your work experience or hobbies.
The official National Insurance guidelines of the UK government state,
“To prevent identity fraud, keep your National Insurance number safe. Do not share it with anyone who does not need it.”
This means that you should not make your National Insurance number on your CV and make it accessible to everyone because you cannot control who will access your CV once you have posted it online or sent it via email to employers.
You may be asked to provide personal details such as gender, ethnicity and race on a separate form called an equal opportunities questionnaire.
It’s OK to provide this information because employers collect them to track their Equal Opportunities performance, not to influence recruitment.
The information you provide is strictly confidential and won’t impact the outcome of your application.
Your CV is your personal sales brochure tailored to impress the employer and invite you to an interview. It should not be cluttered with irrelevant personal details such as your date of birth, gender, marital status and nationality. Instead, only include your key personal information such as your name, address, telephone number and email address.
Good luck with your job hunt!