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Standing out from the crowd or sticking your foot in it? The risks of oversharing in your CV.

BY Jenny Brunton
Employment Law & HR

A curriculum vitae, literally translated as “course of life”, is a key document in any job applicant’s search for employment. With recruiters reportedly spending just 5-7 seconds reviewing a CV before deciding to proceed with the application, it is hugely important that the content ticks all the right boxes even at first glance. A recent online thread which asked whether including details about hobbies and interests in a CV is relevant or worthwhile. As expected, there were a range of opinions on the matter.

Some contributors were supportive of including lots of detail on passions and achievements, particularly those which could demonstrate transferable skills which would be of use in the workplace, whilst others see this as a good opportunity to inject some fun into the recruitment process. Conversely, some suggested that information about hobbies and interests is unnecessary and childish, and others remarked that the answer would vary from industry to industry.


Sadly, but perhaps expectedly, it has been reported that that demand for jobs in the UK is extremely high at present. For example, CV-Library reported that 4,228 people applied for a single paralegal role and one employer received 2,653 applications for a vacancy they had advertised in their warehouse. Given the stiff competition, it is important now more than ever that an applicant’s CV stands out for all the right reasons.


Some CVs will stick in a recruiter’s mind for all the wrong reasons, however. Take one applicant whose previous employment history included “Marijuana Delivery Service” which meant that he had “Gained intimate access to several very exclusive County jails”, for example. Similarly, another candidate pushed the Personal Information section to the limits when he wrote:


  Age: 17

  Sex: Not yet.”


Other job-hunters have included “moon-walking” and “the ability to hold my breath for two minutes” under their list of talents. These are but a few examples of the weird and wonderful CVs out there. Unless they were applying for positions as a stand-up comic, I suspect they didn’t get too far.


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