Should You Put Date of Birth on Your CV? A Guide
Written by Mike Potter, Author • Last updated on 6 May 2024

Should You Put Date of Birth on Your CV? A Guide

The question of whether you should put your date of your birth on your CV might seem trivial, but it can make a big difference to your chances of success. In some countries, employers expect to see your date of birth on your CV, while in the UK it’s generally discouraged. In this article, we’ll provide a guide to putting your date of birth on your CV, with advice for creating a CV that’s suitable for UK job applications.

Understanding the Impact of Date of Birth on CV

In the UK, it’s not usually a good idea to add your date of birth to your CV. If you’re using CV templates or guides, you might see date of birth as a standard field, or examples that include the candidate’s date of birth. However, it doesn’t add much and in some cases, it can even reduce your chances of progressing.

In the UK, The Equality Act 2010 protects people from discrimination based on various protected characteristics, including age. This affects the recruitment process, as it’s illegal to use age as a hiring consideration. As a result, adding your date of birth to your CV in the UK is ineffective at best, because employers aren’t allowed to consider it in their decision. Indeed, the worst-case scenario is that it does make a difference to the employer’s decision, which would break the law. In which case, there’s normally no convincing reason for adding it to your CV.

Including personal information such as your date of birth also raises questions about unconscious bias in the recruitment process. Unconscious bias is just as illegal as conscious discrimination, but it can be more difficult to prove. However, the point of your CV is to convince employers that you’ve got the right skills and experience to do the job. This means any information that could influence their decision besides your skills and experience, is probably unhelpful.

Expert tip:

It might be tempting to add your date of birth to your CV to reduce any concerns over your age and suitability for a role. However, the best way to do this is to demonstrate you have the experience necessary for the job. Employers will look for your skills and achievements above any personal information such as age, gender or nationality.

Pros and Cons of Including Date of Birth on CV

Although it’s usually unnecessary to put your date of birth on your CV, some people prefer to add it. Weighing up the advantages and disadvantages below can help you decide whether to include it or not:

Advantages of date of birth on your CV

  • It can explain a lack of relevant experience: if you’re new to the job market, adding your date of birth to your CV can help to explain a lack of experience.
  • It can show you’re eligible for a job: some jobs have age restrictions, so showing you’re eligible can be helpful. However, these jobs are few and far between, and include jobs handling certain chemicals, or operating certain types of machinery. There are also age restrictions around modeling clothing for children and adults.
  • To benefit from positive action: while age discrimination is illegal for UK employers, it is acceptable to take positive action to ensure more equal representation for minority groups. For example, some employers may have a policy of hiring older employees, to help correct an imbalance in the age profile of the workforce.
  • Some other countries expect it: employment and anti-discrimination laws differ from country-to-country. Employers in France, for example, may expect you to include your date of birth and other personal details.

Disadvantages of date of birth on your CV

  • It takes up space: adding your date of birth might only take up a single line on your CV, but this is a line you could use for something more significant. If you’re trying to make your CV as concise as possible, every line matters.
  • It’s unlikely to influence hiring decisions: although it’s unlikely to do any harm, adding your age or date of birth to your CV is also unlikely to positively influence hiring decisions.
  • It may lead to illegal discrimination: in the worst-case scenario, adding your date of birth to your CV could lead to age discrimination.
“Adding your date of birth might only take up a single line on your CV, but this is a line you could use for something more significant.”

Best Practices for Handling Date of Birth on CV

If you decide to add your date of birth or refer to your age on your CV, there are several ways to handle it. You might choose to include your date of birth in your header, alongside your contact details and any other personal information you’re adding. Use ‘Date of birth’ or the initialised ‘DOB’, and add your date of birth in unabbreviated form (for example, 15 March 1998, rather than abbreviated formats which can differ between countries).

An alternative to adding your date of birth is to mention your age, or if you’re applying for an age restricted job, confirming you’re over the required age (for example, ‘Age: over 18’). This can help avoid any scenarios where you might be excluded from the running for a role.

Instead of adding your date of birth or age, another approach is to make sure the dates on your CV provide some indication of your age. These could be the dates in your education section, or your work experience section. Additionally, if you would rather not mention your age in your CV, you could address any age-related concerns in your cover letter.

Factors to Consider when Deciding to Include Date of Birth on CV

When you’re deciding whether to include your date of birth on your CV, think about its relevance to the position. If there are any legal age restrictions to the role, or if employers have stated that they welcome applicants from certain age groups, it might be worth adding it. Look for text in the job advert such as ‘we welcome applications from older candidates’.

Although age by itself is rarely an indication of your ability to do a job, you might want to consider whether it’s a factor. Your date of birth could suggest a level of experience and wisdom that employers might favour for certain roles. On the other hand, if you’re a younger candidate, it could imply energy, vibrancy and new ideas. Remember, though, that the best way to show you’re suitable for a job is by demonstrating your work experience and skills, not by showing your age.

If you’re keen to put your date of birth on your CV to address age-related concerns, there are other ways to handle this throughout the recruitment process. Questions about your age can surface during job interviews, particularly if the employer has any doubts about your ability to do the job, based on your age. When answering these questions, it’s important to draw the attention of the interviewer to your skills and experience. If your skills and experience match the job description, your age shouldn’t be a factor.

If you’re worried about potential age discrimination in your job applications, several strategies can reduce the chances of this occurring. For older job seekers, using a clean, professional CV layout can make your application seem modern and relevant. Make sure your CV matches the current trend for shorter, concise documents (one to two pages of A4) and consider setting up a LinkedIn profile that you can add to your CV. Think of your CV as a marketing document rather than a detailed account of your career to date, and keep this in mind when writing it.

Date of Birth on Your CV: Key Takeaways

In the UK, it’s not common practice to include your date of birth on your CV. In most scenarios, it’s unlikely to affect your chances and it’s often actively discouraged. You may wish to put your date of birth on your CV to provide context around your experience, or lack of it. However, there are usually other ways to do this, either in your cover letter or at the interview stage.

A well-designed CV can help your application to appear current and relevant, overcoming any doubts about age. CVwizard has a range of CV tools and resources, including CV articles, to help you craft a winning CV. Sign up and follow the simple steps to create a beautiful CV today.

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Mike Potter
Mike Potter
Mike Potter is an experienced copywriter specialising in careers and professional development. He uses extensive knowledge of workplace culture to create insightful and actionable articles on CV writing and career pathways.

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