After working for 5 years in an industrial environment I want to change to Academia. My CV matches the positions where I applied so far pretty well, but until now I have only received rejections.

I don't know how to handle these rejections, because I'm not used to that. When I wanted to change jobs in the past, I got an invitation for an interview and after that at least one week later I got a contract.

During a short interview by phone, the interviewer asked me if I carefully considered everything regarding such a position, since I have kids. Could it be possible that the reason for rejection is that I have two kids (which I mention in my CV)? Should I delete personal information like this from my CV?


For the ones that are interested in the answers from Academia, I just posted my question here

Small Update

Got an invitation for an interview :)

  • 141
    Why do you mention you have kids on your CV? Aug 7, 2019 at 12:00
  • 24
    For those that are wanting an answer to my question, i took a look online and it doesn't appear to be uncommon to include such information in Germany. I'll add the German tag as maybe my answer is not suitable for working in Germany. Aug 7, 2019 at 12:39
  • 3
    I see in one of the answer comments you are working on getting a degree. Do the positions require this degree? Also - it's possible they thought that this job + degree study + kids would be too much (rightly or wrongly)
    – Smock
    Aug 7, 2019 at 12:48
  • 8
    In the current economy, competition for industry jobs is lower than for academic jobs. You should at least consider other reasons why getting a position is harder than you are used to.
    – Roland
    Aug 7, 2019 at 13:47
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    "During a short interview by phone, the interviewer asked me if I carefully considered everything regarding such a position, since I have kids." Did you consider everything required for the position? I doubt they would reject you for having kids but they might reject you if they aren't satisfied with how you answer this question. Aug 7, 2019 at 14:30

3 Answers 3


(It is in dispute if this answer is suitable for Germany)

Are children a reason to be rejected for a job?


Are children a VALID reason to be rejected for a job?


How can I prove they rejected me for this invalid reason?

You cannot.

Remove the personal information from your CV.

You may want to take a close look at your CV to make sure there are no other "red flags" (legitimate or otherwise) that may decrease your chances. Given that somehow the fact you have children has ended up on your CV, and you're having trouble landing the position, your CV probably needs a bit of work.

  • 79
    Remove the personal information from your CV -- this. People who are looking to fill a position look for a way to eliminate candidates first.
    – Neo
    Aug 7, 2019 at 12:18
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    Remove the personal information from your CV: Bad advice for Germany. This is perfectly legal and expected to be there. Omitting it will raise a red flag and is likely do more harm than good.
    – Hilmar
    Aug 7, 2019 at 13:50
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    This is a perfect answer for Germany, please remove the warning. I do not know which Germany Hilmar is talking about but it cannot be the same as my country. I neither know anybody who would put information about his family life on a job application, not did I ever recieve an application containing it. People may include hobbies or similar for the personal touch, but never anything about children. Big companies even have processes to remove personal information to avoid legal trouble.
    – Chris
    Aug 7, 2019 at 17:29
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    @GregoryCurrie: I am not aware of any such industry, even in childcare it doesn't matter, because most employees are young women without own children. I did a quick Google research about "Kinder im Lebenslauf" (children in CV) and all websites agree that in most cases that's a risk and only in very specific cases you might want to mention it. But definitely is nowhere near expected.
    – Chris
    Aug 8, 2019 at 5:38
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    @Gregory Currie It might also be a generational difference. I know my parents were taught to include family status and the like on their CV, but that started to fade when I was in high school and nowadays almost nobody does it anymore and even hobbies are only a thing for students who don't have much else to get their CV up to one full page. I'd say your answer is right for Germany, too. Aug 8, 2019 at 6:13

As you didnt put a location I will bring in my German perspective:

Here, it is common to get only yearly contracts when working in academia(even for doctoral degree roles) and thus having an unstable income. Another point is you will need to work long hours in order to finish your degree, which might be a problem when you have to take care of your children. I think those are the main reason why the questions regarding your children are coming up. From an employer perspective, it can be seen as a problem or an obstacle.

If you are okay with having to work long hours, having a lower income and an unstable job, then leave the information about your children out of your CV.

You can still talk about it during an interview and highlight your ability to handle family and working long hours.

  • 3
    For Germany, do you know the legality of rejecting someone based on having children? I couldn't find a direct reference for protections for parents, but if the company would have accepted a father but not a mother, that would be considered sex discrimination.
    – David K
    Aug 7, 2019 at 12:31
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    @SMa I thought most academia job require PhD degree and you are working toward a degree. Why do you think you can get an academic job without PhD? Are you looking for TA/RA job? Most TA/RAs are offered to graduate students. If you are a PhD student, you should be already a TA/RA. If you are working toward a master degree, the chance of getting academic job is slim.
    – Nobody
    Aug 7, 2019 at 13:40
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    @SMa "research assistant which also offer the possibility to obtain a PhD" is legalese for "paid PhD position". The focus of your application needs to be on the PhD and not on becoming a research assistant. I hope you know this.
    – Roland
    Aug 7, 2019 at 14:26
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    @SMa I suspect that they are worried whether you can sustain the commitment for the necessary three to five years while having dependents (and being used to a good payment in the industry). You should try to address this worry preemptively.
    – Roland
    Aug 7, 2019 at 14:42
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    @SMa I'm not so familiar with the academic environment in Germany, but are you applying directly to a job, which you think will be a good gateway to the PhD program, or are you applying/have you applied to the PhD program and are now looking for a research job as a part of that? My confusion is because in the U.S. applying for an RA type of job without already being in the PhD program is unusual and a difficult route to follow.
    – Upper_Case
    Aug 7, 2019 at 15:21

I can only speak from personal experience, but most likely your children are not the reason: in Germany, it can be incredibly difficult to get into academia.

Our university has a daycare for children and if you can’t get a spot there and no one from your family can take care of your children while you are at work, you are allowed to take the children to work or pay a babysitter (which will partly be paid by the university).

I‘ve heard many times that it is difficult to get a job in academia, especially if they don’t know you and/or you didn’t study there. When I considered dropping out of academia and taking another job, a lot of people (from other universities as well) told me to reconsider, because it would be very hard for me to get back into an academic position after working in the industry. Even if your CV looks good and your experience is valuable, it is very likely that the children are not the reason, they just preferred someone they knew, someone who studied there or was recommended to them.

  • 5
    "Even if your CV looks good and your experience is valuable, it is very likely that the children are not the reason, they just preferred someone they knew, someone who studied there or was recommended to them" You should ask in academia.stackexchange.com too, but imho @Snailshell is correct in his assumption. Aug 8, 2019 at 9:15
  • I also think that more than your children, Snailshell is pointing to the real issue. Academia, in Germany, and to my experience, has a lot of networking. And for many employment, recommendation, or previous contacts is a must. Coming from the industry is much harder. Aug 20, 2019 at 9:15

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