9 Things To Remove from Your Resume ASAP

By Maddie Lloyd
Sep. 21, 2022
Articles In Resume Guide

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When you’re applying for jobs, you’re probably focused on putting all of the right things on your resume: your work history, your professional skills, and anything else you can conjure up that will make you stand out as the best person for the job.

While you’re spending so much time trying to put all of the right things on your resume, you could be letting a few things that aren’t so great.

There are some details that just don’t belong on your resume, and they could even cost you a potential job interview — and we don’t want that to happen. So how are you supposed to know what to leave off of your resume? Lucky for you, we’ve got that all figured out.

Here’s everything to leave off your resume so you can land an interview and get the job.

Key Takeaways:

  • Make sure you have an appropriate and professional email address on your resume and ditch the one you made in college.

  • Avoid putting any off-putting or polarizing hobbies and only include interests that relate to the job.

  • Keep your resume relevant and leave off the jobs you had in high school or college that are irrelevant.

  • Keep to a basic format for your resume because applicant tracking systems have a hard time reading fancy formats.

9 Things To Remove From Your Resume ASAP

9 Things To Remove From Your Resume

  1. A resume objective. Honestly, your resume objective is just redundant and a waste of space. Everyone and their mother is going to claim that they’re “a hard-working individual seeking a challenging position.” A resume objective basically boils down to the same thing for every candidate: “I want a job.” That’s not very interesting or informative for a hiring manager.

    What you can do instead:

    Use a resume summary statement. It’s a great way to lead with your most impressive accomplishments and wealth of experience. Plus, the best resume summary statements immediately begin answering the hiring manager’s possible concerns by indicating that you do, in fact, have all the required qualifications.

    Instead of just talking about how great you are, use your resume to showcase the skills and experiences that the specific employer is looking for. Hiring managers spend approximately six seconds looking at a resume before they decide if it’s garbage, so make sure to focus yours on your specific qualifications.

  2. An inappropriate email address. An email address from your current employer, or one that’s just unprofessional, is always a bad choice. Nothing says “I waste company time to do my own personal job searching,” quite like using your employer email address on your resume. And using your high school email address 420blazeit69@hotmail.com pretty much sends the message that you’re immature and unprofessional.

    What you can do instead:

    Use your professional, personal email address on your resume and when applying for jobs. Make sure to include some variation of your first and last name, and use a common platform like Gmail. For example, hankhill@gmail.com.

  3. Off-putting or polarizing hobbies/interests. If you’re the president of your community gun club, the leader of your local Satanist congregation, or if you just spend a significant amount of time writing Lord of the Rings fan-fiction, well, that’s just great — but leave it off your resume. Employers will likely think you’re a weirdo and throw your resume in the trash.

    What you can do instead:

    Only include interests and hobbies if they relate to the position or make you seem like a stronger candidate. If you’re a physical trainer who regularly runs marathons, go ahead and include that on your resume.

    But if you’re a teacher who has a high-profile blog about your conspiracy theories, there’s no need to let an employer know about that.

  4. Irrelevant and outdated work experiences. If you’re applying for a position at a law firm, there’s really no good reason to include your high school job working at McDonald’s in your work experience. Your resume isn’t meant to detail your entire life’s history; it’s meant to showcase why you’re the best and most qualified person for the job.

    What you can do instead:

    Only list work and volunteer experiences that relate to the job you’re applying for. Instead of focusing on all of your menial daily tasks, focus on your achievements and overall projects you worked on. Employers care much more about these details than the fact that you worked at Burger King for two years in high school.

    If you have a long and storied career that spans several promotions and/or different companies, and all of that information is relevant, there’s a simple way to cut down on space. Make an “additional work experience” section where you include a brief, one-line entry for all of your older jobs.

    If you’re worried about ageism, you can choose to leave out the dates for these older jobs — chances are, the hiring manager doesn’t care as much about these entries anyway.

  5. Big fancy words. Using terms like “utilize,” “analogous,” “synergy,” and other resume buzzwords don’t make you look any smarter or more qualified for the job; they just make you look like someone who owns a thesaurus. Using these big words also distracts from the important details of your resume.

    What you can do instead:

    If you wouldn’t use any of the words on your resume in a real-life conversation, just get rid of them or change them. Your resume should be focused on making you look qualified for the job, not like someone who’s memorized a dictionary.

    That being said, we do recommend that you use strong action verbs when you can. They make a bigger impact and engage the reader. More than anything, though, include numbers throughout your resume. When you quantify your achievements, hiring managers and recruiters have a much easier time understanding your direct impact.

  6. Creative formatting. Sorry to break it to you, but using a creative resume isn’t going to get you any more jobs than a traditional one. In fact, it’s probably going to get you fewer. Everyone wants their resume to stand out, but using colors and weird formatting isn’t the best way to get yours noticed.

    On top of that, most large employers these days use applicant tracking systems (ATS), which parse through resumes for key information in order to weed out obviously unqualified candidates. When you start getting gimmicky with your resume’s format, you run the risk of an ATS not being able to read it. And if the ATS can’t read it, then your resume will be thrown out before it even reaches a human reader.

    What you can do instead:

    Use a classic serif font like Arial or Times New Roman instead of the fun and quirky fonts like Comic Sans and Papyrus. Stick to a solid layout, and be consistent with your formatting. For example, if you put a period at the end of your bullet points, make sure every bullet point ends with a period.

    If you’re applying for a creative position and it’s imperative that an employer knows just how left-brained you are, they’ll be looking for it in your portfolio, not your resume. Make sure your resume is neat and tidy, not colorful and chaotic.

  7. References to yourself in the third person. Yikes. This is just a foolproof way to make yourself look like a pretentious arrogant jerk. Referring to yourself in the third person with sentences like “Mark edited and proofed the university newspaper,” makes you sound like that one dude at the party who spends the whole night talking about how great he is. Cut it out, Mark.

    What you can do instead:

    Put your name and contact information at the top of your resume in a resume header. Then the employer will surely know who they’re reading about.

    Write your resume in the first person, but leave out pronouns and don’t refer to yourself by name. Start every bullet point with a verb — the reader will know that it’s you who did these things.

  8. Excessive details about college. Yes, it can be difficult to accept that our glory days of beer pong and sleeping in until noon are over, but let your memories of college live on in your heart, not on your resume.

    A lot of recent graduates will list their greek life affiliations or club sports in the hopes that a hiring manager will have some sort of association. Excessive information about college is just a waste of space. And, honestly, no one cares. Sorry.

    What you can do instead:

    Use your education section to show off your internships or any experiences related to the job. You may have been the reigning beer pong champ of your sorority, but it won’t do you any favors in your job search.

    That being said, if you took part in clubs related to your field or had any sort of leadership position, even in an unrelated field, it might be worth bringing up — especially if your resume will look a little light without it.

  9. Lies. This one should be obvious. Don’t make up phony past experiences or accomplishments. Employers can easily find the truth with a Google search or a phone call. Plus, even if you do get the job, you won’t be able to deliver on those skills you claimed to have. And that’s just embarrassing.

    What you can do instead:

    If you don’t have all of the qualifications listed in the job description, talk about what you can offer instead of making stuff up.

    Even if you’re light on a few of the needed skills, that doesn’t mean you’ll be automatically rejected. A lot of employers are willing to train people when they come on board, so save yourself the trouble of getting caught and just be honest.

Final Thoughts

Writing a resume can be a lot of work. You have to worry about small details like your margins, a resume header, and including all of the right information that lets hiring managers know that you’re the one.

Your resume needs to be laser-focused on showing that you’re the best person for the job. Be objective, be honest, and don’t include irrelevant information. If you can follow these tips, the job is yours!

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Maddie Lloyd

Maddie Lloyd was a writer for the Zippia Advice blog focused on researching tips for interview, resume, and cover letter preparation. She's currently a graduate student at North Carolina State University's department of English concentrating in Film and Media Studies.

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