A handy dandy guide of everything you should leave out of your resume in order to land an interview.
You know that rush of excitement you feel when you find a job listing that perfectly fits everything you’re looking for? Something that could very well be your dream job? Well, for every job listing an employer posts, about a million other people get that same euphoric feeling.
Employers get about a million resumes for every job opening they post online. Okay, that might be a bit of an exaggeration, but still — they get a heck ton of resumes. No one has enough time to thoroughly read through every single resume they receive, so employers typically end up spending about 30 seconds or less glancing over your resume before they decide if you go in the trash pile or not.
If you want to impress hiring managers within that window, you need to highlight your experiences and qualifications so they can see that you’re an ideal candidate. Try not to stuff your resume full of useless information that makes it difficult for employers to read about how awesome you are without knowing your entire life story.
Hiring managers look for reasons to screen out applicants to narrow down a list of people to interview. If you include the wrong information, you could sabotage your own job search. Let’s not do that.
If you want your resume to have a lifespan longer than 30 seconds, try to keep these things to yourself.
Employers want to know what strengths and qualifications you have that can help their company succeed, not how long you’ve been able to stay alive. Try to avoid including:
Providing information about your age invites age discrimination. Age bias works both ways — you don’t want an employer to throw your resume in the trash because they think you’re too young or too old.
There’s really no need for employers to know personal details about your life — in fact, it’s actually illegal for interviewers to ask you questions about:
Other personal information that is unnecessary to put on your resume include stuff like:
Employers don’t need to know any personal information aside from your name, city, state, and a way to contact you. Including personal information is a good way to make yourself out to be a scrub, and just like TLC, no one wants a scrub — unless you happen to be a janitor.
Don’t list every single job you’ve ever had on your resume. Only list jobs, graduations, or certifications that you’ve gotten in the last 10 – 15 years, unless an earlier job really shows off qualifications related to the job you’re applying for. When you start listing really old jobs, you start to lose the employer’s interest.
Everything on your resume should show employers that you’re the best person for the job. Leave out anything that doesn’t relate to the job you’re applying for, unless it would put gaps in your employment history. If you have a limited job history, try to only include slightly unrelated positions and demonstrate how they’ve prepared you for the job at hand.
Your resume’s format is just as important as its content. Stick to a format that makes it easy for employers to skim through and easily find your experience, skills, and career goals. Once you find a format that works for you, stick with it throughout the rest of your resume. Here are some formatting mistakes to avoid:
Don’t address your desired salary in your resume, unless the employer specifically asks. Salary is a topic that you will discuss with employers later on if you make it to the interview process or if you’re offered the job.
Your resume is meant to show off why you deserve the job, the topic of salary will come up later on.
Unfortunately, the world is not An Extremely Goofy Movie. Make sure your resume is free of all goofs like typos, misspellings, grammatical mistakes, or factual errors. That’s just embarrassing.
Your resume is the first impression employers will get of your writing skills and how close you pay attention to detail. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment.
Don’t lie about past experiences or accomplishments. 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.
Employers want you to list facts, not opinions. Phrases like “excellent communicator” or “highly motivated” are opinions of yourself — they’ll decide if you are these things if they decide to interview you.
If employers want to speak to your references, they’ll ask. It’s generally assumed that someone applying for a job will have a list of references available. Including a section about them on your resume is a waste of prime resume real estate.
You can use a separate document to list your references and provide them when asked to by an employer.
Instead of writing a resume objective that says what you hope to gain from a job, write a career summary that highlights what you can offer the employer and their company.
Only provide an object if you’re in a unique situation, such as changing industries.
Your resume is a professional document that is meant to promote you as a candidate. Everything on your resume should be positive, so don’t include any negative experiences or try to explain them. There’s also no need to list why you left a position on your resume. If an employer is interested, they’ll ask.
Try not to mention things that you haven’t yet done or accomplished, and instead focus on what you’ve already done or are in the process of achieving, i.e. if you didn’t graduate college, list the dates you attended instead of mentioning that you dropped out.
Your resume should do more than just list what job’s you’ve had, it should show off the results of what you’ve accomplished and what skills you used to achieve results.
Employers care about results, so show them. Instead of just saying that you “organized the company’s filing system,” say something along the lines of “Increased team productivity by 30% by organizing the company’s filing system.
This is just dumb. Don’t include your current employer’s name on your resume unless you’re okay with a potential employer contacting them.
Unless your current employers are aware of your job search, if potential employers call you at your current place of work, you could potentially be fired or charged with theft of services. Yikes. Just leave the business info off.
Leave off the names and contact information for former employers. Instead, include them on your list of references, and make sure to check in with them before listing their information.
Don’t include time you took off to travel or raise a family on your resume. I’m sure it was very personally fulfilling, but employers don’t care.
Don’t list a job on your resume if you only held the position for a short amount of time, and especially don’t include ones that you were fired from or hated. It’s going to be hard to explain what you gained from a job you had for a month that made you want to tear your hair out.
If you’re currently using your old school email address like firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, it’s time to make a more professional one.
Don’t include links to your opinionated blogs, Wedding-centered Pinterest pages, or your instagram account dedicated to detailing the life of your dog. This is just a waste of space and a good way to land yourself in the trash pile.
On the other hand, feel free to include relevant URLs, such as your LinkedIn account or links to a professional online portfolio. Again, anything you include on your resume should be directly related to the job you’re applying for.
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