What should you not include in a resume?
A resume can be tricky; it has to effectively showcase an applicant’s education history and work experience.
A resume is you on paper. Hence, you want it to best represent yourself. A resume should ideally be one to two pages long, so the problem lies is how you accurately depict yourself within those two pages. You are person with likes, dislikes, wants, needs, skills, preferences, history, experiences, and so much more; how can you truly describe yourself within two pages of text.
While we want to show the best of ourselves, in our overzealousness to do so, we may go a little over board. The resume should only include information that is relevant to the job that you are applying for. Do not include information that a hiring manager would not be interested in. In fact, putting some things on a resume can hamper your chances of landing an interview.
Here are some things that you should never mention on a resume:
- The word resume: There is no need to label the document. If you have done as you should, then it would be obvious that the document is a resume.
- Personal information: Do not include any personal information such as your age, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, political affiliation, marital status and/or children. In most instances, it is illegal for managers to discriminate based on these points, so don’t give them the chance.
- Photographs: While some companies do ask for a photograph along with the resume, most do not specify. If not specifically asked, do not include a photograph. It again gives the hiring manager a chance to discriminate based on appearance, age and gender.
- Grades: There is no need to mention your grades or your GPS on your resume. This is especially true if you have a GPA or a percentage on the lower side of the scale. You can include your GPA if it is exceptionally great and you want to show off, but you need not.
- School: You need not mention your primary or secondary schooling on a resume. Everything before college is rendered unnecessary, unless you have something specific to show, or if that is your level of education.
- Unrelated Work Experience: Ideally, avoid mentioning job prior to 10-15 years, unless those jobs highlight a specific skill applicable to the job you are applying for. You can also leave out any positions that are unrelated to the job you are applying for unless it will leave gaps on your resume.
- Short-term jobs: Short-term jobs raise red flags for hiring managers. The jobs raise questions such whether you were fired, couldn't do the work, or had trouble getting along with co-workers. Hence, it is best to leave them off entirely, unless the jobs were contract jobs, which were meant to be just a few months long.
- Unrelated Hobbies: While some people say not include hobbies at all, only hobbies that are unrelated to the job pose a problem. Hobbies can often be used to boost your resume, but only in certain cases. For example, of you are a gave developer, you can list playing video games as a hobby; or if you are applying for a job at a book store, then reading is a good hobby to have. However, if you are applying for a management level position, then playing football is an irrelevant hobby.
- References: There is no need to include the names and contact information for former employers on your resume. It is better to have a separate list of references, if and when asked for.
- Salary History: Do not include you previous salary on your resume. This topic is best broached in the interview, and face to face.
- Blocks of Text: The hiring manager spends less than 30 seconds on a single resume. So, he or she is not likely to include read through huge blocks of text explaining each objective. Instead, include the objective in bullet points under each job.
- What you hated about your last job, boss or co-workers: Do not include information about your previous jobs, beyond your job title, and your job descriptions. Especially, do not include negative aspects of your old job. This leads to the implication that while you are currently bad mounting your old company, you will also badmouth this company, incase things don’t work out.
- Lies: Do not lie or exaggerate any aspect on the resume. While, it is acceptable to trim the edges and present the information in a likeable package, refrain from lying and/or exaggerating the truth.
- Bad Grammar: Do not include bad grammar on a resume. Even if language and grammar are not your forte, you can ask someone to read through the resume and get rid of any and all incorrect grammar. Having bad grammar is just bad form.
- Financial Information: Do not include any information that can be used to steal your identity, such as credit car information, bank information, or any other such information, including your date of birth.
- Health Issues: Do not include any health issues you may have. This may again lead to discrimination. Also, your health issues are no-one’s business. Plus, it may all seem that you are seeking sympathy or special treatment, and you not want a potential employer thinking that even before they meet you.
- Fancy design: There is often no need to include a fancy design on your resume. It takes away from the professionalism of the resume, and makes the hiring managers wonder whether you did not believe that your skills and experience alone would make the cut. This of course is not applicable if you are applying for a design portfolio, where your resume may be used to showcase your skills.
- Date you prepared the Resume: Do not put a date on the resume, as this dates the resume. It also implies that you have sent the same resume to multiple employers. Employers, on general, like to believe that you have put in time and effort on preparing a resume that is unique to the job that you are applying for.
- Professional Jargon: Try to avoid using professional jargon on a resume. While you believe that it may show your professionalism, often the person in human resources (HR) reading your resume will have no idea what you are taking about. Hence, they will be less likely to forward your resume to the department.
- Fancy Self-Descriptions: Do not use subjective self-descriptions, such as "great leadership skills" or "creative innovator". A resume should highlight only your experience and accomplishments. Everything else seems fake and/or bragging.
- Additional Pages: Try not to go over two pages for a resume. While, you may believe that everything you are including is important, the recruiter may not see is that way. Plus, as a recruiter only spends less than 30 seconds on a resume, chances are they may not even read the excess pages.
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