Crafting the perfect resume takes patience. A few things can sometimes creep into your resume that could be harmful to your job search and hinder your impact on prospective employers. We’ve made a list of things that you should consider taking out of your resume to make sure that it’s ready to pop in front of the right eyes with the right information.
© thbangkok / Adobe Stock
Resumes no longer make much sense with an objective, unless you’re switching industries. Otherwise, it’s just one extra barrier that can turn off a prospective employer.
2. Personal information
We’re not talking about personal branding information, such as your social media profiles or LinkedIn page. We’re referring to the things you’ve left in there that would be considered ‘useless’ by your prospective employers, such as birth date, marital status, religious affiliation (though this could be helpful depending on where you apply), or anything else that could be misunderstood or taken the wrong way.
3. Hobbies (unless requested)
If you’re applying for a job in app development, it might be a good idea to include some creative hobbies. If your hobbies are an added bonus to the job that the hiring managers would view as a plus, then great, but otherwise steer clear. It would take up valuable space you can use for other important items.
4. Lies and half-truths
There is a surprising number of people who lie on their resume. An even more shocking number of people lie on most of their pertinent information. Don’t be one of those people. You might find your reputation tarnished if you are found out. Even stretching the truth a little bit can have hefty consequences.
5. Time away from work
If you took a long amount of time off or hiatus, either for vacation, childbirth, or an emergency, don’t put that on your resume. Not only is it irrelevant to the position you are applying for, but you could come across as unreliable if you took a bunch of time off. If it’s really that important, the hiring manager may ask about it during interviews, so you’ll be given time to be honest about it then. The point of your resume is to show off relevant experience, education and skills, not a list of explanations.
6. References (or mentioning that you have them)
References should only be given out upon request, but don’t otherwise mention that you have them available. Don’t even make the “References available upon request” mistake. Make sure to keep your references on-hand, but their place does not belong on the resume. If they don’t come up during an interview, you may be able to offer them to the interviewer.
7. Resume ‘tense’ mistakes
Always keep in mind that your past work experiences should be written in past-tense (worked, performed, operated), and current work experience must be written in present-tense (work, perform, operate). Review your work ahead of time to ensure that you are not getting these two mixed up.
8. An inappropriate email address
Create a new one for your professional and personal brand. Don’t use the one you made in middle school that has a ridiculous name or strange symbols. Ensure it represents you well and doesn’t include any of your pastimes or hobbies. We recommend using the first letter of your first name and the first five letters of your last name before the domain name of your address. An email with “jsmith” is more professional than “heavydrinker992”.
9. Unnecessary labeling
Much like the “references available upon request” suggestion, remove any sort of labeling that is unnecessary or obvious, such as labeling your phone number “phone” or email as “email.” Just leave these parts as they are, and they will speak for themselves. You should still label accurate parts of your experience, such as “job title” and responsibilities, as those items aren’t always obvious.
10. Graphics, tables or charts
Your resume should only include essential graphics such as text, bullets and line breakers. Unless you’re a graphic designer looking for a design position with plenty of projects to show off, or an equivalent position, you should not include any graphics in your resume. Save the room you were using for a graphic for more crucial information.
11. Headers and footers
These may be acceptable if you’re handing in a hard copy of your resume, but hiring managers tend to use applicant-tracking systems that get confused by headers and footers. It will result in data that doesn’t match what you’ve written in your resume, which will result in your resume being put in the trash.
12. Company-specific language
Company-specific language, such as jargon or nicknames your previous company used for procedures or equipment, should not be used. Never assume that this language is universal. Instead, include terms that anyone who is in your line of work would know and understand. It does not have to be “dumbed down” or slimmed, but a little simplification helps.
There are many more ways that your resume could negatively reflect your personal brand as well as your experience, but this list highlights just a few of the major tipping points. Carefully examine your resume to determine if these resume “don’ts” could be harming your job search.