17 Aug What to Avoid Putting on Your Resume
For every piece of advice on what to put on a resume, there’s a suggestion of what to leave off. It can be maddening trying to sort it out!
When you’ve spent so much time and put so much thought and effort into a document that sums up your career, your achievements, and upon which hinges your hopes of a future position, it’s worth taking the time to weigh each addition and subtraction with care.
The next time you set out to update your resume or CV, here are a few things worth leaving behind.
1. References to your age.
It matters more that you graduated from a college or trade school than when that event occurred. It’s wonderful that you have 23 years experience in a certain type of role, but it won’t take long for hiring managers and recruiters to ask themselves how long you’ll be staying around if they think you might be approaching retirement age. What matters is that you have the experience, the degree, the training, and the skill. The finer details can come out later in an interview.
2. Personal information.
This can be a potentially tricky area to discuss as it is, but including your marital or political status, height, weight, religion, or anything else that is possibly sensitive information is unnecessary. You can also leave off your hobbies, favorite weekend activities, and most volunteer work unless it’s directly related to the position. This information takes up space that could be better used to tout your achievements and accomplishments.
3. Inconsistent formatting.
Pick font size and color, a margin space, and a particular writing pattern and stick with it. Don’t blend first- and third-person narrative styles on your resume; don’t use a different font for your resume and cover letter. Make sure you present yourself well and professionally in these documents because they do make a difference– and an impression.
4. Salary history.
Did you know it’s now illegal to ask for a salary history from potential job candidates? Offering this information up at the front of the hiring process also could result in you receiving an offer for less than you’re worth, or what it would normally pay if your future employer knows you currently work for less.
5. References or a personal mission statement or objective.
You’re submitting a resume because you’re interested in a job. Your resume is the place to show your work history and why you’re qualified, not a manifesto of your vision of the world. As for references, those belong on a separate document, made available upon request. You don’t need to call that out, either: Most hiring managers will ask you for references when they’re needed.
One final piece of advice: Leave off spelling errors, typos, grammar mistakes, and emojis. Have someone you trust look over your resume one more time before you send it off to make sure you’re presenting the best possible and most effective version of yourself. It’s easy to go “copy blind” on such a personal document, and it’s easy to lose sight of when trying to express your personality goes over a professional line.
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