Learn what to avoid including in your resume for job search success.
Preparing a resume can be difficult to do. Even if you consult the internet, there is so much information that it can be hard to take it all in. While you may have already read up on what you should include in your resume and how to word it just so, have you taken the time to learn about what you should not put in your resume? These simple do-nots can make the difference between getting the interview or getting your resume thrown into the trash.
- Explanations for anything negative. If you’ve been fired from a position or had any past incidents, the resume is not the time to highlight them and try to explain. These are better left off the resume completely. Instead, once you’ve landed the interview, then you can talk about challenges you might have formerly faced in the workplace and how you worked through them.
- Buzzwords to attract attention. Many times, without even realizing that we’re doing it, we include buzzwords in our resumes that we attribute to a good candidate. These types of buzzwords might be “proactive”, “go-getter”, and “results driven”. Most recruiters know these words are thrown in as fluff and don’t add real value. Instead of throwing in meaningless buzzwords, talk about processes you were able to improve at your previous place of employment or projects you contributed to.
- Your current address. If you don’t live locally to the job you are applying for, your resume may get thrown out simply for that reason. If you are local, the employer might take into account what your commute time would need to be if you were given the job. Either way, it is easier to simply omit this information.
- A boring or outlandish objective. If you chose to include an objective statement in your resume, as many do, then you need to make it specific as well as realistic. You don’t want to have the boilerplate objective about obtaining a position in the industry. But you also don’t want to sound overconfident or “out there” by talking about becoming CEO of the company.
- A long list of job experience. Recruiters do not need to know your entire work history —it’s best not to have a long list with every single company you’ve ever worked at. Instead, you should only list the previous jobs that are relevant to the position you’re applying. If you do not have much experience, take specific tasks you’ve had at those previous jobs and relate them to the job you are applying for.
- Anything that’s not true. This should be a given—unfortunately, many feel the need to make false claims on their resumes, especially if they feel they don’t have enough relevant experience. If for some reason your work experience isn’t verified by the recruiter, it is very likely that the truth will come to light during the interview. In this case, not only would you lose out on the position, you will probably be barred from applying for future positions.
- Private/Personal information. Information about your personal life, such as sexual orientation, political affiliation, religious affiliation, marital status, age, etc. should be completely left out of your resume. Recruiters should not take any of these characteristics into account when looking to hire for a position. However, if you include this information, as much of it is controversial, it may influence a recruiter’s opinion.
- Excess and unprofessional contact information. When you are including information on your resume for ways you can be contacted, you should simply include one phone number and one email address. There does not need to be multiples of either, or ways to contact through social media profiles. Moreover, the contact information that you do provide should be professional and appropriate. Typically, the email address you provide should be some variation of your name.
- “References available upon request.” Though this may be your way of sounding enthusiastic about the position and willing to continue contact, at best this will be seen as presumptuous to a recruiter. Overall, your resume is precious real estate—don’t waste any space by including this phrase or listing out references. If a recruiter is interested in hearing more about you, they will get in contact with you. Most likely they won’t be searching for this information until after the interview.
- Spelling errors or bad grammar. One of the worst mistakes is to include mistakes on your resume —unfortunately these can be the easiest to make. After staring at the same document for a prolonged period of time it can be very easy to miss any mistakes you might have made. There are two easy ways around this. The first is to walk away for a few hours and then come back with fresh eyes. The second is to ask someone to take a quick look at your resume and point out any mistakes you might have made. This is a mistake that can be rectified in seconds.