11 Things You Should Never Put on Your Resume

11 Things You Should Never Put on Your Resume

By Vivian Giang

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Young woman looking over resume (Corbis)

A new batch of December graduates is getting ready to fly the coop in search of a job and we hope they’ve already heard the bad news: There are a lot of unemployed people out there.

If the market far exceeds demand, how do you make sure you get past the resume screening process into the interviewing round? By making sure your resume is flawless.

“Somewhere between 95 to 99% of resumes have stuff that shouldn’t be on there,” Eli Amdur, senior coach and adviser from the Amdur Coaching and Advisory Group, told us. “The general rule is if you put anything on there that distracts the reader from your real accomplishments, then don’t do it. Resumes need to be concise and clear.”

We’ve compiled some tips from career experts to make sure your resume steers clear of the trash pile.

1. Get rid of the objective.

If you applied, it’s already obvious you want the job.

2. Cut out all the irrelevant work experiences.

If you’re still listing that prized shift leader position from your high school days, it’s time to move on.

Yes, you might’ve been the “king of making milkshakes,” but unless you’re planning on redeeming that title, it’s time to get rid of all that clutter.

3. Take a pass on the personal stuff: marital status, religious preference and Social Security numbers.

This might’ve been the standard in the past, but all of this information is now illegal for your employer to ask you so there’s no need to include it. It will likely only hurt your chances of getting the position more than it would help you, says Catherine Jewell, author of the book “New Résumé, New Career.”

[See also: Jobs That Died in 2011]

Another piece of personal information you should never include on your resume is your Social Security number, Sara Player, client support specialist for CareerBuilder.com, told us. Player isn’t actually sure why people decide to include their social security numbers, but she knows she sees it all too often and it’s unnecessary, not to mention, a little risky.

4. Don’t let your resume exceed one page.

Yes, this might be difficult if you’ve had a lot of experience and you’re proud of all of it. But just because you’re proud doesn’t mean it’s necessarily relevant. Cut it down; employers don’t have the time to read two whole pages.

CareerBuilder.com’s Sara Player says: “Keep your work history short and to the point. When you describe what you have achieved while in the position, try putting it in bullet form and put what is most important first.”

5. Don’t list your hobbies.

“Nobody cares — it’s not your facebook profile,” Player says.

In other words, don’t put anything on your resume that’s irrelevant to your job. If it’s not relevant, then it’s a waste of space and a waste of the company’s time.

6. Don’t give them the chance to guess your age.

Yes, your age is included in personal data, but if you don’t want to be discriminated from a position because of your age, it’s time to remove your graduation date, says Catherine Jewell.

Doug Hadley of Mansfield, Texas, told MSN that he’s begun to leave out the fact that he’s a published author: “I don’t want to have to omit such things, but I feel as though I don’t even get considered if they are on my resume.”

Sara Player advises to take out higher education if it’s irrelevant to the position you’re applying for or if you keep receiving rejection letters stating that you’re overqualified.

7. Don’t write your resume in the third person.

Charlotte Beckett, head of Digital at The Good Agency, told Linkedin.com that it’s fine to write in first person in your opening statement, but the rest of your resume should be in bullet points, such as:

• Developed and delivered marketing strategies for a range of products

[See also: 10 Buzzwords to Avoid on Your Resume]

You should not write in the third person since the recruiter knows you’re the one writing the resume.

8. Don’t include references.

If your employers want to speak to your references, they’ll ask you. Also, it’s better if you have a chance to tell your references ahead of time that a future employer might be calling.

If you say “references upon request” at the bottom of your resume, you’re merely wasting a valuable line, says career coach Eli Amdur.

9. Don’t include a less-than-professional email account.

Make a new one. It takes minutes and it’s free.

10. There’s no need to identify your phone number.

Amdur says there’s no reason to put the word “phone” in front of the actual number.

“It’s pretty silly. They know it’s your phone number.” The same rule applies to email.

11. Don’t include your current business contact info.

Amdur writes at Northjersey.com:

“This is not only dangerous, it’s stupid. Do you really want employers calling you at work? How are you going to handle that? Oh, and by the way, your current employer can monitor your e-mails and phone calls. So if you’re not in the mood to get fired, or potentially charged with theft of services (really), then leave the business info off.”

This article is part of a series related to being Financially Fit

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