What NOT To Include In A Resume?


“Dear Pete: I read your article on your blog on what to include in a resume.  Can you tell me what NOT to include in a resume?”


While it’s not possible to highlight everything to avoid, here is a fairly comprehensive list of what NOT to include a resume:

  • Typos, grammatical errors, run-on sentences, or spelling errors.
  • Crazy fonts, colors, or graphics.
  • Unprofessional email addresses (i.e. sexyterpschick3222 [at] aol [dot] com) or links to web sites or social media sites that are 100% personal (i.e. your personal Facebook page). 
  • Contact information from your current employer.  (Use your personal contact information instead.)
  • Controversial affiliations, such as political affiliations, religious affiliations, and so on.  (Exception: If you want to work for a “controversial” political/religious organization, certain affiliations could enhance your candidacy.)
  • Personal information (i.e. age, race, sexual orientation, marital status, etc.)
  • GPA under 3.0
  • Any experience/achievements from high school or earlier. (Exceptions: Underclassmen in college can include information from high school.  Upperclassmen in college should only include very prestigious honors/experiences from high school).
  • Your salary history or your salary requirements.
  • Photos or physical characteristics, such as height and weight.  (Exceptions: If you want to land a job where looks are very important (i.e. actors, models, cocktail waitresses, dancers, personal trainers, jobs on TV, etc.), it may be beneficial to include a photo or certain physical characteristics.  Use good judgment on this one.  It’s not appropriate for most jobs.
  • A line that says “References available upon request.”  It’s like writing “Willing to meet with you for an interview.”
  • A meaningless, vague objective (i.e. “Looking for a full-time job where I can utilize my superior communication skills.)
  • Details on EVERY job/experience from your life.  Remember that your resume is not your life story.  Focus only on experiences/details that enhance your candidacy.
  • Irrelevant personal interests/activities that do not enhance your candidacy

Unsure what NOT to include in a resume?  Remember that perfection is achieved by subtraction, not by addition.

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