“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.