It’s a fact. Your resume is the most important document you have when it comes to your job search. There’s no shortage of information out there on what to include in it, but what about what you should leave out? First impressions matter, so here’s some tips to help you keep your resume relevant and out of the employer’s “no” pile.
1. An outlandish, overconfident objective. If it’s super out-there, i.e. “I want to be the next Bill Gates!” you will come across as delusional and you can certainly be assured that the hiring manager won’t read the rest of your resume.
2. Irrelevant job experience. We get it. You want to make sure the hiring manager is aware of your long work history, but leave out high-school summer jobs, fast food work, and the like.
3. Achievements that aren’t professional or related to community service. Leave out the prom-queen nomination; keep Employee of the Year.
4. Pictures, if you’re applying for anything other than a modeling or acting job. You aren’t being hired for your looks.
5. Too many hobbies, especially weird ones. Yes, what makes you unique makes you awesome, but keep “walking my iguana on a hand-knitted leash” off your resume. If you feel you must include some hobbies, keep them less detailed and more generic: biking, tennis, writing, etc.
6. Private matters. This is an important one. This includes your religion, political affiliation, marital status, age, sexual orientation, and whether you have children. You don’t want to unwittingly influence the hiring manager, and it’s not required to disclose this information at all.
7. This is a no-brainer, but bad grammar and obscure words. Keep it simple, and make sure to have a friend or family member go over the resume for you before you send it out. An extra pair of eyes is always a good eye, since they might catch mistakes that you didn’t.
8. An unprofessional email address. It’s easy and free to create a professional-sounding email address, so take the time to make one.
9. Personal information, like your social security number. You’re never sure where your resume will end up. It’s unnecessary.
10. Attention-getting graphics and other weird extras, like perfumed paper or glitter. There are very, very few jobs where this will fly. Stay on the safe side and avoid it. Let your experience and talent speak for itself, and stand out that way instead.