Create a Killer Resume and Cover Letter

7 Plus Things You Don’t Want on Your Resume

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Suggested Reading: Resume Writing 2016: Up-to-date Resume Writing Guide

You’ve heard the saying “You never get a second chance to make a first impression” and your resume is a perfect example of this. Your resume is your first point of contact with hiring managers and recruiters. If you want the interview and ultimately the job, you will need to ensure that your resume is perfect. With that in mind, there are some things that you don’t want to have on your resume. With all of the competition in today’s job market, anything less that perfection is likely to get your resume tossed.

A perfect resume is not always about what is (or should be) included. Sometimes perfection is about what to leave off your resume.  Simple as this sounds,  many job search candidates are not aware of items they should exclude. Following are some tips.

  1. Your Picture:

As pretty or handsome as you may be, you should not include your picture on your resume unless you are a model or actor.  You will not be evaluated based on your appearance, but rather your skill set and experience. A photo on your resume will most likely lead to your resume being tossed.


  1. References:

Best to leave references off of your resume and not include anything (or just indicate “References provided upon request”). You may want to use different references depending on the job and company.  You also may want to exclude certain references depending on the circumstances. Most important, is checking with references before you offer up their name, telephone number and email address to ensure they are okay with providing a reference. Even if they’ve provided references in the past, there may reasons why they are not willing to give a reference now.


  1. Grammar and Spelling:

Spell check don’t always work as planned and grammar checkers even less so. If your resume has basic typographical errors it is highly unlikely that you will get an interview. Even if you’ve checked your resume several times, there is still a chance that you have some errors or have maybe phrased something that could be hard to understand.  The best method for proofreading your resume is to have a friend or relative check it for errors.


  1. Compensation Information:

The inevitable “how much do you make?” will come up during the interview process. Including your salary and bonus on your resume can compromise your bargaining power should you get offered the position. If, as an example, you are looking for a great opportunity and you would be okay with a similar salary, you could price yourself out of the job if the hiring manager does not think they can improve on your compensation. Additionally, you never know who will get their hands on your resume – do you really want everyone knowing how much you make?


  1. Format:

Your resume should stand on the content (your experience), not fancy graphics. Stick with one font, don’t overuse bold and leave out underlines.  That being said, your resume should look perfect. Spacing should be even, indents should be consistent and the overall format should not look sloppy.


  1. Dates:

Do not include the year you graduated college or High School. And you should leave out the year you were born as well. This information is not pertinent to the job or your experience.  While discrimination is illegal, don’t include information on your resume that is not necessary.


  1. Other Stuff to Consider:
    • Inappropriate email account names
    • Your work email address
    • Abbreviations
    • Personal information (ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, martital status, etc.)
    • Reason(s) for leaving prior jobs
    • An “Objective”
    • Hobbies
    • Don’t hand out your current work business card (unprofessional)
    • Your GPA
    • Irrelevant job experience
    • Political affiliation
    • Physical characteristics
    • Skills or software that is a given (such as Microsoft Office)
    • Buzz words (go-getter, strategic thinker, hard worker, etc.)
    • Lies

Career Tip of the Day:  5 Steps to a Great Resume

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Good luck in your search,


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