Create a Killer Resume and Cover Letter

What Not to Include in Your Resume

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Most of the focus on resume writing has been about writing your resume.  Not much attention has been given about what not to include. But are there any inclusions that could cost you an interview? Certainly – you need to follow resume etiquette to ensure that you come across as a consummate professional. Here’s a discussion of a few.

Bad-mouthing your previous job, boss or co-workers:

You may have abhorred everything about your last job but you can’t vent your anger in your resume. Reserve any discussions about the reasons for leaving your previous job, during your interview. When the hiring manager asks you why you quit your job, say that you felt your skills and strengths were not utilized adequately at your previous company. At all costs, avoid saying nasty things about your boss or colleague no matter how terrible they were. You need to demonstrate that you can work with all kinds of people, and showing little or no tolerance towards fellow employees is not the way to do this.

Mentioning your hobbies:

It is best not to mention hobbies in your resume, as they hold no relevance to your job. You may have been an active member of your community, but no employer wants to know if you are a junior level figure-skating champion or three-time winner of your university’s or locality’s burger eating contest. Such mentions detract from the overall professional feel of your resume, and you definitely don’t want that.

Lies about your work experience or educational background:

Lying about where you finished high school is one thing, but faking a Masters’ degree is entirely different! Keep in mind that these days, almost all employers conduct a background check on candidates. Also keep in mind that your recruiter can, with a single phone call, get all the information he/she seeks about your job history. Avoid telling blatant lies or you stand to be disqualified from the remainder of the hiring process.

Physical characteristics and health information:

Never submit your photograph along with your resume. Also avoid mentioning physical characteristics, such as weight, height, hair color, etc. This is regardless of whether you are an attractive redhead or an overweight job seeker.

Employers do not have any legal right to know about your health issues/status. Only questions about job-relevant health conditions can be posed by the employer. If you and your doctor feel that you are healthy enough to perform your duties as expected, health issues should not make an appearance on your resume.

Words and phrases that make your resume sound boring:

It takes only a few words and phrases to make your resume yawn-inducing. You need to make your point by stating details succinctly. For instance, saying that you are a ‘detail oriented accounting manager’ wont make your recruiter sit up and take notice. Tweaking that to ‘Managed ten major client accounts across Europe’ will no doubt impress him/her. Also, saying how you ‘successfully’ sold a product wont mean anything, unless you qualify this with ‘successfully increased the sales of XYZ product by 31 per cent’.

Quantify your achievements into numbers and specific instances that help the recruiter get a good grasp of your contributions, capability, and the value you can bring to the organization.

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

Suggested Reading: Don’t Bring Mom to the Interview!; 25 Dos and Don’ts for Job Seekers

We are always eager to hear from our readers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or suggestions regarding CareerAlley content.

Good luck in your search,
Joey

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