10 Things You Should Leave Off Your Resume

March 10, 2015


Are you sending out resume after resume and getting no response? While it may be possible that you don’t have the right background or qualifications, it is equally possible that your resume contains things that turn off the employer.

Remember, employers often receive dozens – if not hundreds – of resumes for job openings. Since they don’t have time to carefully read every one, they sometimes look for reasons to quickly reject an applicant. Typos, grammatical errors and bad formatting are three obvious reasons for putting you in the “don’t interview” pile.

But what else might be contributing to your lack of success in getting interviews? Here are a few tips of what else you should avoid on your resume:

1. Salary history
Any discussion about salary is best left until much later in the hiring process, ideally after you have interviewed at least once with the employer. Salary is very much a process of negotiation and revealing your salary history could put you at a significant disadvantage in the negotiation process.

2. Reason why you left previous jobs
This will inevitably come up during the interview process and you should be prepared to discuss it only then.

3. References
Providing references in advance opens the door to the possibility that the employer will call one of your references before you even know if you really want the job. This could be embarrassing particularly if your references are linked to your current employer. If an employer is interested in you, they will ask for references later in the process. You can even leave out the standard line “References provided upon request.” Everyone knows that already and saying it is just a waste of space.

4. Political or religious affiliation
Unless you are applying for a job within a political or religious organization, avoid referencing any involvement you might have with these organizations.

5. Jargon or abbreviations
Don’t write anything that might limit the reader’s understanding of your capabilities. Always use generally-understood descriptions on your resume unless you are absolutely certain that it will be read by people who are totally familiar with the terminology.

6. Irritating buzzwords
Words like: “mission-critical,” “traction,” “synergies,” “foster,” and “subject matter expert” are simply annoying and under no circumstances should they find their way into your resume, cover letter, or interview.

7. Lies, exaggerations and embellishments
Pretty much everything you state on your resume can be checked or at a minimum, you might have to provide proof (such as educational credentials). If you are hired and it is later discovered that you were deliberately untruthful on your resume, you could be fired “for cause,” which usually means you receive no notice or severance pay.

8. Where you live
You no longer have to include your address at the top of resume. It’s highly unlikely any employer is going to be sending you anything by mail, and it could introduce the risk of economic profiling or an assumption about the length of your commute. Your preferred email address and the phone number where you can be reached most easily is all that is required.

9. A less than professional email account
If you still use an email address from your younger years, like BeerLover789@gmail.com or PartyAnimal123@yahoo.com, get rid of it. It’s unprofessional and childish. Getting a new one only takes a few minutes and is free.

10. Personal information
Unless you are applying for a job as a model, actor or news anchor, you should not include a photo of yourself. Likewise, you should omit your date of birth, gender, marital status, height and weight. They are no business of the employer and human rights legislation prevents employers from discriminating on these bases.