In 2023, the hiring landscape is predicted to be even more competitive, making it essential to understand what not to include in your resume. In this blog post, we will explore the top things you should avoid including in your resume, including irrelevant personal information or hobbies that do not relate to the job you are applying for.
By following these tips, you can ensure that your resume is concise, impactful, and targeted to the specific role you are applying for, which can increase your chances of standing out from the crowd and landing your dream job.
1. Dates of employment beyond 15 years
When it comes to constructing a resume, the work history section is essential.
However, deciding on the number of years to go back when listing dates of employment can be tricky. Most experts recommend not including dates of employment beyond 15 years ago.
The reasons for this are threefold. Firstly, it combats age discrimination, as employers may shy away from hiring older applicants.
Secondly, it keeps the information relevant to the job, as outdated work experience may not showcase the necessary skills or knowledge for the current position. Lastly, it ensures that the resume remains succinct and easily scannable for employers, who typically spend a short amount of time reviewing each candidate’s application.
Therefore, when editing a resume, it is crucial to keep the relevant experience in mind and avoid listing employment dates that go beyond 15 years.
2. Objective statements
It’s common to see objective statements in a resume, but it’s not always the best approach.
Objective statements usually state what job position you are seeking or what your career goals are. They take up valuable space that could be better used to highlight your qualifications and achievements.
It’s also rare to find an objective statement that is specific and clear enough to set you apart from other candidates. Instead of including an objective statement, make sure to use strong keywords to describe your skills and accomplishments to catch the attention of potential employers.
You can also mention your job search goals in your cover letter or towards the end of your resume. Avoid generic and self-focused objective statements that don’t provide any useful information to the employer.
Remember, the purpose of your resume is to show employers what you can do for them, not what they can do for you.
3. Personal references
When crafting your resume, it’s important to prioritize the information that will catch the eye of hiring managers.
While it may be tempting to include personal references, like friends or family members, it’s important to leave these off your resume. Employers aren’t interested in hearing from someone who has a close personal relationship with you; they want to hear from professional references who can speak to your abilities in the workplace.
Additionally, including personal references takes up valuable real estate on your resume that could be used to highlight your skills or work experience. By sticking to professional references and emphasizing your qualifications, you’ll be more likely to stand out to potential employers.
Remember, your resume is your opportunity to make a great first impression, so be sure to make the most of it!
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4. Reasons for leaving previous positions
When it comes to reasons for leaving previous positions, it is not always necessary to include them on your resume.
Hiring managers may be curious about why you left your past job, but it is not a mandatory piece of information. Including it may shift the focus away from your skills and experiences, which is what recruiters are primarily interested in.
Moreover, if you left your previous job for a negative reason, like being fired or leaving without notice, it’s best to keep that information to yourself. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.
For instance, if it was a short-term position or if you were laid off on good terms, you can consider mentioning it on your resume. Overall, always prioritize the information that makes you a more appealing candidate.
5. Marital status, birth date, or social security number
It is important to keep in mind that the inclusion of personal information, such as marital status, birth date, or social security number, should be avoided at all costs on a resume. This type of information can create bias and in some cases, even lead to discrimination.
It is not considered relevant to the job search process and could result in the automatic rejection of an otherwise qualified candidate.
Instead, job seekers should focus on highlighting their relevant qualifications and job experience when crafting their resume. Employers are more interested in the skills and abilities a candidate can bring to the table, rather than personal details that have no bearing on their ability to perform a particular job.
Keeping the focus on professional qualifications keeps the hiring process fair and unbiased for all applicants. So, leave the personal information off your resume and let your qualifications speak for themselves.
6. Photos (unless relevant to industry)
When constructing a resume, job seekers should never include a photo of themselves as it is not necessary. Unless you are applying for an industry such as modeling or acting where photos might be requested, they have no bearing on your qualifications and could distract the hiring manager from focusing on other important elements of your resume.
Additionally, including a photograph may create bias and lead to discrimination based solely on physical attributes rather than professional qualifications.
Overall, the best way to make sure your resume stands out is by emphasizing your relevant skills and experiences in detail. Crafting a clear and concise summary of yourself that contains only relevant information will help ensure that recruiters see all you have to offer.
7. College GPA (unless graduated recently)
Unless you have recently graduated college, it is typically not necessary to include your grade point average (GPA) on your resume. For recent graduates, a GPA can help employers get an idea of the candidate’s academic performance and overall aptitude.
However, for job seekers who are out of school or have been in the workforce for a few years, listing their GPA has little value and could even be perceived negatively if the numbers were low.
In most cases, recruiters are more interested in your relevant qualifications and skill sets than they are in how well you did in school. Instead of including your GPA on a resume that may already be overcrowded with information, focus on highlighting specific accomplishments or successes from previous positions.
8. Hobbies or interests
Hobbies and interests can be tricky to decide whether to include or not on a resume. While they can showcase your unique personality and additional skills, they can also be irrelevant to the job and take up valuable space.
In general, hiring managers prefer to see professionalism and relevant qualifications, rather than information about your leisure activities. However, if you are applying for a job that values employees’ personalities and unique traits, or if you have limited work experience, then adding hobbies and interests may be a good idea.
It’s important to keep in mind that hobbies and interests should be somewhat relevant to the job you’re applying for.
For example, if you’re applying for a job in a creative field, listing hobbies like painting or writing can show off your creativity. On the other hand, listing hobbies like shopping or binge-watching TV shows may not add value to your resume and could even make you seem unproductive.
Ultimately, it’s up to your own discretion whether to include hobbies and interests on your resume. Just be sure to consider how it will be perceived by potential employers and whether it will help or harm your chances of landing the job.
9. Salary history/references
When it comes to writing a resume, including your salary history or references could actually harm your chances of being considered for a position. Employers will often ask for this information later in the application process, but prior to that, it’s best to keep those details off your resume.
By including your salary history, you might unintentionally disqualify yourself from consideration if your current or past salary doesn’t fit within the employer’s budget for the position. Additionally, providing references too early could be perceived as pushy or premature.
It’s best to wait until the employer asks for this information before providing it. Instead, focus on highlighting your relevant qualifications and accomplishments to demonstrate why you’re the best fit for the position.
10. Multiple fonts or excessive design elements
It’s important to remember that the purpose of a resume is to showcase your professional experience and qualifications. While you may want to add design elements to make your resume stand out, it’s important to avoid going overboard.
Using multiple fonts or excessive design elements can make your resume look unprofessional and distract from the content. Stick to a classic, easy-to-read font and use formatting such as bullet points and headings to organize your information.
Keep in mind that many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan resumes, so overly elaborate designs may not get through. By keeping your resume clean and simple, you can ensure that your qualifications are the focus, and increase your chances of making it past an ATS.