What NOT to Include on Your Resume

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There’s a lot of advice out there about what to include on your resume. However, it’s equally important to think about the things that should get left off.

Resumes exist on a thin line. HR folks sift through a lot of them each time a position gets posted. They aren’t in a mood for any nonsense. Not annoying them with extraneous information will help you score interviews and increase your chances of ultimately landing the job.

Here’s a list of some common items people include on their resumes that might hurt their chances of getting hired:

Career Objective

Back near the beginning of human history, when anyone who heard the word “google” thought it meant “a really big number” and people routinely called each other using landlines, it was common to include an objective at the top of a resume. It didn’t make any sense then and it doesn’t any make sense now.

Everyone knows your objective is to get the job you’re applying for. There’s no reason to make up some mission statement to stick at the top of your resume.

Unrelated Work Experience

Every position has specific qualifications. The goal of a resume is to prove you meet these basic abilities. Anything else represents wasted words (and wasted time for the HR people).

You should have a master resume that includes all your work experiences. You should then trim this down for each individual position, focusing on the key items for the job you’re applying for. (Make sure not to leave any gaps in your work history – just don’t include lengthy explanations for irrelevant experience.)

Outdated Information About Work or School

Don’t go back more than 15 years with the experiences you describe on your resume. None of this old information has any relevance to the current marketplace.

Similarly, don’t list pointless info about your schooling. Don’t say what high school you went to or what your GPA was in college. If your best-selling point is the grades you got in school, you need to get some more meaningful experience.

Salary Info

There will be plenty of time to negotiate salary down the line. No need to include salary info now.

If the company specifically asks for a salary history as part of your application documents, include it as a separate item, as you would the cover letter. Don’t take up space on your resume.

Gimmicks

People sometimes worry their resume won’t stand out. So they take aggressive steps to make themselves memorable. These include all sorts of gimmicks to get the attention of HR folks: “funny” intros, pictures, graphs, outlandish claims (“I was the king of Burundi”), etc.

These moves almost always backfire. You might get an HR person to forward your resume around the office as a “can you believe what this turkey did” kind of thing. But you’re unlikely to get an interview you wouldn’t otherwise get.

Personal Info

The most common attempt to stand out comes from the inclusion of personal information. Hobbies, family details, even physical details (including pictures) – these things occasionally find their way onto resumes. It’s almost universally a mistake.

Including these items just wastes time and space that could otherwise be spent describing your suitability for the job. Also, it suggests as less-than-professional attitude. No one cares if you like to make pottery or if you can run a sub-three-hour marathon. You can share all this when it gets to the interview stage (or the HR people can gather it from your social media posts, if they care to do any additional research).

The best way to put a professional polish on your resume: get some professional help. Using a staffing agency provides you access to experts with up-to-date advice about the best way to present yourself in today’s market.

DHR is a leader in the staffing space. They can help you jump-start your career and move you into the perfect position. Contact DHR today for more details.

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