Lindsay Olson

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10 Things an Employer Doesn’t Want to See On Your Resume

When it comes to creating your resume, there are some obvious no-nos you should avoid, like naming your resume, well, “resume.” Here are more things that will turn off an employer, and that you should avoid doing at all costs.

1. Your 1-Month Stint at an Ice Cream Shop

When you’re a new grad, it’s hard to know what to put on your resume, simply because you don’t have a long work history. But as you gain experience, start moving those unrelated summer jobs off of your resume, especially if they were extremely short. Also: if you worked in a professional job for a month or two, it’s probably better to leave it off, or hiring managers will question why you couldn’t stay at the job longer.

2. Annoying Buzzwords

Let me guess: you’re highly organized, a people person, and a multi-tasker. These are filler words on a resume, and employers are sick of seeing them. Really consider the best words to describe what you do. Use a thesaurus if you get stuck.

3. All Your Extra-Curricular Activities

When you’re first taught to create a resume in high school or college, you’re encouraged to put all your extracurricular activities down, like cheerleading or rock climbing. While I don’t think hobbies necessarily kill a resume and can paint a better overall picture of the candidate, I do think they can take up valuable real estate if it doesn’t tie in somehow to your career or demonstrate characteristics important for the position.

4. Over-Personal Information

Proud as you may be to be a card-carrying member of the NRA, or of your church or political party, your resume isn’t the place for it.

5. Your Date of Birth

In the United States, employers are skittish about topics they can’t broach with you (age, race, marital status, etc.), so keep your date to yourself. Let your experience speak for itself, not the age.

6. Why You Were Fired

If you were let go in a previous role, your resume isn’t the place to discuss it. Actually, you should probably not bring it up at all in an introduction if you were fired. Let the employer guide that discussion if you’re invited in for an interview.

7. A Headshot

You don’t really want to be judged based on how you look if you’re trying to get a job based on merit, so nix on the photo. Even though these days it is pretty easy to see a photo on any professional or personal social network, it’s not a widely accepted practice to include a headshot on your traditional resume in the United States.

8. Every Responsibility You Had at Every Job

Your resume is supposed to show a few of the key responsibilities you’ve had in the past. Choose three to five that you think are the most noteworthy and relevant to the job, tying them into your major achievements.

9. The Cute Font

As cute as Comic Sans is as a font, it doesn’t belong on your resume. If you want to be taken seriously, stick to a font type that’s easy to read. It doesn’t need to be Times New Roman or Arial. Play with Calibri, Book Antiqua, Century, Garamond, or Georgia.

10. Unprofessional Email Address

Email addresses are free. Get an email with your name. isn’t going to cut it. Obvious, right? I still get emails like this from applicants. The same goes for shared couple/family email addresses. Get your own email address for the job search. It’s a small investment of your time and you can always auto-forward responses to your most frequently used email if necessary.


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