Photo credit: Mike Dumlao
Job searching can be a lonely, frustrating place. It's time consuming and it rarely comes without rejection. In most cases, your years of hard work are represented on one or two pages and evaluated by someone who has probably never worked in your position. And it's that step that determines if you are in the "in" interview pile or the "out" pile.
Those two pages of finely tuned words ARE you, until you have the chance to let your personality shine through in the interview. Here are my top five things to avoid putting on your resume.
- Giving personal data. Your resume should be a business representation of you. Avoid listing your marital status, age, family data, hobbies, etc. You should have hobbies and a life outside of work, but it's not necessary to include them on your resume UNLESS the hobby or information is relevant to the job itself. Your prospective employer will find this all out anyways on your Facebook or Myspace page (so make sure it's representative of what you want them to know). Your age, sexual preference, martial status or family information (children, ages, etc.) are irrelevant. The unfortunate truth is that hiring managers may base their decisions on whether or not to interview and hire you based on the information you provide, discriminatory or not. Don't let them make that judgment.
- Listing every job since adolescence. The Starbucks Barista job that got you through college isn't for the resume. If it's not relevant to your current job search, drop it. Think: Did this job prepare me to be a PR pro? If not, don't list it. That goes for internships too. If you have more than five years experience your internships are no longer relevant.
- Going more than two pages. This is a tough one, especially for candidates with lots of experience. You may have the temptation of wanting to list all of your relevant experience, but nobody reads more than two pages. So don't give in, no matter how much experience you have. Find a way to cut it down. A good way to start is by focusing on accomplishments for each position rather than a long list of responsibilities.
- Personal pronouns. Writing your resume in the first person detracts from your accomplishments. It adds unnecessary work and wastes space. The same goes for referring to yourself in the third person. Examples: "I pitched business and trade publications such as..." or "Jane has 15 years of experience..."
- Providing references or stating "references upon request." You need references, but not on your resume. You don't want your valued references being called before you have a chance to let them know. If a company requires references, it will ask you for them when you are seriously being considered for the position. Listing "references upon request" at the bottom of your resume is a given and wastes valuable space.
What would you add to the list?
This is part one of a three-part series about what to never put on your resume.
Part 2: Top things you should never put on your resume by readers
Part 3: Make sure your career progress is not mistaken for job hopping