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Top things to never put on your resume by readers

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2750885599 2b8274e180 Top things to never put on your resume by readers

Photo credit: Matias Dutto

Yesterday I listed five things to never put on your resume. By no means was it an exhaustive list. Paul Copcutt, former recruiter and blogger at Reflections of a Square Peg, left some great comments worth sharing.

Here are Paul's five things to never put on a resume:

  • Silly, Funny (usually just to you), or offensive e-mail addresses. Gmail is free and generic - use it!
  • An objective (still seen on far too many resumes) - by all means have something to give off a resume but make it a value proposition. Think: What you can do for the employer - not what you want from them? Jennifer Schooley chimed in here as well stating it's obvious by receiving the resume you are looking for a job, so don't waste the space.
  • No phone number! Yes believe it - when I was in recruitment I did a quick survey once and found over 15% of resumes had no contact phone number. Huh???!!
  • Reasons why you left - rarely seen now, but it does happen. Do not eliminate yourself before the interview. Save it for a face to face, or at least a telephone conversation.
  • Photos. In recruitment we used to have a "˜rogues′ gallery of photos that were attached to resumes. Again, save it for the interview or web interview. Or make sure any photo is professionally taken for bios and on-line profiles like LinkedIn.

Another great tip from Martin Buckland:

    Space Chimps video

  • Leave responsibilities out. Build each bullet around STAR: Situation, Task, Action, Result. Tell a short story, max 3 lines, about each accomplishment. These can also serve as a platform for the interviewer to position his questions.

Bill Green added "GPA - leave it off. If you have a 3.8, you have just publicly said you not as smart as someone with a 4.0."

Jacob Share at JobMob also pointed me to his top 10 unusual resume mistakes. He puts out some of the most useful content in the world of job search out there. If you don't read Jacob's blog, it's a good addition to your daily feeds.

Thank you all for your insight! I'd love to hear any other ideas you would add in the comments.

This part two of a three-part series about what to never put on your resume.

Part 1: 5 things to never put on your resume

Part 3: Make sure your career progression is not mistaken for job hopping

share save 171 16 Top things to never put on your resume by readers

14 Comments - Add yours!

jennine (November 25th, 2008)

ooh good advice! although, i found out the hard way, that in europe, more specifically germany, you absolutely need a photo for your cv or resume, people actually get professional business portraits done for this purpose. in the US, it’s not done, so I felt weird attaching a photo… but it worked!

Lindsay (November 25th, 2008)

Jennine – yes, true. Customs are different around the world. I live in Argentina, but I work in the United States and here it is very different. People put their birthdate, marital status, and their national identity number (like a social security number) on their resume next to their picture (although the quality of photo varies). In fact, some job ads ask specifically for a male between 25-38 years old for a job and to attach a photo. You have to stick with the norms in each country.

Teena Rose (November 25th, 2008)

How about leaving off labels?

For example, there’s no longer a need to indicate “PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY” OR “CAREER PROFILE” before providing your summary or profile. Readers know what that top section is without you telling them.

What should also be left to the cutting-room floor is mentioning “references available upon request.” Hiring managers will request references regardless of whether this line is present in your resume.

Lastly, go easy taking up space for soft skills; i.e. mentioning attention to detail, motivation, problem solving skills, and so on. No one is going to say they’re sloppy, unmotivated, and lack the ability to resolve issues. Utilize valuable resume “real estate” for relevant and transferrable skills relevant to the reader.

Regards,
Teena Rose

Kerri Birtch (November 25th, 2008)

When I worked as an employment counsellor, one of my pet peeves is people who insist on listing their high school dipolma, even after they’ve graduated from University or College. IMO, if you have post secondary education, it’s a given that you have a high school dipolma – and thus it’s a waste of space.

I also am not a fan of objectives – use the space to wow the employer with a paragraph/list about your accomplishments and what you can offer them. If you’re submitting a resume, it’s assumed you want to work for them.

Jeff Hirz (November 25th, 2008)

Regarding the labels, I’ve found it is a must to label the resume/cover letter with your name, then what the file is. For example, I save my resume as “Jeff Hirz, Resume” before I send it. I find that pretty much leaves out any room for confusion and saves the employer the time of having to rename the file.

Taylor Graves (November 25th, 2008)

I find the “no objective” thing interesting… I’ll be the first to admit – my resume has one! Isn’t it important that the employer know that you have a focus and a goal with the kind of position you are seeking… rather than you just looking for a paycheck??

Lindsay (November 25th, 2008)

Taylor – I’m not totally against an objective IF you are a college grad and going after your first job. I’m also not against it if you are a “career changer,” although in this case, it would most likely be in a cover letter (I won’t go on about what I think of cover letter). Unfortunately, objectives are usually poorly written or are centered on what the candidate wants out of a company. It’s weak. Also, job seekers sometimes forget to change it up for each position and it’s obvious. If you choose to have an objective statement, it needs to match the position and the objective of the company and that may or may not be clear before applying. It also needs to be well written.

Jeff – I agree with you for the “label” or name of your document. It’s a good idea to name the file firstname lastname resume. Simple. Don’t make the employer think about how to save it for later reference. I think the reference Teena is references when candidates write Resume at the top of their resume and then put their contact information. It’s unnecessary and takes up at least 3 lines of space.

Jacob from JobMob (November 25th, 2008)

Lindsay, this is a perfect extension to your Part 1, good idea to focus on reader comments this way.

Thanks also for the compliments and referral. Much appreciated!

Paul Copcutt (November 25th, 2008)

Lindsay – thanks for the credit. In response to Taylor, I believe my resume professional colleagues would answer better – but the closest to an objective nowadays is a projective – i.e. a mix of professional summary and objective – so its not just about what you want but also what you can offer.

Just my toonies worth

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Brad Hubbard (June 14th, 2009)

e-mail addresses – Agree. It also doesn’t look good if you’re using your current employer’s email for your job search.
Objective – Not so Much. I actually look for this. However, it needs to be something more than “I want a job.” I look for goal-oriented people, & someone with a well thought-out objective statement stands out to me. So I disagree with this entirely.
Phone number – Agree.
Reasons why you left – Agree in general. BUT, if your resume looks like you’ve been job-hopping, you may want to put some explanation in there. If I’m doing the review, that’s your only chance to keep it out of the shredder.
Photos – Agree. Irrelevant & show the candidate is out of touch with the process.

Kate (August 14th, 2009)

Wouldn’t listing responsiblities for each job you’ve had make it easier for employers on job sites such as Monster or Careerbuilder? Since they find you through key words searches?

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