Some things simply do not belong on a resume, and you may lose out on a job opportunity if you include them. Although you may believe that you are providing the employer with many reasons to hire you, when it comes to resume writing, too much information can be detrimental.
The fact is: If you want to make an impression on your target audience and show them what you can do, every section of your resume must be well-written, and every word carefully selected.
Here are our top 10 things that don’t belong on a resume:
1. Generic objectives
It is rare for resume objectives to say anything that other candidates haven't already said. If you don't want to tailor your resume to the specific position you are applying for, why would the employer bother to read further?
In your executive summary, you should showcase your overarching value proposition and directly address the topics you know the hiring manager at that company is most interested in. Take this opportunity to show you are a good fit for that particular role.
2. Long paragraphs without bullet points
A resume that is too dense with text might result in employers skimming over sections and missing key evidence of your qualifications and achievements. A resume must be clear and readable. Nobody wants to read lengthy descriptions of what you have done at every job you've ever had. If you have lots of detail to include, consider bullet points to break up your paragraphs.
3. An unprofessional email address
Even though this may seem obvious, some people still don't use a professional-looking email address. Get rid of the email you've been using since your teenage years. The use of random animals or words and letters in an email appears unprofessional and childish. Creating a new email address takes only minutes and is free. Alternatively, you can purchase your own domain name to really stand out.
4. Big words that don't need to be there
Instead of using the word "utilise", why not just say "use"? The use of non-conversational words doesn't make you seem smart; it makes you look like your nose is stuck in a thesaurus. Instead, ask yourself, “would I ever say that in a real-life conversation?”. Make sure every phrase and sentence you use is genuine. If you find any words or statements that do not sound as if they came from you, change them!
5. Typos and grammatical errors
While you may tailor your resume to the specific job you're applying for, adding new text and changing the structure of your resume can result in typos and other errors. To catch any mistakes you might have overlooked, ask a friend, family member, or colleague to read through your resume. Alternatively, you can use your word processors or an online grammar and spelling checker.
6. Interests and hobbies
Space on one or two sides of A4 is precious when you’re selling yourself to a prospective employer. Don't waste it on interests and hobbies unless they are relevant to your job or indicate desirable workplace skills. Consider more compelling information such as skills summaries or listing software or programmes you are familiar with.
7. Contact information for previous employers
Unless you're being considered as a potential candidate and your references are being checked, your potential future employer doesn't need to know how to reach your former supervisors. Instead, prepare a separate document with their contact information and availability times during the day for when you reach that stage in the hiring process. Also, be sure to let those individuals know when they may be contacted by potential employers, so they are prepared.
8. Random and unimportant jobs from many years ago
Resumes aren't autobiographies of every job you've ever held; they're marketing documents. So, unless your target audience needs to know about something you accomplished more than 10 years ago, you don't need to include the entry-level job or internship you held in 2006. Leaving out part of your past is totally fine. Instead, consider what you learned or were able to accomplish in each former job that you will need (or which will be valuable) for your next position. Then, emphasise those skills and achievements.
9. Exaggerations and lies
Almost everything you say on your resume can be verified. If your resume is later found to have been untruthful, you could be let go from the position. It also creates an awkward situation for you and might put you in a bad light with other organisations.
10. Passive language
Use action words and take responsibility for your career; it wasn't just handed to you. You have a small window of opportunity to make a good impression on a hiring manager with your resume, so take full advantage of that with action verbs and a summary of the things that make you a great choice for the job.
Write your resume in a way that will stand out to a recruiter who might read hundreds of them in one day. A well-written resume makes it easy for them to see what you are capable of, so emphasise your strengths and leverage them to your advantage.