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A resume is probably one of the most important documents you will ever create. And for this reason, many hire a professional to do the work for them. But if you prefer to create your own resume, there are definite do’s and don’ts.
As a former department manager, I had my share of resumes for possible employees cross my desk. And to be honest, some of them simply made me scratch my head. One could have turned out to be a star employee, but due to the issues with their resume, they never had the chance. Remember, a resume is the first glimpse of you that a potential employer sees.
When you work on your resume, the do’s are pretty obvious. You want to include education, relevant experience, and certifications. What is not obvious are the don’ts with resume creation that I have seen many times. For that reason, we are here to help. This list of items should not be included on your resume and we will tell you why.
1. Objective or Summary
While back in the day, an objective or summary at the top of your resume was the norm, it isn’t anymore. If you are applying for a position, your potential employer already knows that you want the job — and most often they will skip right over your objective.
The only time that you may want to include a summary is ifyou are entering a completely new industry. For instance, if you have worked in hospitality for years, recently obtained a degree, and are now seeking a career in technology, a brief summary is acceptable.
2. Irrelevant or Ancient Job Experience
Time gaps on a resume can often raise a red flag to employers. However, you do not have to list every job you have had from the time you were 16 years old, unless, of course, you are now 18. So what do you do if you have been in the workforce for decades?
“In general, your most recent jobs are more important in your resume than your long-ago jobs are.
If you can fit your most recent six jobs on your two-page resume, then your seventh-most-recent and earlier jobs will drop off.”
The article also suggests that if you feel that an ancient experience is essential to your resume, simply include the job title. Just be sure to ask yourself if it is relevant to the position you are seeking now.
3. Photographs or Pictures
If the position you are applying for is a modeling job, then a photograph is likely expected. But for other types of jobs, your resume needs to highlight pertinent skills and experience, not your looks.
In addition to eliminating photographs from your resume, you should avoid other pictures as well. You may think it enhances your resume to have a professional-looking, industry-related symbol at the top. However, this is a mistake. Keep your resume clean and save your photos and designs for your portfolio.
4. Hobbies or Interests
You may love to spend your free time golfing, fishing, playing sports, or reading books, but does it matter to a potential employer? If the position you are applying for has something to do with one of your hobbies or interests, then including it could help. If not, leave it off.
If it’s not relevant to the job you’re applying for, it’s a waste of space and a waste of the company’s time.”
5. References or Lines Referring to Them
In the past, you may have been told to include references on your resume. You might then have been told to include a line like “References Available Upon Request” instead. However, you should really include neither.
If an employer wants professional references, they will ask you. This gives you the opportunity to contact your references first. Including that line referring to references is just as much a waste of space as having a reference itself.
6. Personal or Private Information
Your age, race, gender, religion, marital status, or political affiliations have no place on your resume. Potential employers are looking at your fit for the job. This is based on your skills, knowledge, and experience, not your personal details.
And while many may find this obvious, never include your driver’s license number, banking numbers, or social security number (which I have actually seen on resumes before). If you land the job, you will have to provide certain private details like these numbers. But you do not have the job yet, so protecting your privacy is key.
As Forbes.com points out, scammers are everywhere:
“In the bogus job ad they will tell you to hand over personal information, like your credit card number (for instance, to pre-pay for a mandatory drug screen or background check if they are interested in hiring you).”
Remember to keep your personal and private information to yourself and off your resume.
7. College Graduation Dates
Unless you are a recent college graduate entering the workforce, do not include graduation dates. The fact that you obtained your degree is what matters, not when you earned it. Plus, this can give away your age, which as we said above, should not be on your resume.
You should include the degrees you obtained, certificates you earned, and institutions you attended, but the graduation dates can be left off.
8. Flat-Out Lies
We all know how competitive it is out there. Finding a job, landing an interview, and actually getting that job is a tough process. When you add in how many other candidates you are up against, you may be tempted to gain an edge with some exaggerations. However, deliberate lies will not get you far.
“HireRight.com, a provider of on-demand employment background screening, found that 34 percent of job applicants lie on resumes.”
Now, 34 percent may or may not seem high to you. However, do you want to be part of that number? Tell the truth, keep it real, and get that job based on what you can do, not what you cannot do.
9. Ineffective Formatting
Almost as important as what your resume says is how it looks. No potential employer wants to view a jumbled mess with no consistency when they see your resume. And there really is no reason for it. You can use online tools and sites, templates in Microsoft Word, or even create your own to make it stand out.
Keep in mind that today’s employers may also view your resume on their mobile devices, so check out these tips to make your resume more mobile friendly.
10. Misspellings or Grammar Errors
Review and reread, use a spelling and grammar check tool, and then review and reread again. There is nothing worse than reading a professional resume full of misspellings and grammar errors.
Not everyone can be an expert when it comes to spelling and grammar. But these days, you can use tools like Grammarly or built-in features such as Microsoft Word’s spell check. And, that is just the starting point. After you review it, have a friend or family member look it over — they might just see a mistake you missed.
Some Are Obvious, Others Are Not
Many of you may read this and think that these are blatantly obvious resume no-no’s. But surprisingly, they are not. For those creating their first resume, re-entering the workforce after many years, or just altogether unsure, this list can help.
And for more help, check out these tips for getting back on track with your job search if you’re struggling and how to structure your cover letter and resume when sending in an email.
Image Credits: Neomaster/Shutterstock