8 Things You Should Never Put On Your Resume

Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz

Professional Human Resources (PHR) Certified

The average recruiter or HR professional spends mere seconds scanning a resume to determine if the applicant is qualified enough for consideration. With such a short amount of time to make the right impression, it’s important to have a resume that stands out.

To be sure your resume doesn’t end in the paper shredder, be sure it doesn’t include the following items.

1. A Generic Objective

There’s only one reason people send resumes in for consideration – to get the job. That’s the objective. Starting your resume out by saying you’re “looking for opportunities” in a certain field is redundant. Generic objectives can relay too much information. If you say you’re looking for an opportunity to grow or explore other industries, it’s an indication to the recruiter you’re unhappy.

Oftentimes these statements are so generic and flat that it’s just a waste of space on the resume. Most people who use these objective statements put them at the very top. So, you’re first impression isn’t a good one.

2. Personal Information

There’s no room for personal information on your resume. Nothing you include should indicate your age, race, nationality, gender, etc. It shouldn’t mention having children or being a minister at your church. Resumes are strictly designed to outline your professional qualifications for a job.

Most personal information you would include are items that would actually be illegal for a potential employer to ask during an interview. Save them the concern and remove it all together. And never ever include a headshot!

It’s also important to avoid putting unrelated information on your resume. Including hobbies and volunteer activities should be avoided unless it’s somehow directly related to the work you do. Telling your potential employer that you spent a summer abroad in France as a high school student isn’t relevant unless they’re asking for international experience.

3. Less Than Professional Language

The tone of your resume shouldn’t be the same as if you were talking to a good friend. When listing your accomplishments and making note of your employment history, make sure the language being used is proper English.

The one thing many people often overlook is the email address. Your email address shouldn’t raise eyebrows. A quick judgement is often made when the applicant’s email address includes unprofessional buzzwords or itself reads as an unprofessional statement. Don’t expect to be taken seriously if you’re still hanging on to that hippiechick4life@email.com address. Services like Gmail are free so utilize them. Create a professional email account name.

4. Difficult to Read Fonts

While Times New Roman might be a bit dated, it’s still better than using artistic fonts that are difficult to read. Don’t consider what your tastes are, think about the person reading your resume that has 70+ other resumes to review. Is that font really going to catch their eye or make their eyes hurt?

Stick to a font that is clear and avoids being too light or too bold. Calibri or Helvetica are always popular choices. Ensure the font size is also appropriate. Don’t shrink down to 9-point font just because you’re trying to stick to a two-page resume. Edit your resume to remove unnecessary words or statements before you make the font so small that the recruiter will have to zoom in to see it.

5. Reasons You Left A Job

Explaining why you left a job isn’t what your resume is for. Should a recruiter wonder why you left a position, they will ask the question during an interview. Speaking in-person will allow the recruiter to better understand your reasons for leaving a position and give them the opportunity to ask additional questions if need be.

Resumes that have statements explaining why one left a job are often generic. Usually it only states something like “for a promotional opportunity” or “to expand my skill set”. If saying why you left a position isn’t a required part of the job application, don’t put it on your resume.

6. Current Employer’s Contact Info

If your current employer isn’t aware that you may be considering other opportunities, it’s best to avoid providing any contact information on your resume. While you should include the name of your current company, just leave it at that. There’s no need to include the name of a supervisor or any contact phone numbers.

Don’t include the contact information of anyone at your current company in your references section either. In fact, consider removing the references section completely. If you’ve been identified as a final candidate, they’ll ask for your references at that time.

7. Irrelevant Social Media Accounts

If you have a professional blog (and by professional, I mean a blog that is directly related to the area of expertise you’re applying to), that may be an example of an appropriate social media account. Many people are beginning to include LinkedIn account addresses, which is also generally okay.

Avoid providing links to social media accounts that are either improper or unprofessional. There are extremely few reasons that a potential employer should be provided your Facebook account link or even your Twitter link. Both these social media sites tend to be used for personal reasons and don’t always have professional content.

8. Lies

Avoid exaggerating or creating completely fabricated facts about your work history and experience. You should expect that any interview you are invited to will be thorough. You run a great risk of being exposed if you’re unable to answer questions or provide details about something that’s untrue on your resume.

You also want to be sure that what’s indicated on your resume is able to be supported by your references. Expect that, as a final candidate, they will seek to confirm experience, degrees and employment dates.

Keep your resume details and accomplishments to factual statements, but don’t forget to give yourself credit where credit is due!

About The Author

Robin Schwartz
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Robin Schwartz

Robin Schwartz is a PHR certified HR professional with a broad range of expertise including recruitment, performance management, employee relations and talent management. She leverages her years of experience in HR to bring functional change to organizational leadership and direction to management structures and employees. Robin aims to empower the employees and managers she works with by providing coaching and counseling services.

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