You already know that your resume should shine a bright light on your experience and professional history.
But there are also several things NOT to include on your resume. Some are simply distracting and waste precious resume real estate; some can mean your resume lands in the “reject” pile. Here are our top eight:
1: Career objective
An objective is all about what YOU want, not what the employer wants. Keep content focused on the employer’s needs, and how you can meet them.
Simply put, your resume should be grammatically perfect. When an employer sees a typo, their immediate reaction is that you did not care enough about the job opportunity to do a careful review. Typos and grammatical errors tell an employer that you may not pay attention to the details.
3: Multiple fonts and graphics
When your resume is too busy, it can really difficult to skim. Use only one or two different type faces, and limit graphics to a single chart or graph. And, if you are unsure, ask someone to review it for you. If they do not find it visually appealing AND easy to read, take the time to make some revisions before you submit it.
4: Your home address
Omitting your home address is a matter of security. You don’t want that information on something as public as a resume.
When you apply for a position locally, include your city and state, so the hiring manager knows you are local. If you apply for a job in a new location, leave off your city and state altogether, so you do not immediately remove yourself from the competition. The application process is a great place for the employer to capture your home address.
There’s no need to use the limited space on your resume with references. Recruiters and employers expect you to have references; they will ask for them when they want them.
6: Your photograph
Including your photo on your resume can lead to unconscious bias—something potential employers want to avoid. Even if you work in broadcast journalism or the performing arts, where your appearance is part of the job, you will be likely to be required to submit a professional headshot. It does not belong on your resume.
7: Basic software skills
Listing your proficiency in basic software like Excel or Word does not differentiate you as a candidate. This skill is an expected skill for most, even entry level positions. If you are not proficient in basic software, take a course at your local library.
8: An unprofessional-looking email address
Contact information is one of the first things anyone sees on your resume. Your email should not detract from your personal brand. We recommend a simple, straightforward gmail address with your first name or initial and your last name: firstname.lastname@example.org.