What Should You Remove from Your Resume?

Whether you’re new to the job-seeking market or a long time pro, you understand that a professional, well-crafted resume is your foot in the door for any open position.  From part time, hourly jobs while in school to career-making positions in the c-suite, the resume is often the only piece of information a prospective employer will have prior to deciding whether to bring you in for that all-important interview.

While many blogs, posts, and articles may talk about all the myriad of things you should include on your resume, far fewer devote time to items that are better left on the cutting room floor.  With that in mind, here are a few items to subtract, avoid or remove from your resume.

The Glamour Shot

So we get it.  You’ve got a great smile or sparkling set of pearly whites.  Maybe your headshot is to die for or your haircut is on point.  I mean, it’s understandable…our mom tells us we’re adorable too.  But just because you think you scored in the looks department doesn’t mean you should be including a photograph in your resume or application package.  

Adding a photo to your resume is a no-go for multiple reasons.  First, despite all of our best intentions, human nature may lend your hiring manager to make assumptions about your character based on a picture before you’ve even walked into the interview room.  In addition, including photos can make many uncomfortable as state and federal laws prohibit employers from making hiring decisions based on certain physical characteristics.  So to help keep everything on the up and up, ex-nay on the picture-vay.

Just a Little T.M.I.

Similar to the discomfort an employer may feel over the inclusion of a headshot, adding in factoids such as height, weight, age, ethnicity or religion can make a prospective employer leery about bringing a candidate in for an interview.  Whether they select your resume or not, the addition of non-discriminatory information can open the door for hiring liabilities.  Keep things professional by including your education, experience, and skills.  If you must disclose certain work-place limitations based on religious beliefs, do so after the offer has been made and accepted for everyone’s peace of mind.

Teeny, Tiny White Lies

We’ve all been in a social situation where we’ve felt like adding a zero or two to our salary or adding on a few vowels to our official work titles.  While this is a grey area at best when attempting to pick up that attractive person at the bar on Friday night, it’s a solid no-go when it comes to pumping up your resume.

Always assume that the hiring manager, recruiter or other representatives of your prospective employer will verify the information on your resume.  From educational background to previous titles, keeping this information as accurate as possible is critical to getting and keeping a job offer.  Even if your new employer doesn’t check up on the facts in your resume, mistruths can create hurdles down the road when asked to apply your skills or experience in your new position.

That High School Hot Dog Stand Job

Everyone has a high school or college job in their past that was more than acceptable for helping to pay the monthly rent check or that kept you from eating ramen during your school years.  While these are perfectly acceptable steps on the career ladder, most likely your experience as a go-kart operator won’t be relevant to your new position in office management.  

Listing every position you’ve had since high school is not only unnecessary, it can take up valuable resume space for actual applicable experience.  Weed out the short term positions and elaborate on your job duties and experiences from jobs in similar fields.  Be careful about leaving large job gaps but feel free to otherwise edit away that summer you spent pretending to be a princess for crying five-year-olds.

Ditch the Obvious

So you’re computer literate, have an English degree and show up to work on time, huh?  While we applaud your ability to perform the necessary skills of being a grown adult, obvious traits or characteristics that should be a given for anyone over 16 years old probably shouldn’t be taking up valuable resume real estate.

Your prospective employer will assume that any candidate applying for an open position meets the minimum thresholds for employability.  If your experience or skills aren’t directly applicable to the job you’re applying for, ditch those commonly held traits in lieu of conveying the information that sets you above the field.  Your resume should set you apart from the crowd and let your prospective employer know you’re the best and brightest, not just another fish in the employment pond.

Have an opinion about any of our above exclusions or have another pet peeve when it comes to what to leave out of your resume.  Drop us a line and maybe your recommendations will make our next updated list.

Article Updated from the Original on October 23, 2017