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Try Googling the word “resume,” and you’ll find mountains of information on what you should include in your resume. Resume templates are available to help you put your skills, work experience, and education into a visually pleasing format. But have you ever asked yourself, “Should I not include this piece of information on my resume?”
If you haven’t asked yourself this question, now is the time. Millions of people have resumes that include elements that may influence their hiring manager to move on to the next applicant. Consider these four categories of information that you should leave off of your next resume.
Don’t Include These 4 Things in Your Resume
Have your resume handy – if it includes any of these four things, delete them immediately.
- Don’t include too much. Sometimes, we want to use our resumes to flaunt every interesting or amazing thing we’ve ever accomplished. While it’s true that you should use your resume to highlight your strengths, you don’t want it to become so long that the hiring manager loses interest in reading it.
Generally, your resume should be limited to a page in length or two pages at the most. If your resume is longer than two pages, remove content that is not related to the job you are applying for. After all, unrelated skills or experience aren’t likely to land the job.
For example, imagine that you are applying to become a tutor. Relevant experience might include teaching, childcare, classes you have taken related to the subject, or work experience in a related field. Brief employment as a dog walker or hairstylist might be omitted in order to save space, since it is unrelated to tutoring children.
You may also choose to omit work experience that lasted only a few months. Too many job changes in a short time can give the appearance that you are unreliable – in other words, it may make the hiring manager think you’ll leave this job after a short time, too. If you held multiple jobs at the same time, you might choose to include the one that best relates to your current application.
If you’ve trimmed extraneous information and you’re still having trouble keeping your resume at a decent length, try removing “optional” resume sections such as the resume objective and the references sections. After all, your objective is apparent – you want the job you are applying for. And you can keep a list of references handy in case they are requested by the recruiter.
- Don’t include anything that could introduce bias. One resume-writing resource puts it this way: “The law says that employers aren’t allowed to discriminate based on gender, age, race, religion and so on in the hiring process, so why make it easier for them to do so? Even recruiters who are diligent about fair hiring practices are only human, and human beings are susceptible to unconscious bias.” This includes not providing your photograph with your resume unless you are specifically asked to do so.
- Don’t include excessive personal information. Your contact information and background are essential to your resume. Criminal records, age, marital status, previous job salaries, whether you have children, and health conditions are not. Never include confidential information like your social security number or driver’s license number.
- Don’t include anything untruthful. Your resume provides a platform for your accomplishments to shine, and it is okay for you to brag about yourself a little. However, you should never inflate your skills or experiences to the point of falsehood. For example, stating that you’re fluent in all the latest programming languages might get your resume noticed, get you an interview, or even land the job. But if this information is false and you’re not actually competent at computer programming, you won’t be able to keep the job and your reputation as a reliable employee will be tarnished.
When preparing your resume, don’t just gather a list of your skills, work experience, and educational background. Tailor your resume content to the needs of your future employer, but always be honest. You can leave out experience unrelated to the job at hand, short-term employment that could make you look unreliable, or anything that could introduce workplace bias. Don’t use a photograph of yourself unless specifically requested by the employer. Keep your resume to one page or less in order to keep the hiring manager’s attention. One way to do this is by omitting the objective and references sections.