A resume can be critical to getting your next job, but some things are better left unmentioned. Here’s a list of 10 things to leave off your resume, according to U.S. News & World Report .
1. An objective. Of course you want the job, or you would not be applying for it. An objective can only hurt your resume because it takes up space and tells the employer what you want out of the job and not the other way around. Ask not what your employer can do for you, but what you can do for your employer.
2. Short-term jobs. If you only worked at a previous job for a few weeks, or even a few months, that can raise questions that might make your potential employer doubt your qualifications. Perhaps you had a spat with management or got fired? Working for a brief time shows that you might not be the permanent hire that the employer desires.
Of course, there are some exceptions. Some jobs, such as contract work, is naturally short-term, as are internships and jobs with political campaigns. Those are fine to include on your resume because they are explainable.
3. Functional format. A functional resume is one that emphasizes skills and abilities but not much work experience. Your potential employer will want to see proof that you know what you will be doing, and that is best displayed through prior jobs in that field. Plus, a functional format makes it hard to understand a person’s career progression.
4. Your photo. How you look has nothing to do with how you do your job, unless you are an actor or model. Including a photo generally is seen as unprofessional, and since it has no bearing on your employment, why distract your potential employer from what really matters?
5. A fancy design. You want your resume to stand out, but let your experience do most of the talking. Using lots of colors or fancy layouts might be seen as an attempt to mask your lack of qualification for the job. A resume with plenty of relevant experience in a straightforward layout will stand out more than a complicated design.
6. Subjective descriptions. Do not include statements about how you view yourself on your resume. Your potential employer will not care that you are a “great leader” or “innovative thinker” if your experience does not indicate leadership or idea generation. Stick to objective facts to be safe.
7. Any mention of high school. If you are a few years removed from high school, no employer will care which school you attended. That information could be seen as outdated and irrelevant, and you should keep as much space open for more meaningful information.
8. Extra pages. Your resume should only be one page if you are in your 20s, because most people simply cannot accumulate that much experience so quickly in their careers. Older job seekers might have enough experience to merit a second page, but there is almost never a reason to have a three-page resume.
9. Salary history. Including your past salaries could make you look naïve. If your employer does not ask for that information but you share it anyway, you could hurt your negotiating power down the road.
10. Any mention of references. References should be included on a separate page so you have more room for experience. Don’t even say, “References are available upon request,” because of course they are. If your employer asks for references, you will most certainly make them available, so don’t include that obvious statement when you could make better use of space.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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